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Wisdom Sought

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Old 02-08-2004, 03:01 PM
  #1  
grempel1
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Default Wisdom Sought

Greetings All,

I am new to the RC Universe and I am new to RC Video, but I have been here as a guest for about 2 years and have considerable video experience in other areas.

I am here seeking the same kind of info that I periodically seek for my Video and Sound System---kinda objective, experience-based sound advice.

I am about to buy a video system and would like some specific advice---and yes, I have read most of the messages and 1the FAQs here, and on other forums, and on retailers and manufacturers websites, so please bear with me. And please recognize that I am attempting a good, solid system---not the world's best of any particular item.

1. CCD Size and Composition
What size is best---say, is there a size which allows or use of a light pipe or fiber, so all I have exposed to the elements and a crash is the fiber rather than the camera? What lux level works best? Any insights color vs. B&W? Comments on pixel density?

2. Communications & DSP
Having reviewed that various camera/transmitter packages, I haven't yet come upon anything that attract me. Specifically, I am first attempting to determine what modem baud rates correspond to what pixel densities and frequencies. I presume the modem circuitry is located in the transmitter. What I am looking for is a chip or pcb circuit that combines DSP, a powerful compression algorithm and the modem. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Obviously, the more I can compress, the less transmission bandwidth and the greater the input signal bandwidth allowed with the system.

3. Communications
Finally, I sense a strong predilection for amateur radio transmission but I think that there are better mechanisms. I still have several Yaesu receivers not far from this computer but I must confess that they don't get turned on much anymore. It kinda reminds me of the compelling arguments made by audiophiles in support of reel to reel when CDs were first appearing. So insights in this area concerning the variety of long-distance communications alternatives would certainly be appreciated.

The reason for all this? ? ? I like to take nature pictures and I'm getting too tired and, hopefully, smart enough to pick an easier path. And if this works, well, then I don't necessarily want to be distance-limited to a few miles, or line of sight, or topography or whatever.

I thank you for your time.

Regards

I
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Old 02-12-2004, 08:07 PM
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yb2normal
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

I'm a little unclear on what you are actually trying to accomplish.

Do you wish to capture real-time video from a moving platform?

What range do you need?

Regards,
Bill
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:14 PM
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grempel1
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought



Yes, I am looking for reasonable quality, real-time video from a moving platform over of distance of up to 100 miles.

Regards,
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Old 02-13-2004, 11:49 AM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

Wow, that's a long range.

Sorry, I'm at a loss.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:21 PM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

Not only long range for video, but you will also have to control it, or have the plane control itself, and have enough fuel and battery for the distance.. Sounds more like a millitary app to me. What you are asking is not impossible, but out of reach for your average joe. If you really want to take video from 100 miles, buy yourself an cessna and a new camcorder.
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:34 PM
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Wisdom? LOL This is all cutting edge stuff. We are on the bloody edge of technology here. The market demand for RC aerial products is not large. Therefore, there isn't many "designed" products to fit our needs.

The Cmos cameras are not as affected by bright sunlight as are the CCD cameras. However, CCD will provide a higher resolution. The trouble is... most CCD cameras are built/configured to work in low light environments. Hence, there is a substantial problem using CCD cameras outside. I have seen good videos with low rez cameras and poor ones with high rez cameras. I thought there was a magic procedure to follow to present the best quality video... not true. If the captures are to be posted on a website... high rez will result in broadband viewers only. People think of a CRT to a high rez device... not true. A printer is a high rez device, a CRT presents sharp detail using only 92dpi. The ultimate quality for the internet use would be 92dpi. No such animals. Therefore, the software must resample and resize the original to fit it into the designated output. Another wild thing is you would think decreasing the size of the video window on the CRT would result in a smaller file size... not true. Sometimes the files grow many times larger. Maybe someone can calculate the best RAW capture to achieve the best output... I haven't been able to figure it out... yet! Because the end product is sometimes requested as a AVI, MPG, MOV... etc... the parameters change and not one setup seems to work for all formats. My advice to you is determine what's the output and then work backwards. In my case, I purchased CCD cameras from Super Circuits. I have asked them numerous times to supply the technical data on their cameras. They won't supply anything. I understand these cameras have an electronic shutter and I want to change the setting to work better in sunlight. I wasted enough time using Super Circuits cameras... I'm making a change! Unfortunately, there is no way to do this cheaply. My VidFly cost nearly a grand as is and I plan on investing four grand more this Spring.

