Hello from Berlin

Greetings to all.

Just starting as I really think KAP would be brilliant to help with an archaeological survey project I am running in November.
Hoping to get some advice and help on the best 'crash course' way to get started, especially as I am heading into a very remote area where anything I forget or break is likely to bring things to a premature end.


  • Welcome Julian .

    I am glad that KAP has caught your eye. Your timing however, for the upcoming project is likely a bit over-ambitious.
    I by no means mean to discourage you, but I must point out that many of us have been
    KAPing for years, and we still learn and bungle things !

    If you have background in kite flying, photography, or both, you will have a bit of an
    advantage.... but you still are allowing virtually no time for a learning process.

    I think you might do well to look at John Wells' work, some of which you can see on this forum. He has, among other things, done extensive work with students, doing basic
    KAP with rudimentary cameras hung from kites by " selfie-sticks".

    Every year I return to the same place, Cape Cod, to re-shoot prior targets. What we
    do with kites and rigs seems to change all the time. One thing, for me, that does not
    seem to change: I just can't seem to pack "everything I need ". Virtually every trip I
    take includes last minute orders from James Gentles in Scotland, and or Brooxes
    in California. Needs and omissions are always changing....

    I only offer these cautions in the hope that if it does not all come together for
    perfect KAP on this project, you will keep on pushing and be able to use it
    in future outings.

    Bon chance !

    Washington, Massachusetts USA

  • Thanks Paul

    I have flown kites before, but not normally with anything but myself attached and do have quite a bit of photographic experience so hopefully things will not be too ambitious. Planning on keeping things as simple as possible.

    Still I am really looking forward to getting into KAPing and plan to use it a lot more, once i get the hang of things.

  • Hi Julian

    I agree with Paul that you've set yourself an ambitious target, but if you can simplify the task things may work out. By simplify I mean don't try to control the camera as well as the kite. For a newcomer to KAP looking after both camera and kite can prove challenging.

    You will need a rig of some sort to hold the camera, but if you can live with the camera pointing straight down you, or are prepared to bring the rig down in order to change the direction the camera is pointing then you won't need tilt and pan servos. And if you use a camera with a built-in intervalometer (taking photos every few seconds) then you won't need remote control of the shutter. A Canon camera that's supported by CHDK will give you this capability (and let you run a script that automatically adjusts exposure, ISO etc for optimal photos).

    BrooxesBasic KAP Kit contains the parts you need to build a simple rig for most point-and-shoot cameras.

    You will need a stable single-line kite of course, and maybe more than one if where you are going has variable winds.
  • Thanks Dave

    I agree. The idea is to use a Canon G12, which I believe is supported by CHDK. Going to have to take a crash course in scripting mind you. Failing that I believe the Canon has an interalometer, which should do just as well. I had seen the Brooxes kit which seemed to be best, and probably a bit more forgiving than some of the fibreglass or plastic alternatives.

    The kites I have been recommended are the HQ KAP Foil, less to break! But still trying to figure out whether to get a 1.6 and a 3.0 or a 3.0 and a 5.0 Foil. Any pointers?

  • The G12 is supported by CHDK but I'd advise using cards of 4Gb or less. It's an old camera, so larger cards require two partitions, a small FAT16 one holding CHDK and the rest formatted as FAT32 for scripts and photos. Not impossible, but it's an added complication.

    No need to write any scripts, just download and install WaterWingz' KAP_UAV.lua script.
  • Julian-
    Note that foils, and other " soft " ( not-sparred ) kites can have a tendency to collapse while aloft, if the wind varies
    greatly during flight. They "sometimes" recover and continue to fly without incident. The winds you have on-site
    may or may not make that a concern.
    Regardless, if possible it is a good idea to have some diversity if possible .... a kite for greater winds, and another
    for lesser winds.
    Will you need a solar charger to keep your batteries up ?
  • Thanks for the info Dave, makes life a bit easier. I was hoping to use as large a card as possible as in some areas I am guessing the kite would be up for awhile. Having partitioned a HD I don't think it should present too much of a problem as I imagine the process is the same.,

    Paul, I prefer the foils as I worry that a 'sparred' kite hitting the ground would, unless carrying several spare spars, end in misery. However, a guess a good compromise would be one of each, but then the question spar high or low winds? or sparless high or low winds?

    As for batteries we will be having a generator, for all electrical gear and hopefully be able to get to 'civilization' once in awhile.
  • Julian - installing CHDK on a dual partition card is quite tricky (considerably more so than partitioning a HD) but luckily there are tools to help. My own STICK utility will do the job, but if you are a Windows user I'd suggest using Dmitry Scechtman's CHIMP utility.

    Unless you are using the latest Windows 10, two partitions are a pain under Windows as Explorer will only show the active partition. The active partition has to be the small FAT16 one for CHDK to boot when the card is in the camera, but you need to make the FAT32 one active if you want to copy photos from card to computer. Win10 does now let you see both, as does Linux and OSX. For earlier Windows you need something like my WASP utility to do the switching.

    I suggest you install CHDK on a card or two and play with it. You can ignore almost all the features except how install that KAP_UAV.lua script and set it going.
  • Julian ,

    Welcome to the KAP forum.

    Berlin is one of my favorite places to fly!

    Per CHDK, great utility. I have used the dual partition with good success. Supports my KAP workflow with multiple long KAP flights over the course of a day.

    I have used the CHDK scripts with both my Canon G9 and S100 cameras.

    The KAP_UAV scripts should work fine.

    Simpler CHDK KAP scripts can be found here.

  • Thanks for all your help.

    Going to have to wait to install the CHDK as I am away at the moment. But will definitely get back to you if I run into any problems, (hopefully not).


  • Wow

    Thanks Dave. I managed with a couple of not insurmountable problems to get the SD cards partitioned using CHIMP. Not exactly straightforward but once I got the idea it all worked out.

    ACID is useful to get to know which firmware you are using.

    The CHDK installation was a bit tricky, but I eventually got it to work, then downloaded your script. Will have a play with the settings a bit later. At the moment I am glad that it finally works in all three of the G12s I am using. Thankfully two had the same firmware.

    Not sure what simpler scripts Windwatcher was mentioning, but at the moment happy to have something that works.

    Thanks again

  • edited February 2018
    Many thanks to everyone for your help.

    Had a very successful trip. Just sorting through some of the images you can see on my Flicker account

  • edited February 2018
    Wow, I love that first one!

    Just a tip, you can get that pic sharper by fixing the chromatic aberration.
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