Denver Trip Preparations PAGE 212.

June 11, 2006:  I am posting this update on Monday night, June 12th, to show the photos taken over the weekend and provide details about the video tests in the airplane cockpit.  This series of photos were taken on Sunday, June 11th.  This first one shows the final location selected for mounting the video camera on the pilot's side of the panel.  From this location, the camera can be manually panned and tilted as needed to view everthing I can see from my pilot seat.   I even checked it to see that I can turn it around to look at me or my passenger if needed to narrate the flight and have a "talking head" on the video.  Most of what I plan to do is narrate what I am seeing outside during takeoffs, landings, turn around a point or in passing of major landmarks:  St. Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Grand Tetons, Statue of Liberty, etc.
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The old digital camera is not doing too well on focus, but you get the idea of how this thing is mounted.  At this point along the panel, the forward top skin overhang of the panel is curved, and therefore quite STIFF!  At the center of the panel, the skin is too flexible and the camera could vibrate to easily, not to mention the center post would be in the way of some of my intended video shooting angles.  I am not sure if this location would vibrate or not, but the odds are better here for good operation.  A test flight will tell the tale soon enough.  Two AN-3 bolts hold the mount to the overhang.  The aft bolt has two AN3 washers between the channel and the bottom side of the skin.  One AN3 washer is on each bolt on top of the fabricated aluminum upper piece, where a nylok nut holds both bolts secure.
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I lined up the digital camera behind the video camera for this photo.  I have the video camera lined up parallel with the centerline of the fuselage.  My normal view point is about half way between the video camera and the "whiskey" compass.  I have scratched the paint on the panel between the headphone and microphone jacks, again!  Wendell tells me I should get the panel powder coated.   I still have plenty of road sign left, maybe I should cut a new panel and fix some of the layout  issues I have with this one.
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Here is the clamp I made Sunday after a visit to Ace Hardware to find this steel wall-mounting strip for adjustable shelving.  The steel is apparently non-ferrous.  I presume that to be true since I passed it in front of my whiskey compass and the needle never moved.  The ball and socket that is secured to the end of the steel "channel" is from the original mount provided with the video camera.  The aluminum plate with the three holes in it is fabricated from scrap 0.063" 2024-T3 alclad aluminum left over from cutting out my original Van's Aircraft instrument panel.  The hole at the left end of my short piece of channel is the original wall-mounting hole in the steel strip.  The other #10 hole is my choice to be sure that the brace would be about half an inch from my instrument panel, and the hole closest to the ball and socket mount would be behind the rubber edge tubing on the forward top skin of the panel.  The bend in the aluminum bracket with the three holes in it is to assure the fit of the two pieces above and below the tubing.  The ball and socket mount is secured with a 6-32 x 1-inch stainless steel screw, washers, and a nylok nut.  I ground down the end of the short channel nearest the instrument panel in hopes that it would clear the removable panel, but it does not, at this time.  I will need to cut a small notch in the upper edge of my panel to clear this bracket, or remove the bracket whenever I need to get behind the instrument panel.
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I brought all those above pieces home to get them painted with the same flat black paint that is on the top of the instrument panel glare shield.  I took them back to Wendell's Monday evening (June 12th) to install the camera and make a new demo tape with the camera mounted to the top of the panel.  ALL went well with the demo, including the sound from the copilot's headset worn by Wendell.  I will take some time tomorrow to grab a few snapshots from the video and put them on this page.

 June 13, 2006:  Here are some "snapshot" frames from the test video from yesterday's early evening dashboard camera test.
DVC00035.JPG (115331 bytes) The closeup autofocus of the bullet cam seems to be working.   The varifocal lens is zoomed part way for "telephoto" usage, but the interior cabin shots look like they will come out fine.
DVC00037.JPG (127550 bytes) This shot over my left shoulder works fairly well to show the elevator and horizontal stabilizer in a rear view.  This could come in handy on airport departure shots, etc.
DVC00038.JPG (125234 bytes) This shot over the left wing will work nicely when I do a turn around a point near a landmark or other ground point of interest.  I can see that I need to check the leveling of the camera with the horizon, not the upper wing surface when I make this type of video recording.
DVC00039.JPG (118492 bytes) This angle is just in front of the wing leading edge similar to some shots I have taken in the past at places like Belzoni, Mississippi on one of my Texas trips last year.
DVC00040.JPG (121147 bytes) Here is the view angle that will be used for takeoffs and landings and general forward flight video recordings.  I can see that checking the camera focus during preflight setup will be an issue.  I don't want the front access hatch to be the focal point.  Right after I finished these video/audio test recordings, I opened up the camera and reset the varifocal lens on a distant object across the field on the other side of the air strip.  After that, the electronic "zoom" feature looked better.  The photo at the left still shows the setting I made in my living room when I first set up the camera.
DVC00041.JPG (125724 bytes) Here is the view of digital video camcorder that is recording from the dash-mounted bullet camera.  I admit this shot is "staged" to show the equipment as well as the viewpoint from the edge of the dashboard glare shield.
DVC00033.JPG (120289 bytes) Wendell was sitting on the wing watching the video and audio tests with the remote camera and camcorder.
DVC00034.JPG (125658 bytes) Since he was watching, I thought I would put him to work in part of the testing.  This is the first time I tried an audio recording from the copilot's phone jacks and headset.  I also wanted to see how well the audio and video lip-sync worked while using an external video source to the digital camcorder.  Everything worked as advertised in the camcorder manual.
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