Introduction: Really Easy Aerial Video From Kites
Bamboo canes (1 or 2)
Some cable (zip) ties
A small handheld drill
Some tape (pvc electrical, or duct)
A junior hacksaw to cut bamboo pole to length (if needed)
A kite (I used a 2.4m2 cirrus kite)
A camera that can take a rough landing (I'm using a Kodak PlaySport outdoor camera, but GoPros would also work)
The basic theory is that kites produce quite a lot of lift, so adding a bit of extra camera weight shouldn't be too difficult.
Step 1: Bit of Bamboo Bracketry Pt 1
Given that the kite doesn't have anywhere sensible to attach a camera, we'll need to create some form of bracket. I chose bamboo, because it is:
So it seems to fit the bill well. The form of the bracket developed over the course of our experiments. We first tried with an X-brace configuration, but this was soon found to be too vulnerable during landing. The design was simplified to a single bamboo pole which ran between each of the power line bridles.
Before heading out, I made sure the poles were long enough. I needed poles of 1700mm for my 2.4m2 kite to adequately reach between the bridles.
To attach the pole to the bridle I drilled a hole through the pole and used a cable tie to attach it to the main power line (see photo). Do this at both ends to form a bamboo 'bar' across your power lines.
Step 2: Bit of Bamboo Bracketry Pt 2
Now, we need to make a secure mounting for the camera which won't rotate.
This was achieved by using two smaller pieces of bamboo, drilling all the way through and then through the bamboo bar, securing with two more cable ties. They can't rotate around the main bamboo bar as the cable tie restricts their movement.
You'll want to think carefully about the geometry of the hole through the bamboo bar, as this will define your camera tilt angle relative to your kite. Don't drill the holes such that the mounting is facing too high up in the air, or too far downwards.
You might want to drill a few different holes in different positions to experiment which angles work best for you.
Step 3: Attach the Camera
Now, all that remains is to attach the camera to the mounting, with a bit of judicious use of sticky tape. A few obvious things to consider here: don't obscure the lens and make sure you still have access to the useful buttons.
You don't need a lot to attach the camera on. So although these photos look like the camera is fairly precariously attached, it's actually pretty firmly connected to the bamboo just with a few pieces of tape.
Step 4: Voila!
Remember - your kite now has a large bamboo pole attached to it which could do some serious damage if it crashes on top of someone. Be careful to avoid people nearby.
Happy aerial videoing, and if you liked this, do remember to vote! :)