Introducing BeetleCopter and Camtraptions is a blog post from the News category.

Introducing BeetleCopter and Camtraptions

Posted by Will on

Happy New Year everyone!

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates to this blog. Since returning from Zambia in August, a couple of projects have been keeping me rather busy: BeetleCopter and Camtraptions.

BeetleCopter is the next instalment of the BeetleCam Project. I have built a remote-control multirotor copter for my camera (actually, I have built several to accommodate different sized cameras ranging from a GoPro up to Canon 5D Mark III). The camera is attached to a stabilised gimbal suspended under the body of copter.

BeetleCopter in the Serengeti

Last month I took my new BeetleCopters to the Serengeti in Tanzania for testing. The following footage is a result of two weeks of experimentation. It was shot on a GoPro Hero 3+ (I could have used a larger camera but the lighter GoPro gave me longer flight times). To get this footage I was sometimes a kilometre away from the copter, operating it via a live video feed. These devices have incredible potential in wildlife filmmaking and photography; they are quieter and more manoeuvrable than a normal helicopter so they can get closer to animals with minimal disturbance. I will soon be returning to Africa with my BeetleCopters so make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to be the first to see the results!

Now, without further ado, I present BeetleCopter in the Serengeti:

My second announcement of the year is the launch of Camtraptions.

Camtraptions is a company that I have set up to develop products for remote and camera trap photography. The initial product line consists of BeetleCams and Remote-control Copters. We will soon also be launching new products for camera trap wildlife photography. For news and announcements about the latest product developments, please subscribe to the Camtraptions newsletter.

Camtraptions: Remote + Camera Trap Photography

I wish you all the very best for 2014!

34 Comments

  1. Deborah Favorito said: January 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    You are a very talented photographer. Your newest invention is brilliant. I can be used also on ranches to help with the control of the animals. Thank you for being so generous with your pictures.

  2. Marc Graas said: January 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Hi , very interesting. I would like to know are you running this under FM, WIFI, 3G, 4G ? How many operators ? Thanks.

  3. Will said: January 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks
    Marc – I was operating it on my own. Control is 2.4GHz radio. Video feed is 5.8GHz.

  4. Wamasebu Eric said: January 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    hi Lucas i just have one word for you on those videos AWESOME
    hey am actually from Uganda would like to get one of those am a film maker here and in Nairobi but am based in Uganda

  5. Fred LeFevre said: January 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Awesome as usual. Great video mix and wonderful shots. I’ve just picked up the GoPro Hero3 Black and my Gimbal arrived a couple of days ago. Now I just need the Serengeti and maybe I can have a go – as long as I don’t break another prop mid-flight :( on my Quad.

    Fred

  6. Adrian D. Thysse said: January 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Wow! I’m very impressed with what you have done so far. This could revolutionize wildlife photography in its ability to observe and record behaviour.

  7. San said: January 2, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I am absolutely speechless….

  8. Shiv said: January 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Mind == Blown – thats it … cant say more.

  9. Will said: January 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Thanks guys :)

  10. HECTOR said: January 3, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Really good work congratulations.

  11. LARRY ZIEGLER said: January 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    MAGNIFICENT, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Linda Moskowitz said: January 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    How fun!! Just loved the video. It gave a whole new perspective of the Serengeti. Thanks!!!

  13. Martin said: January 3, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Wonderful photography chaps!

  14. Joolz said: January 5, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I am amazed, incredible stuff. Truly clever.
    Curious: since you used the GoPro u couldn’t have zoomed in as the cam doesn’t have that capability – how close do you estimate the bettlecopter was to the hyena? Around 2 metres? Seems the hyena hardly even noticed it.
    Wonder if you could install a cam with remote zooming for an even closer capture.
    Thanks for the incredible footage and making something that has been around for 100 years exciting again.

  15. akin said: January 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    wonderful piece of work amazing what human beings can achieve with a help of techno,keep it up burra well done lovely job

  16. Howard Wood said: January 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

    A masterpiece!!

    Can you tell me the title of the background music? sound like it could be a John Barry composition. (Out of Africa), etc.

  17. Will said: January 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks guys.
    Howard, the song is called Olympic Glory by Yuri Sazonoff – I picked it because it reminds me of the Out of Africa soundtrack.

  18. Casper Sørensen said: January 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Will!
    Truly amazing footage.
    Is it possible to buy a Bettlecopter from you?
    If possible, what price are we talking? :)

  19. Matt said: January 16, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Joolz,

    Not to speak out of turn, but a couple solutions I am sure they can do is either go to something along the Sony NEX line on a slightly more powerful gimbal, this allows zooming, but usually adds more channels to your RC system, or on the Hero 3 black you can shoot in 2.7K up to 30fps or up to 4K in 15 fps if you are shooting something that frame rate would not be critical in. Like perhaps a nice wide aerial scene. Doing this, allows you to later do a Pan and Scan or “Ken Burns” style effects because you can take a 1080P chunk out of your 2.7K footage and still keep Full HD quality. I am very excited to see what Will has done, and look forward to purchasing a Beetle Cam for some great ground level stuff soon!!

  20. stephane said: January 20, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Good morning

    great fantastic

    please how much to buy it ?

    tks
    stephane

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