When, in 2014, I tried to make the Carp On The Fly On The SUP videos I found the process extremely frustrating. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't generate Go-Pro first person view (FPV) video that wasn't shaky to the point of vomitville and I felt like it interfered with my creativity.
While researching solutions I ran into something called a brushless gimbal. A brushless gimbal is a mechanism that uses three brushless motors to stabilize a camera. At the time they were mainly used for drones, professional videography and for hand-held Go-Pro stabilizers. I immediately decided that I would try and build one small enough and light enough that I could mount it on my head like a GoPro FPV camera.
Four months later I had a solid proof of concept micro gimbal which I code-named Cyclops 1.0. It had issues. Lots of issues. It had wires hanging everywhere. It had to be re-started ~ every 20 minutes for a dozen different reasons and would break completely every couple of days and had a dozen other issues that just added up to a total pain in the butt. When it did work, however, it worked GREAT and it could do stuff like this with almost perfect stabilization:
At the time I had dreams of taking this idea and doing something big with it, but first I wanted to make sure it was really viable. You know, make sure that I could get it working "good enough".
Well, something funny happened. Version 1.1 was worse in almost every way and Version 1.2 was a massive failure and I was still a family man with a day job, a fishing addiction and a blog and a major case of burnout. The family, the job and the fishing aren't optional, so I ended up having to take a break from project Cyclops AND Fly-Carpin.
Fly-Carpin will probably never recover, but I did eventually get back to work on project CLOPS (The name Cyclops gimbal is now taken for a Drone gimbal). Version 1.3 still had major issues, but was a modest step forward in terms of reliability and form factor.
In November 2016 (after another burn-out break) I started CLOPS 2.0 and it has been a massive success.
- Camera: Mobius Action Cam integrated into the Gimbal
- 1080P 30 frames/s
- 760P 60 frames/s
- 3d printed from Polycarbonate
- 102 Grams for the part mounted on your head/chest/wherever.
- Variable mass depending on battery size for remote battery/power supply
- Two modes (Sport and Cinematic)
- Mounting flanges compatible with Go-Pro accesories
- 2S lipo batteries from the drone/rc plane industry. Battery life can range between 2 and 6 hours depending on battery size.
So, while Fly-Carpin the blog may not live on, Fly-Carpin the Youtube channel will and I guarantee you the footage will never be shaky again. Some examples of what V2.0 can do: