Stoner Hill Highs – Part 1: North Face
Go, Go Aerial Cinecam
Another fine Spring day, and I’m in the air over Stoner Hill, getting enough footage to make 10 videos, let alone 2 or 3. And all from 5 battery packs.
We start then with Part 1, the first flight off the…
This is a very dangerous fly-site – I hate flying here as much as I love the view and footage it produces. Even on days considered windless, once you get out over that valley, the wind is always massive. From the second my craft leaves the ground to the second it returns, my heart is thumping fit to burst. Why so stressy ?
GPS signal here is ropey as hell, visibility of craft is restricted to a 30 degree angle once it gets into the valley, and those evil gale force winds suck upwards and outwards, and cause the sort of craft-rocking turbulence that I rarely see at other sites. It’s a nightmare.
One tiny mistake, and I could go down in a location it could take me weeks to access, locate and recover – and the bills could be huge – there’s some massive drops involved.
The only slight saving grace is the proliferation of dense tree canopy which would go some way to breaking my fall should I find myself headed ground-ward not of my own volition.
Today I flew in a mixture of GPS and Atti modes, switching to the latter whenever the former showed signs of instability.
Doing this saved me from at least 7 probable crashes throughout today’s flights, as the wind sent GPS really quite odd at times. I needed RTH twice, and both times it worked, and brought my craft safely back to me, despite the appalling headwinds swirling around the bowl. Not only that, but my craft is unaccountably yawing left without my input, forcing me to constantly cancel it as I move around. Need to sort that.
Deception by smoothness
Watch the video. Would you know this was perhaps the worst and most uncontrolled flight I’ve ever done, had I not told you ?
2 factors are saving the day here. Firstly, the Aeroxcraft Brushless Gimbal is doing a frankly astonishing job of levelling out a craft that is being tossed all over the place by the wind.
Secondly, I’m filming on the GoPro 3 (Black Edition) at 1080, 60 FPS, and have slowed all these clips except the end one down to 30 FPS for ultra-slow-glide cinematic action. I was testing this approach today, and I have to say – I love it, and will do it a lot more in the future.
This conspires to give us a video that really defies the prevailing conditions to give us sharp, clear usable results. Brilliant. Never thought I’d be able to get that. And all this footage came from just one 7 minute flight.
Today’s musical accompaniment harmlessly borrowed (again) from Trevor Morris and his excellent ‘The Tudors Season 4’ soundtrack.
There will be a part 2. And possibly a Part 3. Too much footage to choose from…
See you (quite literally) on the other side…