Located only 12 feet away from the rocket, these cameras are up front and personal capturing unbelievable details.
The Pivot Tripod Mount provides another unique perspective. Located only 12 feet away from the rocket, the cameras provide an unusual perspective during loading of the rocket onto the rail, raising the launch tower into place, and even lift off. Then the cameras pitch and follow the rocket as it accelerates into the sky. The GoPro can be manually commanded to record during set up as well as the Nikon can be manually triggered to take pictures. During lift off all cameras are recording.
Since there are three cameras for the Pitch Tripod Mount, the only practical way to build it was to put all the cameras into a box. In order to keep the weight down a custom box was made from plastic. Keeping the weight low reduces the torque necessary to pitch the cameras at the desired rate. The box has a removable cover used to install and remove the cameras. The Nikon is secured with a screw but the action camera are held in place with the plastic in box and the cover. The action cameras housings are not used.
One important factor in construction is to pivot the cameras around the center of gravity. The cameras were placed in the enclosure and the center of gravity for the entire structure was determined. Pitching around the center of gravity also reduces the require torque the motor needed. The axles for the pivots are hollow and the cables used to control the camera pass through the cables. The axles are supported with bearings in the frame. One axle is attached to the drive gear motor and the other to the position potentiometer.
To determine where the center of gravity is located, the completed enclosure with cameras installed was hung between two pins from one corner. Using a lightweight string and weight as a plumb bob, a mark was made on the opposite corner. Repeating this process from another corner, the intersection of the two line determines the center of gravity.
Inside the enclosure is a circuit board used to interface the cameras with Camera Controller. There is also a power cable for the Nikon camera as well as the audio cable for the GoPro camera.
The GoPro camera has the audio feed in from the Tascam so the sound from the Shotgun Microphones that capture the teams discussions prior to launch are automatically recorded on the video camera. If higher quality audio is desired, the audio recording made with the Tascam can be used by syncing with the video recording during post production.