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Old 06-01-2019, 09:09   #1
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Camera on a pig stick

I would like to start out by saying that I've never hit a bridge.


But bridges, well, we've got 'em. Over rivers. The rivers go up and down. Some of the bridges go up and down. Most of all this is charted. Most of it is correct most of the time. Most of the time, when the bridge tender raises the bridge, they raise it high enough. But I've had some very close calls involving uncharted obstructions, and I've had some trips that have been unnecessarily delayed until low water because of unduly pessimistic published clearances.


My next boat is probably going to have a taller mast, which makes matters worse.

Then there's powerlines. Their height changes from hour to hour, because they get longer when they get hot, and they get hot under load.


I want to put a video camera at the top of the mast. I don't want to install it permanently, because of the hassle involved in wiring and mounting it, and the fact that cameras kept outdoors have a short life. I want to put a wireless, battery powered camera, on a pig stick so I can run it up a halyard when I need it.


An alternative I'm considering is a PoE camera on a pig stick, which would then be wired, because sometimes that's less work than making sure batteries are charged and the wifi is paired and so on.



I've done some searching but haven't come up with any prior art.


Advice welcome on rigging, and on camera selection.


I've experimented with a cheap action cam I have but it doesn't have sufficient range or picture quality over the wireless link.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:12   #2
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Re: Camera on a pig stick

Have you considered using a drone? I don't own one, but if it showed elevation or height, it seems it would be easy to measure the mast, and bridge height. Not to mention the cool factor.

How are you going to know if the hoisted camera is level?
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:57   #3
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Re: Camera on a pig stick

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCGunDude View Post
How are you going to know if the hoisted camera is level?
It doesn't have to be level as long as you can tell which way is up. Watch the angle of the potential obstruction as you approach. It's just like watching the bearing to another boat as you approach each other, only sideways. Object moves up (relatively)? You have clearance. Moves down? Collision.

We hoisted a GoPro up the mast, attached to a batten lashed to a halyard, for some spinnaker-run shots. This was before there were WiFi GoPros.
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Old 07-01-2019, 13:59   #4
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Re: Camera on a pig stick

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCGunDude View Post
Have you considered using a drone? I don't own one, but if it showed elevation or height, it seems it would be easy to measure the mast, and bridge height. Not to mention the cool factor.

I have.


In general the altitude data from the drone isn't accurate enough to be useful, and even if it were, it would not tell me the relative distance from the water. It is not uncommon for me to be within a couple of feet of the published limit, and I would like to be able to get closer, safely.


Aside from that, launching and retrieving a drone from a boat is no small thing.


Quote:


How are you going to know if the hoisted camera is level?

By looking at the horizon. As long as the center of the camera's lens is higher than the top of the mast, objects above the horizon will clear the mast, and objects below the horizon will not. As others mentioned upthread, objects will move away from the horizon as you approach them unless they are going to hit the camera. If they move up, you're good, if they more down, you're going to hit them.
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