Drone Camera Gimbals, Mounts & Stabilizers - Custom and COTS Gimbals

Developing a Custom Canon 5D Gimbal for a Multirotor Drone

Feature Article by HD Air Studio

HD Air Studio custom drone camera gimbalHD Air Studio has released the following case study detailing the creation of a custom gimbal that allowed a multirotor drone developed by VulcanUAV to carry a Canon 5D DSLR camera.

The client

VulcanUAV specializes in building VTOL multirotor aircraft systems for various applications, including aerial photography, crop monitoring, surveying and lidar, infrastructure inspections and a range of unusual heavy-lift applications.

The project

VulcanUAV has already used HD Air Studio gimbals in a variety of projects for a couple of years now. Initially, these were standard, off-the shelf gimbals suitable for a number of cameras on the market. The first custom gimbal commissioned by Vulcan UAV was a front-mounted two-axis unit designed to carry a G300 gas sensing camera.

More recently, VulcanUAV entrusted HD Air Studio with the project of developing a custom camera stabilizer optimized for a Canon 5D camera, which was to be attached to a custom drone produced in-house by VulcanUAV for Perceptual Robotics’ Dhalion autonomous wind turbine inspection system. VulcanUAV required a ready-to-use-out-of-the-box solution to work seamlessly with their API.

How HD Air Studio undertook the challenge

  • HD Air Studio designed and produced a 2-axis front-mounted gimbal for the Canon 5D that was compatible with the VulcanUAV multirotor drone.
  • A lightweight, rigid construction was crucial to the success of this project in order to deliver perfect image stabilization even with longer focal length lenses.
  • The camera stabilizer was designed in a way which guaranteed unobstructed access to all units and wiring alike.
  • HD Air Studio made sure that VulcanUAV would have convenient access to HDMI and USB connectors without needing to detach the gimbal.
  • The gimbal controller was delivered by HD Air Studio in a dedicated cover to be housed inside the drone by VulcanUAV at a later stage of the project.

A spokesperson from VulcanUAV commented: “The custom gimbal developed by HD Air Studio keeps the camera image perfectly still even with longer focal length lenses. The gimbal offers great resistance in difficult conditions – we mount it to a drone which carries out autonomous inspections of turbine blades and structures both onshore and offshore. The inspection system needs to maintain an image resolution of 3 pixels per millimeter without the need for the aircraft to get too near the turbine blades. At this level of resolution any movement in the camera during the shot will lead to focus issues which cannot be present if the data is to be usable for detailed inspection. The reliability of this camera stabilizer is key to our effective operations.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact