Control Systems

Camera control technologies range from Silly Putty to radio systems -- gather your notes on how to set up the cradle here

I am ten years behind most KAPers, but working to catch up ...

A Smithsonian kit introduced me to KAP; pull a string to trigger the camera, pull down kite, rewind instamatic camera, send kite and camera back up, pull the string again, etc. Broox enabled me to build my first reliable rig with a James Gentles "peanut" controller for a simple pan and shoot modality (tilt was set manually). AuRiCo was a second-generation controller that made possible far more extensive automatic KAP with Canon cameras and CHDK.

I admired the remote control rigs of others, and I decided that I wanted to give that technical approach a try. Andrew Newton was an inspiration, and I modified a Spektrum DX5e transmitter for this purpose. Just recently I moved the control potentiometers to a handheld device, as did Andrew though I used a slide potentiometer for the tilt function.

I struggled to achieve the accurate proportional pan control that Andrew Newton recommended. With the help of long time KAPers, Peter Bults, Brooks Leffler, and Simon Harbord, and their articles in the THE AERIAL EYE, I was able to learn how to modify the control potentiometer to allow for adjustments to match pan angle.

Along the way, inspired by other KAPers, I decided that I wanted a video downlink so that feature was added to my present rig and the control unit. The slide potentiometer controls tilt, the rotary potentiometer controls pan, the red push button is the shutter switch, and the sliding switch at the bottom turns the video downlink on-off. The larger video screen is velcro-ed to an extension of the handheld platform.

I feel that I have now reached the point where most remote control KAPers were 10 years ago! I do have plans for next steps. With the guidance that Dave Mitchell has provided on this forum, the upcoming winter months will see me cannabalize the transmitter, build an Arduino interface, and put together a handheld device so that all the control and transmission components are ready-to-hand. If I am successful, I suppose that I will only be five years behind my colleagues in this community!

I owe all this to members of this KAP community.

Stories about KAP kites and KAP rigs may come later.


  • at today status I'm using just a DJIPocket 2 with phone control or a RICOH GR autokap kit but I still have a RIG with full control - DuneCam system working (Scott Armitage...)

    SMAC from Italy

  • Interesting to observe that with the time we all tend to look for simplicity and reliability... I do not use RC or video control was too bulky to charge the batteries and too large to travel comfortably....Yes I may spend a bit more time in post production but this is fine and I still maintain a ratio if 1% keeper from a kap session ( 1000 images yield 10 keepers...).

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