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Draganfly SAVS R/C helicopter does aerial photography "on the cheap"

Evan Blass
November 13, 2006
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The main problem with amateur film making is that no one is handing out million dollar checks to fund your latest art house masterpiece, meaning that your choice of shots is basically limited to what you can accomplish with a Handycam and a homemade fig rig. Aerial photography can be especially tricky, as renting a plane, helicopter, or crane to shoot those dramatic establishing shots is prohibitively expensive on a shoe-string budget -- so Draganfly Innovations has come to the rescue with an R/C helicopter for the everyman cinematographer. At $2,500, the company's Stabilized Aerial Video System (SAVS) is still no bargain, but it does give you everything you need for overhead filming in one pre-assembled package: gyroscopically-stabilized copter, anti-vibration video camera, and wireless video receiver from Diversity. Most appealing about this solution is the so-called Thermal Intelligence self-leveling feature, wherein on-board infrared sensors use temperature differences to distinguish the sky from the ground and allow the helicopter to automatically hover without any input from the controller. The 19-ounce Draganfly SAVS is portable enough for almost any application, but the trade-off here is battery life: the relatively tiny lithium-polymer batteries only allow a maximum 15-minute flight.

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