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NHK Balloon Camera Shoots Stable Aerial Footage
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NHK Balloon Camera Shoots Stable Aerial Footage

  • Balloon Camera
  • NHK

NHK has developed the Balloon Camera, which makes it easier to shoot from an aerial or bird's-eye view without the need for a crane.

The camera is kept stable by a four axis camera gimbal, which is then attached to a balloon which can rise up to 300m. The motion of the camera and gimbal is controlled using a toy helicopter's remote control.

"The height actually used for a bird's-eye view is about 30-50 m because that's the most practical altitude. So we've designed this system to work stably at that height."

"The camera can pan, tilt, and zoom as usual. In addition, the gimbal works to keep the direction fixed, so even if the camera shakes, it stays facing the same direction, and the image is stable. To put it simply, four gimbal axes are controlled, and they have gyros, and the direction is kept constant using the gyro values."

The camera gimbal setup was co-developed with the Seeds Project and it weighs about 2 kg including the camera. The balloon itself can carry about 4 kg, and it has a safe landing mechanism which can bring it back down if its tether gets cut.

"This balloon can be used in winds up to 7 m/s. Its weak point is that it's vulnerable to strong winds."

"The first advantage of this system is that it reduces costs, and the second is that it can be set up anywhere. So, a big feature of this system is that it keeps costs down and makes installation easy, by eliminating the need to find a large space or get permission."

"From now on, we think we could bring viewers entirely new shots, in daytime news and sports programs, for example."

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