Tag Archives: 720p

Ghost Drone

The Ghost Drone is a wind and rain resistant Indiegogo project drone aimed at filmmakers, photographers, sports enthusiasts, travelers and adventurers, GoPro owners and first time and experienced drone pilots.

It is controlled by a smartphone app (either iOS or Android operating systems) where you can click on a map and the drone will go to that position; the map can be downloaded in advance. The app also has a number of one-click commands including take off, hover, return and land. Two sliding bars can be used to control the height and orientation of the drone; while another two control the camera gimbal with one tilting the camera up and down while the other pans it left and right. It’s micro control feature allows more precise movement of the drone over small distances. The Auto-Follow mode keeps the drone following the smart phone. If the drone exceeds 0.6 mile limit or the signal is lost it will return to its place of origin.

The app communicates with the drone via a G-box system, with the app communicating with the G-box via bluetooth while the G-box communicates with the drone via a wireless radio.

Other developments at higher Indiegogo targets include integration with a waterproof smartwatch and controlling the drone by tilting the smartphone, while obstacle avoidance will be available in future versions.

  • Up to 20 mins flight time with the gimbal
  • 10 mph (restricted) flight speed
  • Up to 0.6 miles control distance
  • Wind resistance up to 21 knot (11m/s)
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Propeller protectors

The Ghostdrone comes in 3 seperate versions, only two of which have a camera gimbal:

  • Ghost Basic (£430) – No camera gimbal.
  • Ghost Aerial (£550) – 2-axis gimbal designed for GoPro and similar cameras.
  • Ghost Aerial Plus (£559) – 2-axis gimbal and Ehang Sports camera.

An RC controller can be purchased for an extra $99. Another optional extra are prop guards to protect both the system and what is may be flying near, and photos on the site seem to suggest that the mini legs attached to them can be used to replace the main landing gear, this would allow a greater field of view.

The Ghost Drone is marketed as the easiest done to fly, and the flight controls within the app will certainly enable many autonmated movements with one button click.

The propellors of the system are pointing down rather than up (unlike other systems), this is believed to provide more stable flight.

The fact that the Ghost Drone is wind and rain resistant means that is can be used in conditions that would ground other systems.

As with other systems, the follow-me technology will allow the easy recording of video site tours.

The Ghost Drone comes with an SDK (Software Development Kit) which has already been used by one of the users to create voice interface which can be used to control the drone.

The Ghost Drone is limited to the abilities of smaller cameras.

The system does not come with an RC controller, although it is an optional extra for $99.

Although you can purchses prop guards the manufacturer suggests removing tham during filming as they destabilise the system in flight.


DJI Inspire 1

The DJI Inspire 1 is the new quadcopter by the DJI company, this company is at the forefront of commercial innovations in UAV technology and the Inspire 1 brings a number of new technologies to the market.

One of these innovative design elements is that the rotors and legs can be lifted during flight allowing a full, unrestricted 360⁰ below the camera, this unrestricted view is common in much more expensive systems.

An option that is used in professional videography is dual-operator control, this is where one operator flies the UAV while the other controls the camera via the gimbal controls, with each operator having their own screen. The Inspire 1 has this option with the ability to buy two remote controls with the system as well as the technology within the drone.

Another innovative technology is the Optical Flow Technology which allows the location and altitude of the Inspire 1 to be maintained accurately even when a GPS signal is not available, such as an indoor environment, and allows the legs to automatically be lowered when landing. While the Vision Positioning System allows the system to hold its position while indoors, stop when the controls are released, and respond to your commands using a camera and ultrasonics system.

The DJI mobile app is available on iOS and Android and allows manual control of the camera, provides flight telemetry data and auto takeoff and landing controls.

The DJI Inspire 1 specifications are:

  • Hovering accuracy with the GPS mode of 0.5m vertical and 2.5m horizontal
  • Maximum Angular Velocity – Pitch: 300°/s and Yaw: 150°/s
  • Maximun Tilt Angle: 35°
  • Maximum Ascent Speed: 5m/s
  • Maximum Descent Speed: 4m/s
  • Maximum Speed: 22m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)
  • Maximum Flight Altitude: 4500m
  • Maximum Wind Speed Resistance: 10m/s
  • Maximum Flight Time: Approximately 18 minutes

The camera specifictions are:

  • 12 megapixel photographs
  • Video in 4K at 24-30 fps, or 1080p at 24-60fps
  • Lens with 9 elements in 9 groups including an aspherical element
  • 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor
  • 94⁰ wide-angle FOV (Field of view)
  • 3-axis, 360⁰ rotating gimbal

The video from the camera can be displayed in real-time in 720p HD on mobile devices thanks to DJI’s Lightbridge technology which can transmit video up to 2km.

The modular payload systen of the Aspire 1 suggested that there are planned options for other recording media.

The camera can be detached and attached to a pole making the camera a handheld recording device.

A SDK (Software DEvelopment Kit) has allowed outside company integration with both the camera and software.

The Inspire 1 costs £2,380 with one remote control and £2,749 with two remote controls.

The Inspire 1 is a complete ready to fly system.

A constant problem with cheaper UAV systems is the fixed nature of the camera, with gimbals only being able to pan up and down generally because of the position of the legs of the vehicle. More expensive systems have legs that can be lifted upwards by motors allowing the camera to move 360° from side to side meaning that a separate camera operator can control the camera while the pilot concentrates on the flying, but these tend to be very expensive (£5000-7000 or more) and still require the additional purchase of a camera. The Inspire 1 gets around this problem by designing a system which lifts the legs up at the same time as the props giving this 360° degree field of view.

The Optical Flow Technology allows the Inspire 1 to fly indoors with stability when there is no GPS signal to stabilize the system.

Thanks to these abilities the Inspire 1 has the ability to both map archaeology and cultural heritage by taking vertical overlapping photographs from above in a mapping pattern, to record upstanding monuments with the camera at a right angle to them, and to record flythroughs of both archaeology and cultural heritage with a separate controller panning the camera when required. Unlike other systems it provides all of these abilities in one package.

The ability to carry other recording packages in the future is very enticing, hopefully including lidar and infra-red.

On the face of it the cost would seem too high, but after analysing what you get (see the article on RC Geeks), for full details it becomes quite reasonable.

  • It comes with the DJI Lightbridge technology which would cost an additional £999 is purchased separately.
  • To equip a previous UAV with the 4K camera technology would require the purchase of a GoPro Hero4 Black which costs £369.99.
  • The Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal to hold the camera would cost an additional £249.

So even buying the DJI Phantom 2 for £499 the additional costs to provide similar abilities to the Inspire 1 bring it close to the cost of that system, and that is without many of the abilities that the Inspire 1 has.

Although the Inspire 1 is pricey it comes with everything that you could need for professional style photography.

With the incareased movement of the many elements of the Inspire 1 there may be problems with wear and tear on the system.


The GoPro HERO is a new budget camera in the GoPro range. It takes 5MP (mega pixels) photos which can be recorded up to 5 frames a second and records video at 1080p30 and 720p60. With its rugged case it is waterproof to 40m.

The interface has been made easier with the new QuikCature mode which allows the user to power on the camera and start recording by pressing a single button. Pressing once records video, while holding the button down for 2 seconds starts to capture time lapse photos.


The GoPro HERO costs £99.99.

The GoPro HERO has much of the same potential as the GoPro HERO4 which can be read here.

At only £100 its potential for budget wearable technology in archaeology is enhanced greatly, with the cost of 3 GoPro Heros being less than 1 GoPro Hero4.

Up until now one of the major limitations of the GoPro has been the price, but with a GoPro costing £99.99 this drawback has been removed.

