Kite Aerial Photography Picavet System - Fun, Simple, and Easy to Build!

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In this Instructable I will be teaching you how to build a picavet and camera mount for kite aerial photography/video so that you can capture amazing bird's eye views of the world around you.  The purpose of the picavet is to hold and stabilize the camera while it is attached to the kite so that you get the best quality photos/videos, as opposed to simply sticking the camera to the kite which would give you crazy blurry whiplash photos.  I tried to design this picavet system so that it is simple to use and so it would offer a bit of protection for the camera in the even of a crash landing. The Instructable is broken into three main parts, designing and creating the picavet platform, designing and creating the camera mounting system, and tying the string and pulley system that stabilizes the picavet platform.  If you have any questions or suggestions please post them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. Enjoy!

Note: The Picavet system I designed is for taking videos. As such there is no mechanism for activating the shutter release to snap a picture.  If you are interested in having photos there are a number of programs such as Imagegrab that all you to pull pictures from videos.

To avoid confusion here is a list of terms that you will need to know throughout my Instructable:
KAP = Kite Aerial Photography
Picavet = system of cord and pulleys that stabilizes a platform that the camera is attached to.
Picavet Platform = "X" shaped piece of plywood that the camera is mounted to. 

Disclaimer:  Although I have designed and built this KAP system with the safety of the camera in mind, I make no guarantee that your camera will be safe in the event of a crash.  If you plan to build your own Picavet/KAP rig please understand that there is a chance that your camera could be broken and move forward with that information in mind.  Also please be mindful of the Picavet during flight, abrupt changes in wind can cause the kite and picavet to move very quickly and if your not careful someone could be injured.  Lastly never fly kites near people, power-lines, or in restricted airspace.  Be safe out there!
hchute1 month ago

Here are some pics from my attempt at this. Very pleased with how well it works!

A couple of minor tweaks: I used good-quality 1/4" plywood rather than 3/8", which helped to keep the rig lighter. Also, instead of velcro or rubber bands to hold the camera in, I made a foam-padded plate that screws on with wingnuts.

We found it worked best to get the kite aloft, about 20 or 30 feet, and then to attach the picavet to the string. That way the kite has a lot of lifting power by the time it's trying to lift the picavet into the sky.

Thanks for a fun instructable!

hchute1 month ago

I'm building it now, and looking forward to its test flights next week in the Olympic Peninsula. Thank you, Matt, for the very clear tutorial!

KevinD183 months ago

Hi, I am very new to the hobby. I don't want to invest too much to start. I have a gopro and was wondering if the below kite would be suitable to lift. any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


VentureScout11 months ago

Good Idea, well done

VentureScout11 months ago

Good Idea, well done

smabbott made it!1 year ago

I had a lot of fun with this one. Thanks for the tutorial.

picavet camera rig.jpgScreen Shot 2014-08-19 at 9.44.05 AM.png
Matt2 Silver (author)  smabbott1 year ago

You're very welcome Smabbott. Your pictures look awesome, I'm glad you had a good time with this project. I'm interested in your modified camera mounting system, could you tell me more about it?

P.s. thanks for sharing the pictures, I always enjoy seeing pictures and knowing that people are out there enjoying and using my Instructables!

Best regards,


The mounting system is a little half-baked. I have a couple of android devices of different sizes that I'm using as cameras. I'm using pegs to hold the device in place. I made several sets of holes so that the pegs can be moved to accommodate the different sized devices. My intention is to use some sort of bungie cord to secure the device but I'm just using duct tape for now.

I thought I'd drill out some more holes to lighten the platform. It seems a little heavy for my kite. I'll post more photos when I've made my modifications.
Matt2 Silver (author) 1 year ago
Thanks for your kind words wilgubeast, I'm glad you like the instructable.
wilgubeast1 year ago
Love that you built this with a wide audience in mind. Great text, awesome photos, well deserving of a finalist spot in the 2013 Kite Contest. Hope you bring home a cool prize!
Matt2 Silver (author) 1 year ago
Sure, It'll take a little bit, I'm off at college and left my camera etc back home. But I'll try my best to get the pictures to you guys ASAP : )
Can you post the videos you've made?
Really fun idea! Great work!
Neat! Thanks. I have found a fantastic wood for building light and strong structures like this. Pauwlonia. Lighter and stronger than Balsa, CHEAP, too. Check it out if you can find it. I am fairly sure you can build this lighter than plywood and not lose any strength.
Thanks again, great instructable.
Tight Lines!
bamboo421 year ago
Love it thanks
So RAD! Great work!