GoPro Fusion Questions

6 Replies

GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by Doug Wint on Nov 27, 2018 5:48 am

So, I'm thinking of purchasing a GoPro Fusion (360° camera) and I'd like to do some filming from the wing of my Skyhawk trainer. Has anyone ever done this before? I'm also wondering how I can include cockpit audio through that camera remotely (if that's even possible). Does the GoPro Suction Cup mount work with the Fusion and will it work on the underside of the wing?

Re: GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 27, 2018 8:07 am

There are a lot of things to consider before sticking something on your wing, including potential aerodynamic changes, properly securing it so it doesn't come off and whack the tail, wires and cables running around, etc.  Here's a place to start learning about what to consider:

Re: GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by David Hirschman on Nov 27, 2018 9:43 am

Lots of pilots are recording their flights with 360 and POV cameras -- and some of the results are quite impressive. But don't use a suction cup on the outside of the airplane. When you climb the air under the suction cup will expand until the suction cup (and your camera) falls off. Try the hard strut mounts produced by FlightFlix or NFlight. I've used both and they're excellent products designed and built by aviation pros.


Re: GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by Michael Walpole on Nov 27, 2018 2:45 pm

I've looked at a 360 camera off and on and I ended up getting GoPro 3+.  I use a suction mount inside the aircraft and I have a cable that ties into the intercom to get all the voice and radio comms.  I use it a lot when I do Young Eagle flights to record the kids.  I have a lot of flights on my You Tube channel.

The problem you'll have with a 360 camera if you want to record voice is you'll need a separate recording device and a way to mix the audio from that device back in later.  I'm sure there are how to pages out there with the equipment you need to mix voice and video for a 360 camera.  I just didn't do it because I am cheap and I'd rather use the money on flying.  I might consider doing it in the future.
Mike W

Canon XL2 professional videocamera

Posted by Brennan Callan on Nov 27, 2018 7:19 pm

Hi everyone,
when I was taking flying lessons in two different Evektor Sportstars, I would use a traditional tripod and a broadcast quality Canon XL2 with the standard 20x lens, but it had an additional wide-angle lens on top of that too.  This worked out well as it allowed me to see the instrument panel and outside of the aircraft.  This was 2010-2013.  While GoPro (the original) was in my collection, back then, they only had an 8GB card or something small that would only capture about 15 minutes of the flight training.  The Canon XL2 used 90-minute Mini-DV tapes.

The original GoPro had a tiny screen and it was rather difficult to read it.  That unit used AAA batteries and it might turn off unexpectantly too.  I just could not count on it to operate.  Eventually, 32GB cards were available sale and while the first GoPro was invented before the 32 GB cards, I could get a much larger running time out of them.  Larger memory cards would not be recognized by the first GoPro. 

The last couple of years, I just cannot get the GoPro to work with any reliability and I have found it more frustrating than helpful.  When I took flight lessons in the Champ and Cub (1940s) planes, the GoPro was helpful to use because there was no room for the Canon XL2 or the tripod.

I have used the Canon XL2 videocamera in many other aircraft:
1. C-172
2. Hatz CB-1
3. WACO 1993 replica of the 1935 biplane:
4. Challenger II (ultralight)
5. PA-25
6. Evektor Sportstar (glass and analog planes)
7. Various commercial jets and prop planes.
8. Other planes, trains, vessels, canoes, cars, trucks, and vehicles.

In the 1980s, I was using a Super 8 film camera to film with the 100th Division Army National Guard and with the Kentucky Air National Guard as well as the Air Force Junior ROTC.  It is nice to have the newer/smaller technology.

Aerial Videographer

Re: GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by Doug Wint on Dec 4, 2018 5:54 am

Thanks all for the replies. After posting, I never gave thought to the suction cup not working outside of the plane due to the changing pressure (I'm a new pilot and new at video as well). I thought the 360 camera could record audio but I guess not. It seems that the main purpose of that camera is for exterior shots. That said, I think I'll go with the Hero 6 or 7 for interior filming for now and once I get accustomed to editing, maybe add the 360 outside with a proper screw-in mount.

Re: GoPro Fusion Questions

Posted by Brennan Callan on Dec 4, 2018 4:20 pm

Hi Doug, et al.,
many people use multiple camera systems and when you use a non-linear editing system to "splice" those various videocamera feeds, then you can use the sound as part of your primary audio-track and you are then just using some of the video (occasionally) from the 360 camera.  Another option is that you might cut the video editing screen to show the 360 footage across the lower-half of the editing window and then use the upper portion to show two other cameras.

There are many editing options.  The TV show called "24" used to use the method I mentioned above and it became part of their trademark method of dealing with the complexities of their show/script.

Therefore, not having sound from an external camera is just fine as you would just have a horrible gusting sound.

As you look at building out your video equipment, there are thrifty and expensive options, but you must ensure that none of them become a distraction to you as a student or licensed pilot.  It is too easy to become task-saturated in general aviation, but attempting to do film production means you are not focused on aviating.  That means your video might just capture your crash and death.  Have an automated system you use to start recording before you taxi and it should operate 100% without you playing with it during the flight.  Either you captured something or not, but just move on.

If you want to be recording, you can also purchase a DAT RECORDER (sold/made by many companies), and these are digital audio track recorders.  When you safely get home to process your other video, you would import the video files and organize them onto your harddrive; then do the same for the audio files if you have to use a separate DAT recorder.  Once on the drive, you can import them into the new video you are creating and the audio files are placed onto your audio "timeline" and you can move them from side to side or trim them to match the video.  See the instructions for your video editing system.

When producing professional videos, there are several elements you can and should include that make the film more meaningful for you and your audience in the future:

Elements for a completed movie
  1. Opening logo(s)
  2. Title
  3. 3. A Film By (you)
  4. In Association with...(other groups/flying clubs)
  5. Memorial Dedication to ?
  6. Musical Composer
  7. Executive Producer(s)
  8. Major Actors
  9. Actual film
  10. End Credits
  11. Executive Producer(s)
  12. Producers
  13. Cinematographer
  14. Editor
  15. Sound
  16. Graphic Artist
  17. Musical Composer
  18. In Association with...
  19. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, year and XYZ, Inc.  (This legally helps to preserve your intellectual property rights).
  20. Memorial Photo of ???
For aviation videos, it helps your audience to know WHERE you are filming; the type of plane; the other types of "who, what, where, when, how, why, and how much" information.  Being able to have this content along with your films will help the future audience, participants, friends/family to recall the trips/videos much better.

NEVER use music that you do not have express (written) permission to use.  There are "stock music sites" that welcome to use their music and they tend to require that you just give them typewritten credits (in the end credits), and maybe that you include a link to them.  It is helpful to have a "depiction release form" from anyone participating in the making of your film.  A wonderful book (legal treatise) is Attorney Mark Litwak's "Contracts For The Film & TV Industry, 3rd. Edition."

When you shoot personal videos, but then place them online to share, and if your channel is "monitized," the problem is that it becomes more complicated in the eyes of the FAA.  There are many who feel it is a broad leap to consider your personal aviation travel-log video as an aspect of "commercial aviation."  That is a topic too long for this note.

Doug, et al., nothing in this note is to be construed as "legal advice" as I am not an attorney and I do not play one on TV.
Best wishes,