Wednesday, August 5, 2015

More about Kites

If you've been following my stuff for a while you will notice I have a fascination for kites.  I fly them a lot and they are useful for sending up a camera to see the lay of the land or video something cool from above.  I just put together a short and crappy video to show the different angles that I have found useful in sending a video camera up.
Here it is:

The first scene is where I am sending the camera up by letting out kite string.  The boat I am on is moving through the water (and the air) and causing a sort of "wind"  that I am using to fly the kite.  When I let the string out, the camera (which is on the string) goes out as well.

In the second scene, I have plucked the kitestring and the kite slider (with the camera on it) has begun to decent the kitestring, towards me.  Because it is sliding on the string, differences in tension in that string don't cause it to pitch forward or back, so it is smoother.

In the third case, I have it sliding, but I am also letting the kitestring out, so the tension on the string is low, and the camera can do a near "free fall" towards the water.  I stop letting the line out when the camera is close to the water, hence causing it to come sliding along towards me.

In the fourth case, a case I am still working on, I have rigged the kitestring to go out to the kite, then come back to me.  So if I let out 200 ft of kitestring, the kite will only be 100 ft away from me, because the string goes out and back.  It turns around a carabiner clipped to the kite, which serves as a pulley.  Then I connect the camera to the end of the kitestring (which I have), and have it slide up.  When I let the camera go, it is pulled by the kite, which goes from 100 ft out to 200 ft away, pulling the camera up with it.  Eventually the camera ends up 200 ft away.

Then photos that try to show the set-up I am using.
 The slider, showing the front and rear carabiners that I use as my sliding pulleys.  Not a very slick slide, but it works.  The important thing here is to make a stiff backbone so that the camera points down the direction of the kitestring, so that will keep it stable (sort of).
 Here is the rear carabiner holding on to a knot in the kitestring.  When I pluck the string (and hopefully not before) the carabiner hops over the knot, then the slider begins to slide down the string (the monofilament fishing line) and to me.
 My kite spool is a fishing reel, as this is great for storing lots of line and bringing it in or sending it out in an organized fashion.
 Here is the setup for when I send the camera up and out, where the kite pulls the camera up and out.  Note that the kitestring goes from fishing reel, to kite (via sliding clips on slider) then around the kite's pulley (the silver carabiner) and back to the camera.  The string does an "out and back" loop, and the tension from the kite pulling up brings the camera up the string.
 Closer look at the "pulley"

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