Sometimes a product hits the market that exceeds the expectations of consumers and retailers alike - a supreme example is the HD Hero from GoPro.
Recently (6/5/2010), a group of Engineers and Designers from San Francisco launched a balloon into the sky near Davenport, California, decked out with a couple of GoPro HD Hero cameras and a Canon Power Shot. Positioning one camera pointing downward and one pointing at an upward angle they were able to capture the balloon and the horizon at the same time, while the Power Shot was programmed to take photos and videos at pre-defined intervals with CHDK firmware - these shots are highlighted at the end of the video.
The balloon soared up into the atmosphere to an altitude of 80,000 feet, where it burst and deployed a parachute, allowing the footage and equipment to safely drift back to Earth, reaching a peak speed of 50mph. The use of a Shadowbox provided all GPS, pressure, accelerometer, and temperature data, while the cameras and tracking hardware were contained within a disposable styrofoam cooler to ensure thermal protection at the high altitude as well as providing a softer landing. Upon impact in Crows Landing, 70 miles from the original launch site, the cooler had no visible cracks and the GoPro’s continued to record for another 2-3 hours, until their batteries died. The payload was tracked with a SPOT satellite personal tracker, and with no damage to any of the components used in acquiring the payload, it can and will be reused for the next flight.
This incredible experiment truly shows the HD Hero’s ability to hold it’s ground in rough and tumble situations as a truly a versatile and adaptable point of view camera. The project successfully yielded a collection of stunning stills and video that have been carefully edited to produce this high quality compilation of their efforts.
The group is planning another launch soon, with goals to exceed 100,000 feet in altitude - with increased attempts in camera recording stability. We look forward to seeing it and sharing it with you!
We would like to thank Kevin Macko and everyone else who was involved in the production of this video for allowing us to post it and share it.
If you have any questions or comments, post them below!