Monday, September 13, 2010

Balloon Cam - Better than Google Earth!

Ok, here is a fun project we did on Saturday. What a beautiful day.

By the time we got the starter replaced in the pickup, it was too late to go fishing. So... we hooked a video camera up to some party balloons, tied them to a fishing pole, and had some fun!

First, we tried 3 balloons. Expectations were high!

Here is the simple setup - the camera tied to the balloons, and tape holding the camera up against the fishing line.

This way, tension on the line will help point the camera at us.

The three balloons were not quite bouyant with the weight of the camera.

Bummer! It would rise alittle, but never more than 10-12 feet high.


... we got more balloons!

Six balloons was just exactly "neutral bouyancy". In the sun with hot thermals, the camera would rise.

Any wind, though, and it would drop.

Next time, a DOZEN balloons!

The six balloons did pretty well - several times we got breaks in the small breeze, and they raced up into the sky!

The fishing pole worked well to control and reel in the line.

Besides - any time a fishing pole is involved, it is fun, right?

Here are some of the shots we got - several times the camera was way up there! Almost spooled the reel!

Here we are looking up as traffic whizzes by...

Here is a shot looking down on the front of our place.

This is better than Google Earth! More current, too.

Here is a shot from the extremity of our fishing line. At about this height, the weight of the line was starting to drag down on the balloons.

Here is a shot as the balloon passed over the house and back porch.

The video is great, though very shakey at times as the breeze mixes it up with the balloons.

We need to engineer a setup to keep the camera stable, while pointed back at us.

All in all, this was great fun.
We ran out of memory on our 2GB memory cards too quickly. After lots of fun, we turned the balloons over to the little kids to reel in and play with.
Next time, we have 4 or 5 big weather balloons - we're going to fill those babies up and then we'll have trouble keeping up with the wind!