Saturday, February 11, 2017

CLOPS Sports Cam and the death of Fly-Carpin

You may have noticed that Fly-Carpin essentially died a couple of years ago - or maybe not.  It is easier to notice the existence of a thing on the internet than it's absence.  Either way I would like to tell you the story.

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
  • Gimbal:
    • 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:


  1. Dude! I just discovered your blog about a month ago and have been digging into your flies ... so sorry you won't be updating, but I sure hope you'll keep it live on the interwebs. Lots of great info here and I've just scratched the surface! On the other hand, that gimbal is awesome. A real game-changer. Thinking of its applications for small stream ultralight fly fishing! Way to go, man.

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