DJI S900 + Brushless Camcorder Gimbal

Discussion in 'Drone Cameras and Camera Gimbals' started by Jonathan, Sep 11, 2014.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan Drone Expert

    Aug 31, 2013
    Drone Aerial Photographer
    I’ve been wanting to use my Sony CX730 for a while now because it has Sony’s Balanced Optical Steady Shot (BOSS) system, where the lens and sensor moves independently from the rest of the camcorder, a bit like a stabilised camera gimbal.

    However, there aren’t too many choices for brushless gimbals that work with camcorders, or are especially designed for camcorders. In fact I could only find one. There are shed loads of Gopro gimbals, a few Sony NEX gimbals and a load of Canon 5D gimbals. A camcorder will pretty much only fit on the last one, but they’re usually not balanced quite right as they have the Canon’s odd shaped body and lens sticking out in front in mind, where a camcorder has a pretty narrow profile head-on and is pretty equally weighted along its length.

    So, long story short, rather than shell out 599 Euros for the one camcorder gimbal for sale online, I thought I would try and make my own. Actually, to be honest, I got my mate Andy to do most of the hard work, which wasn’t actually that hard in the end as we had most of the parts already. Also, because the Sony balances itself somewhat I was hoping I wouldn’t need the third axis to take out the side-to-side movement caused by the hexacopter. Without the third axis the gimbal is lighter, more sturdy and easier to setup. I bought a Basecam (Alexmos) 32 bit controller from Unmannedtech, which is actually quite nicely finished in a hard case, both the main board and the two external sensors.

    The 32 bit controller comes with two sensors, one for your gimbal and another to go on your drone or handheld camera frame, so the two can be compared by the software. However, in this video I only used the one sensor on the gimbal to keep it simple. I may try the dual sensor setup next to see if there’s any difference.

    There are a couple of tiny unwanted movements in this video, partly due to not centering the camera properly and possibly because of the Sony BOSS system overcompensating. I think I can tweak both for the next video.

    All in all I’m very pleased with the results, camcorders are made specifically for video and this particular one does a great job. The footage is straight from the camera on full iAuto. I should really have chosen settings suitable to the light and environment, all of which can be done with this camera, but I had no idea what the footage would come out like and just wanted to see if it even worked,  and if there’d be any vibrations and jello getting through, which it seems there is not.

    Anyway, the video after my wafflings is of Heslington Church near York University, with a bit of a pan of the surroundings. If you have any questions or comments please do make them.

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