What do I need in order to control a gimbal during flight?


Recommended Posts

Hello, I am new to the drone world and would love to build my own for some aerial photography. I have experience with flying as I own a smaller quad but I am looking for something bigger and a little project for the winter.  I am trying to figure out how I could (if at all possible) have a single transmitter for the quadcopter and the gimbal.  I am leaning towards buying an S500 kit or F450 kit and I'm not sure which yet.  Any guidance is much appreciated! 

Thank you! 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Robert.

If you want to build something to give yourself something to do, that's great.

If you want a multirotor that you can use to get your feet wet in aerial photography get a nice used or even new (depending on your budget) Phantom 3 Pro or Advanced.  For what you get,  you could easily spend 2 or 3 times more $$,  get nothing for your build time, and end up with an inferior camera rig.  You could always spend more if you want.  But the P3 is still a great choice for the $$.

The biggest reasons are:

1.  The integrated HD video downlink.

2. The 3 axis gimbal.

3. SDK app support.

If you just have to build something,  why not a fpv racer. 

Others can give you their advise but this is mine.

Edited by Dave Pitman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Robh42 said:

Hello, I am new to the drone world and would love to build my own for some aerial photography.

Hello Robert and welcome to the forum.

My first build used a S500 frame from HobbyKing and I used the APM flight controller but my latest build is a S550 hex frame with the Pixhawk 1 flight controller running Arducopter. I found this had more room to mount a gimbal/camera underneath than the S500 frame. Also as it has 6 motors there is some built in reduncey as if one fails it still flies unlike a quad which would fall out of the sky. I also replaced the fixed landing gear with retractable landing gear which apart from it getting out of the camera view just looks cool. I use a Tarot gimbal for a GoPro and can control the pan and tilt from a pot and slider on my Taranis X9D transmiiter. 


As the gimbal is connected to the Pixhawk flight controller I can also create and execute mission scripts to control its pan and tilt.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on what you hope to accomplish with it and what kind of camera? 

There are a ton of GoPro 2 and 3-axis gimbals.  Thats about all you can carry on an F450.  Generally you can assign control  of yaw and pitch to variable channels on the same transmitter.  You just need to make sure your Tx have enough channels.  On a single controller you probably won't be able to control the camera.  Our most popular setup is a GH4 or Sony A7rII on a Gremsy H3.  we have 1080P downlink, we can control all aspects of the camera [zoom, trigger, exposure, etc] and all aspects of the gimbal [pan, tilt and roll] You need an additional Tx because just the gimbal and camera use 12 channels.  

If you want to see what your shooting then you'll also need a video Tx and Rx   Also if your goal is Photography and cinematography then you don't need any integration with the flight controller.  

This setup has real benefits:

  1.  It can be used on any drone, jib, handheld car mount etc., without any additional setup of calibration.  This really increases productivity and utilization.  I use this setup more off the drone than on.  Every time I use it I make money.
  2. You get to use the camera that YOU choose.  Most aerial shoots require different lenses for a specific FOV or standoff because it isn't safe to get the drone close to the talent.     
  3. Most of our business is repeat business and we aren't cheap.  If you want people to value your service and footage then use professional equipment.

It depends on what you want to do, how much you want to spend.  If your hoping to get paid for aerial footage then your going to have to figure out how to differentiate your services, if your doing this for a hobby then you need to decide how much money your willing to spend/lose.  The setup we use, depending on camera, costs approximately $4000.  I would never fly that on a drone with Chinese motors and components which means the drone costs more too.

If you just want to focus on composition and post video on Youtube then get a MAVIC or P4 and you can wax them all winter...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.