The Chip Rate for most SS radios is around 10 or 11. The encoding and actual BAUD is transparent to the user and it most likely can not be changed. Most SS radios are capable of the bandwidth necessary to carry a video signal without much problem. We simply apply power and a video signal and out it comes on the other side. Which product is best... Who knows! This unknown also drives me crazy attempting to create quality finished videos. It's very tough to bench test these products. They may work one way on the bench, but when your flying you can get very different results because there are some many variables.

I wish I could say... use this, this and this... and your results will be satisfying. Even if you purchase products that have worked well for others... it doesn't necessarily mean they will work for you. It takes a lot of testing and experimenting to simply make things work... and then you start working toward quality. Don't get discouraged early on and also don't get over confident either. I have had several configurations working well before they degraded. Logistically speaking... RC aerials are not easy. It takes time and dedication to reach your goals. Flying 100 miles away while capturing video will require substantial technology and $$$.

Hope this wisdom helped... Good luck and please do post your adventures.
Rob
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Old 02-13-2004, 03:56 PM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought



Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post this insightful reply. You have pretty much captured the essential challenge.

But I think I might be a tad more optimistic. Having tried the Cessna 150/152 plus telephoto-lensed camera about 3 decades ago, I have found that I can fly a plane and point a telephoto about as well as most people I observe can drive a car and operate a cellphone.

I have also lived through the fax, PC, digital video and a whole bunch of other revolutions and was very aware of the initial pricing of each of these technologies. Recognizing that the Google search engine is about 15,000 PCs shows what it takes to quench the global thirst for indexing. But more importantly, an article crossed my desk today pointing out that the ability to create a such virtual supercomputer can now be reduced to a couple of days. Who'd have thought! ! ! !

You're probably right about the market for RC airplanes with video but what about the market for a videocam with wings. As I witness the intro of the video cellphone I keep asking how many pictures are enough! ! !

Anyway, I am fortunate to be able to access the idle time of the minds of some very smart guys

So at this point, I just have to plan the trip.

Once again, thanks for the input.

Regards,
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Old 02-13-2004, 06:36 PM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

ORIGINAL: Rj-TailSpin
The Cmos cameras are not as affected by bright sunlight as are the CCD cameras. However, CCD will provide a higher resolution. The trouble is... most CCD cameras are built/configured to work in low light environments. Hence, there is a substantial problem using CCD cameras outside.........In my case, I purchased CCD cameras from Super Circuits. I have asked them numerous times to supply the technical data on their cameras. They won't supply anything. I understand these cameras have an electronic shutter and I want to change the setting to work better in sunlight. .......
Rob
Rob, it sounds like you are having a problem with your transmitter and receiver, or perhaps your monitor. Modern CCD cameras have electronic shutter speeds that can easily hit 1/100,000 of a second. You can point a decent CCD camera directly at a 100 watt light bulb from an inch a way and it will effectively stop down the camera until you can clearly see the bulb filament. A good test is to plug that camera directly into your TV or VCR and point it out the window... make sure the window fully fills the frame of the camera. I bet you see a fine image.

Bill
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Old 02-13-2004, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

I forget what board cameras I own, I think it's a PC167 ot PC169. The dynamic range of the CCD is set for low light. I believe the sampling rate can be changed to raise or lower the dynamic range. I haven't been able to get Super Circuits to cough up the documentation. That's where I learned they don't like to provide such documentation because these board cameras also include a mic input. They don't want to be caught for selling listening devices... so they don't give supply the information. I could be wrong about this, but I did get more than once source to confirm this information. So instead of changing the camera setting via a parameter setting... I started experimenting with filters. I have increased the dynamic range and the picture quality by using filters.

I will perform some test as you mentioned... I like to keep an open mind... electronics requires such a thing-grin. Thanks for your input.

ps. Flying RC via a telescope... watch out for the sun!!!

Rob
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Old 02-14-2004, 12:55 AM
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Default RE: Wisdom Sought

The PC167 is a CMOS camera so I bet you are talking about the PC169.

I've never heard of a setting in these cameras that limits their dynamic range. Every camera I have purchased from Supercircuits has worked perfectly in everything from room light to bright outdoor light.

Rather than fighting with them about the documentation, simply call them up and say "I'm not satisfied with this camera". They will take it back in a heartbeat. But I'm telling you, unless that particular unit is defective, the problem is NOT the fact that you selected a CCD camera.


grempel1, sorry for hijacking your thread.

Bill
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