Flying with a head tracking FPV gimbal allows backwards flight while maintaining framing on a subject. However, it can be risky to fly backwards for a long distance or through obstacles, a visual observer can help confirm safe trajectory, but I wanted to see if a ‘Cheater Quad’ setup could help solve this problem.
For those unfamiliar a ‘Cheater Quad’ has at least two cameras which can be switched to while simultaneously switching controls so that you can fly normally from each of the cameras.
This is a very useful tool allowing greater creative options, that has been left to waste as most pilots switched from analog to digital video. There’s no ‘camera switching’ options for digital video yet, and presumably it will be a long time until there is a digital option, thankfully I still prefer and primarily fly analog (for many reasons that I won’t get into, but one of which is that you ‘vote’ on which companies you want to succeed or fail in FPV with every dollar you spend). The usefulness of a ‘cheater quad’ setup when using a FPV gimbal is basically the same as a fixed angle, however there is even greater freedom when combined with the gimbal.
I have it setup so that I still have normal (non-reversed) control of the gimbal via head tracking even when using the rear facing camera, which I was pleased to say was actually very intuitive, despite the relationship between the drone’s pitch and the gimbal’s movements reversing, it wasn’t difficult to remember which way I needed to move the gimbal to do coordinated movements and when I switched back to the FPV gimbal camera it was always pointing roughly where I expected it to be.
I am publishing this article to share with the community, but this is only the beginning of my progression with the ‘Cheater Quad + FPV Gimbal’, I will be continuing to practice and push my creativity with it and will be converting other gimbal drones to have it as well.
I want to finish by saying that I have a vision for the ‘Ultimate Filmmaking Tool’, that I believe is only possible via FPV and via the pilot having dynamic control of camera angle (aka using a FPV gimbal). I also believe that while there will always be certain shots that dual-op (dual operator) setups can capture better than single-op, the vast majority of shots that a producer would actually want are best captured via single-op where the pilot can be aware of exactly how his movements will affect the shot and be able to coordinate gimbal and drone movement. A ‘cheater quad’ setup can allow single-op to capture the shots the dual-op excels in, particularly if the ‘cheater quad’ has more than just front and rear facing cameras, what if it had left and right facing cameras as well…? Happy flying!