There are limitations to this budget model though, the camera is only 5MP as opposed to the GoPro HERO4 which is 12MP, which is quite a low level of recording for a modern digital camera. It will limit the amount of information recorded in a photograph, and hence any 3D models created from the results.


The GoPro HERO4 is a new camera in the GoPro range, it consists of two separate models, the silver and the black.


The silver model includes a built-in touch-screen display, previously this had been available as an extra which connected to the back of the camera, the black model does not come with this.

It captures photographs with its 12MP camera at speeds up to 30fps and records video at 1080p60 and 720p120.


Professional Video up to 4K30

It captures photographs with its 12MP camera at speeds up to 30fps and records video at 4K30, 2.7K50 and 1080p120.

Both models have built-In Wi-Fi + Bluetooth allowing connection and control from other devices using the GoPro App, Smart Remote2 and more.

With their rugged case they are waterproof to 40m.

The silver version of the camera is £289.99 while the back is £369.99.

The GoPro camera was designed with the extreme sports industry in mind, but it has since find a place in a number of other disciplines.

The size, weight and portability of the GoPro camera has meant that is had become the mainstay of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) industry with the camera becoming standard on many quadcopters. The user can see what the camera sees by either using the on-board wi-fi and an app on tablet computers or phones; or a fpv (first person view) system which can be sent wirelessly to either a video monitor or video goggles. Motorised gimbals can be used to both, stablise the camera to remove any shake caused by the UAV, and to change the direction the camera is pointing in mid flight.

The GoPro also has great potential as wearable technology in the trench:

  • The camera comes with a number of mounts out of the box, including ones that can attach to hardhats, but other mounts are available including a chest harness. These could be used to record the excavation process by attaching GoPro camera to the archaeologist excavating; the video could be used to record video but the individual video frames, or photographs, could be used to create a 3D photogrammetry model of the excavation. The combination of head and chest mounted camera may provide enough images to make an accurate model of the excavation. The rugged plastic housing can protect the camera from anything that it comes across in the trench.
  • If a complicated or important excavation was being undertaken or an important artifact was being lifted the excavator could have a live conference with an expert who could advise them on the best way to excavate it.
  • Experimentation with aspects of wearable technology has been undertaken on the Portus Project in Italy under the auspices of the University of Southampton.

The use of the GoPro is not limited to a single camera, the Dual HERO System is a case that allows two GoPro camera to be put side by side which allows 3D footage to be created using the GoPro Studio editing software.

GoPro Dual HERO System

The 360heros series of GoPro mounts clips a number of cameras together allowing spherical video recording with up to 14 GoPro cameras, the videos recorded can be stitched together in video stitching software to create immersive 360˚ videos. Mounts are available for everything from the top of helmets, to UAVs, underwater recording and even for recording 360˚ 3D with 14 GoPro cameras.

The system can record immersive videos on the ground, in the air and underwater which can viewed in a video player online – http://video.360heros.com/website/users/webplayer/videodetails.php?vid=59

The Freedom360 provides a similar system.

A GoPro has even been attached to a shovel while archaeology is being undertaken – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht0RR94O9jY&feature=youtu.be

It has been used in underwater test of sfm (structure from motion) – http://arc-team-open-research.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/extreme-sfm-underwater-archaeology.html

The HERO4 Black provides the user with a highly portable camera capable of recording 4K video, it does however come at a high price which limits the potential of using multiple cameras in an immersive recording system, the cheaper HERO does provide this opportunity however.

Raspberry Pi Camera Module

Although the Raspberry Pi itself comes with no digital recording capabilities out of the box, for another £25 the camera module can be purchased and used to record video at 1080p30, 720p60 and VGA90 modes and images can be captured with its 5 megapixel camera.
Camera Module
This has been to create a body scanner with 40 Raspberry Pis and cameras.
Body Scanner
This has had some fairly impressive results using the free Autodesk recap software.

The camera module also costs around £25.