Category Archives: CAMERA AND AUDIO/VISUAL HACKS

GoPro Hero5 Black Voice Control Fixture Finished!

As you may have seen if you’ve been following along here or on YouTube, I recently made a new fixture for my GoPro Hero5. The idea behind this is that it can use an audio signal controlled by an Arduino Nano to trigger the Hero5. Originally it didn’t work very well, but after some revisions outlined in the video below, it worked quite well “in the lab,” AKA my garage.

It’s sort of downplayed in the video, but once I took it to the beach, with its inherent wind and noise, things didn’t perform quite as well as I’d hoped. The device would often miss the “GoPro take a photo command.” Although frustrating, I was able to get it to take several panorama sequences, and stitched them together using Photoshop Elements (Amazon)*.

Here’s one I though twas pretty great. On the left side is the other end of the bench, the device is resting on, so I was able to get a roughly 180 degree view of everything automatically. I’m using this as my background on a dual-monitor setup, and I’m pretty impressed with how it looks that way!

Dunedin causeway panoramaI gave a very short summary of the initial build in the video embedded here, but if you’d like to see what went into the prototype, check out this post. Also, the title says “finished,” but is something like this ever really finished? In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I could put even more holes on the top, or perhaps adapt it to work with my DSLR…Finished seems to be a relative term!

*I’m using PSE 13; 15 is linked there. Hopefully it’s even better.

GoPro Voice Panning Fixture

I recently purchased a GoPro Hero5 Black (Amazon), which after some initial reservations on my part, appears to be a giant step forward for documenting my projects. Hopefully I can do a full review elsewhere, but one thing that I think will be very useful—even though I thought it was a bit of a gimmick when I first read about it—is its voice control capability. This means that I can now take a picture of myself operating a drill naturally, or start and stop video snippets when needed, rather than filming way too much and editing later. It’s paid dividends already, and was used extensively while making the video seen here:

As for what it is, soon after getting this camera, it occurred to me that voice control would be an excellent way to interface with the GoPro Hero5 using a microcontroller. I should say, an excellent way for me to do this, a mechanical engineer with a decent grasp on basic electronics and programming, but not well-equipped to sniff out network signals or whatever. The idea was that I could record voice commands, Read more »

Mounting a GoPro Omni on a DJI Inspire Quadcopter

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Buy a Mount

Although general build instructions are furnished here, if you’d like to have one professionally made, please contact me at [email protected] for a quote!

Note that as built, this mount provides no stabilization. Additionally, the linkages can move relative to the quadcopter under strong acceleration.

How it was Built

Anyone who has used or worked with drones knows that they are interesting platforms on which to mount a camera. Some, from the a cheap Hubsan for around $30 on Amazon, to the much more capable DJI Inspire for around 60 times that price (Amazon), come with them already mounted on them. One thing most, or all as far as I know, don’t have is a spherical camera, allowing you to take “video” for use in virtual reality environments.

This type of recording, done from a drone or otherwise, allows playback to happen later as if you were an observer in a vehicle. You can look around, but can’t control where you are going. 360.place, a startup in the Ybor City district of Tampa, Florida, has been pioneering what can be done with this technology, concentrating on unique views of businesses. As their expertise focuses on software and video production, they asked me to help with the challenge of mounting a heavy (around 2 pounds) GoPro Omni VR rig to their DJI Inspire quadcopter.

Naturally, I was thrilled to take on this challenge, and after about a month of work designing, building, and testing my rig, I delivered a newly-augmented drone to 360.place that they could use to take their VR to the skies!

The Idea

The obvious solution to taking this footage would be to run some sort of pipe from the center of gravity of the quadcopter a few feet down to the camera. This has been done before, but I didn’t see a good way to mount it in the middle without modification. Being a customer’s drone, I much preferred to do something that could easily be removed, and the linked design removed the built-in camera, which I wanted to avoid if possible.

After agonizing over what to do for a week or so and not really coming up with a good solution, the idea finally hit me Read more »