solentlife
A few yrs ago - a California guy hit on the idea of a robot camera system ... something that I think many others have imagined.
There were systems already out there - but were based on triangulation patterns of responders set out around the area. Great for events in a limited area such as Pony Gymkhana's ... but no good for serious distances.

He came up with Soloshot 1 and then 2 - which basically were a motorised base that you could slot your video camera onto. The base then 'talked' bi-directionally to a TAG that was worn by the target.

It was a brilliant concept but plagued with the start up sequencing and limited number of cameras suitable. People paying out serious money for a unit were a little peeved to have to then spend serious money on camera. Plus the lengthy start up routine .. 

In 2014 - 15 - the Soloshot 3 was announced and a big discount offered to pre-purchasers ..  this was to be a total setup including camera (25x or 65x zoom choice). The sales video showed the test machine performing capture that we could only marvel at. Auto zoom, auto track, it was all there as well as stills if you wanted.
I fell for it like many others and it soon became apparent that Soloshot were giving discount to collect funds to pay for production. We were promised by spring that we would receive our units. Spring came ... summer eased into winter ... int spring ... into summer ... into winter ... 
It was nearly 3 years before finally I was sent my confirmation that it was going to be shipped. About $700 and 3years wait ... 

I had the 25x zoom version which to be honest I question the 25 !! I have 12x zoom that is better. But that's it. 

I then joined the unhappy band of owners who had waited so long and the units did not perform anything like the demo version. Tracking was abysmal ... any slight breeze that nudged the base caused it to rest and re-calibrate. Battery life was nothing like enough.

It took multiple updates after scores of complaints to get anything workable.

Within the year - my battery failed. Who would seal in a LiIon that you could not service ? After strong words with them - they sent me a complete new set. Not much better than the previous apart from battery of course.
Then I found out that they were desperately trying to clear stock !! Sellinbg the 25 system at under $400 !! I complained based on I paid much more than that WITH pre-order discount. Got a really nonsensical reply.

My second unit is now starting to show battery decline ... 

OK - how does it work ?

The base unit and tag both receive GPS data and then Tag relays its position to base unit. The base unit then works out distance .. bearing and height to aim camera and decide zoom etc. User can set parameters as well .. wide / tight / cinematic etc.
Its supposed to also use Contrast Lighting similar to auto focus digi cams to assist with focus etc.
Problem is that horizontal GPS accuracy is 3m at best, vertical is much worse. So the camera is trying to track with errors that as the tag gets closer - become impossible to work with .. 
The speed of the camera pan / tilt also is not fast enough to follow a moderate speed item. only when at great distance - because of angular distance has it any chance.

Unlike for example a DJI Drone and Tablet - you cannot move the base unit while tracking .. it immediately starts re-calibrating. Even a slight nudge or vibration can trigger re-calibration. This loses tracking of Tag .. stops all video recording ... 


I have asked for :

1. Ability to have camera static for any location even indoors - implemented.
2. Remote capability to charge TAG - nothing done so its still only able to charge from base unit.
3. Dynamic positioning of base unit to allow it to be moved during use without re-calibrating - nothing done.
4. Option to buy camera unit or base unit on its own - they refused
5. Service info to affect battery replacement or service instead of sending back to California and then they send to China !! 

My advice to anyone thinking of this system ... SAVE YOUR MONEY !! 
I'll fly anything if I can launch it ! Youtube : solentlifeuk
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DualDesertEagle
Why not do it like me instead and strap a camera to ur forehead or wear a helmet with a camera mounted to it? Doesn't have auto zoom of course but the tracking could hardly be any better:



Quite obviously wearing a fullface helmet for RC flying isn't exactly comfortable on hot days, but a camera on the forehead should give u the same results.
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solentlife
I have GoPro 4 with all the gear and headbands ...

I have Helmetcams designed for bike riders ... 

I have Keycams .. MD80's ... X1 spycam ... Pen Cam .... sunglass spycam

I have loads of them. Basically trying to find best setup.

Three problems with them :

1. I have to keep telling myself to NOT keep looking around !! It makes even me feel a bit ill sometimes when camera is moving about !! 
2. So many times I have knocked the camera so its video'd more sky or ground than model !
3. That little dot in the sky is the model you want to video.

I still use a Hatcam ... to back-up the SS3 just in case it has one of its frequent off-moments.
I'll fly anything if I can launch it ! Youtube : solentlifeuk
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Wildthing
You crappy (being sarcastic) Soloshot videos are better then mine 😃 😃 
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DualDesertEagle
solentlife wrote:
I have GoPro 4 with all the gear and headbands ...

I have Helmetcams designed for bike riders ... 

I have Keycams .. MD80's ... X1 spycam ... Pen Cam .... sunglass spycam

I have loads of them. Basically trying to find best setup.

Three problems with them :

1. I have to keep telling myself to NOT keep looking around !! It makes even me feel a bit ill sometimes when camera is moving about !! 
2. So many times I have knocked the camera so its video'd more sky or ground than model !
3. That little dot in the sky is the model you want to video.

I still use a Hatcam ... to back-up the SS3 just in case it has one of its frequent off-moments.


Simple solutions:

1. Keep ur eyes centered in their sockets and track the model with ur whole head
2. A securely tightened camera mount helps there. My side mount on the helmet is rock solid, and a good head strap should keep the camera welded to ur forehead pretty well, and of course u shouldn't head bang with it or snap to attention with a salute ðŸ˜›
3. There u may have a serious advantage with a system that zooms automatically, simply attach the camera to ur head rather than the auto tracker and only let the whole thing zoom in and out for ya, provided the zooming still works when the camera isn't mounted to the auto tracker.
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solentlife
The camera on the SS3 is a dedicated unit ... you can unplug it - because you can buy a universal adapt mount to fit your own.

#1 ... I do but you get that swing back and forth video framing that even though at the time you think is slow .. when viewed is quite fast.

Soloshot are now developing SS4 ... new model instead of fixing the problems of SS3 ... I think they will lose a lot of their client base for that.
I'll fly anything if I can launch it ! Youtube : solentlifeuk
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DualDesertEagle
solentlife wrote:

Soloshot are now developing SS4 ... new model instead of fixing the problems of SS3 ... I think they will lose a lot of their client base for that.


Well given what u told us I wouldn't spend money on ANY of them even if it was just a barely noticable drop on my bank account. Sounds almost as bad as the story I've heard about Kanoa's wireless bluetooth earbuds, minus the scam they pulled off.
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solentlife
 SS3 works fine as long as subject is at distance and angular velocity is low.

 I know most will understand what I mean by that ... but just in case :

If the model is travelling at AA mph ... at 100m from the camera it traverses XX degrees of arc in YY secs. But at 500m in same YY secs - it traverses same distance but far less degrees of arc for camera to follow.... resulting in a slower pan and camera is able to track better.

angle of arc vs distance.jpg 
I'll fly anything if I can launch it ! Youtube : solentlifeuk
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DualDesertEagle
Well as u can see I had no problem keeping the plane in frame as I did my close pass in the video ðŸ˜Ž

And in this video, shortly after 5:50, I do an even closer pass with my profile BF109 B2 and still manage to keep the plane in view:
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solentlife
Please don't get me wrong ... as I said - I use a hatcam as well ... 

Yes - I get close passes etc. 

Could be better but its a backup to the SS video

I'll fly anything if I can launch it ! Youtube : solentlifeuk
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