Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Absolute Cheapest Way to do Aerial Video

Do you wish to do aerial video, but only have less than $10 to do such? Well, believe it or not, you can! 

Just about anyone can do this, very easily and very cheaply :)  This would be a great scout or school project. New and extremely inexpensive mini video cameras are making things possible that once could only be dreamed of. Very tiny and very lightweight, not to mention "cheap", they can be placed in high-risk locations for first-person-view (FPV) from these locations.

For example, as a kid I always wished that I could experience the views from my kites when I sent them skyward. Now it's possible! And you don't need any fancy equipment, including a fancy kite. Most of these videos were taken from a homemade garbage bag kite that I built in 10 minutes (details at the end of this article).

Here are some cheap micro camera options in decreasing order of price & quality.

As for the kite, find a garbage bag and watch this. Also recommend taping on a tail as sled kites in general can be skittish.  Make it 5 times the length of the kite as shown here

An important thing to remember is NOT to attach your camera directly to the kite, as the kite moves around too much for steady video.  The best kite video is attained by attaching the camera to the string about 50 or more feet from the kite. Various attachment rigs have been devised for such. But the best performing is the picavet rig (Google it). IMO the Picavet is the best rig for keeping your camera level and steady. 

Don't be intimidated by its looks. It is VERY simple and easy to build a Picavet. Keep in mind that you can easily make a Picavet from just two popsicle sticks glued as a cross, and four picture hanging eyelets instead of pulleys. And just use a rubber band to attach your micro camera to the picavet. I highly recommend that you try building one yourself if you plan on doing serious kite video. 

See this link for instructions on stringing it. But note that this fellow's rig is much more complicated than needed for micro cameras. For the right and left kite string attachment loops (A1 and A2), just bend a section of wire clothes hanger as shown here.

Have fun!


  1. Haha totally love this idea. I've found that the people that spend $1000+ on quadcopters just to do this usually only spend a few flights filming before they get bored. Might as well test it out with a homemade kite first!

    1. The problem is those $1000 quadcopters with GPS autopilots are just boring to fly. And they're definitely not for aerobatics. They should have started with a $30 to $40 toy quadcopter (such as JXD 388, Huibsan X4, WLToys V252). Don't let the low price fool you. They're amazing flyers, and are addictive as hell to fly.

  2. Which is the best res cam you can put on the x5c?

  3. Witch is the best res cam you can put on the x5c?

  4. Which is the best cam for helicute h806

  5. Which is the best cam for helicute h806

  6. " make a Picavet from just two popsicle sticks glued as a cross.." That's the simple and very creative. I might teach my kids to do that instead of buying his first drones. Kite flying is always fun. By doing this, it is actually combine lots of hobbies (modifying gadgets, photography, building from the scratch, etc) into a single enjoyable moment. It is a comparatively cheap method of getting into aerial photography, and interests me due to its (obvious) straightforwardness.