Saturday, June 27, 2015

Last weekend in Adelaide

This is my last weekend in Adelaide. I will be rather sad to leave this lovely town and great co-workers at RSP, but the life of vfx people is moving around. Oh well.

Early this week, I sold my quadcopter as I decided that I want to learn how to fly a Collective Pitch (aka CP) Heli. Here's a demonstration of the aerobatics as performed by a top tier pilot:

So, I started this very, very fine weekend taking the tram down to the South Terrace, where the South Australian Radio Controlled Helicopters Members were practicing and doing their moves. No pictures as I wanted to be the King Of Non-Obtrusive R/C Helicopter Observation.

I watched several seemingly new members practice their hovering on their big ass (450, 500 sized?) helis, and shortly another member joined the field with what I _guess_ is a 700 sized nitro monster. That beast did amazing moves, and several times I breath caught as a seemingly guaranteed crash was suddenly turned around into a beautiful reversal.

Blessed be the God Emperor of Mankind.

Unfortunately, while in a simple bank, this gigantic heli suddenly fell out of the sky. I was a fair distance away so no idea what happened, but I could see one of the gigantic katana-like rotors had broken in two.

After observing another more relaxed example of helicopter aerobatics, I bid silent farewell to the fine folk with their birds, and moved on to my next destination, Model Flight.

Model Flight is 3 stops away from the South Terrace tram stop, and is chock-filled mostly with helis and aircraft, quadcopters and ground vehicles. I'd actually ordered in a copy of Accurc the previous day and was there to pick it up. I also picked up the cheapest 4 channel r/c transmitter that I could use with it, the Spektrum DX4E.

There are several schools of thought for learning helicopter aerobatics - one, you progress through the main types of r/c helicopters - coaxial, fixed pitch, collective pitch. Some people move from coaxial to collective directly.

Other suggest that if your end goal is to learn aerobatics, it would be better to just learn how to fly a CP from the start, as the throttle control of the CP Heli is very different from that of FP Helis - On fixed pitch, the throttle simply increases the RPMs of the rotor. In the event of a crash, you need to chop the throttle to zero in the hopes of minimizing damage.

On a CP helicopter, the same stick control no longer controls the speed of the motor, but the pitch of the blades. Hence, you can cause the helicopter to not only push air down, but push air upwards as well, a necessity for inverted flight.

Many budget and seemingly awesome helicopters that I was planning to buy (e.g. Blade 120SR, Blade Nano CPX) are sadly showing up as discontinued. While I'm certain parts will be available for years, I'm leery and decided that I will actually pick up a larger CP helicopter, one meant for advanced modellers, the Blade 180CFX.

The whole internet is probably shaking its collective head. But I'll see what happens down the road, it's not fixed in stone yet. Which is why, I decided to spend some moola for Accurc and the transmitter - to get some virtual practice in where crashes only use up electricity and time, not spare parts and time to fix stuff.

I've been reading about various Spektrum transmitters, and decided to just get the cheapest base model for using with Accurc. What's interesting, is that the version I got appears to be slightly different from the one usually seen on the Spektrum website. On their website, the DX4E has a 2 position ACT/AUX switch (as well as watching several youtube videos demonstrating this switch) that gave me a mild confusion about what I actually bought. Later, I found out from the Super Cub S manual that there are actually 2 versions of the DX4E, and I happened to get the version with the 3 way toggle switch for use with various flight modes.

This should be fine for when I try out fixed wing flight. Hopefully this won't be an issue with Accurc.

Speaking of which, as I'm running OSX, I actually cannot run Accurc as it is a windows-only application.


Which means I will be running a virtual machine with vmware fusion, and will need to pick up a windows license tomorrow.


I'll see how that runs and will update here. I also need to download the 1.6gb v1.5 package. How does this software work? Is that usb thing that comes with the package a copy protection dongle of sorts? I still need to get windows installed in the vm, so we'll see.

After dropping all my new toys at home, I left again with my gopro to test out the various protune settings. Evidently, protune actually uses a higher data rate for the videos, giving higher quality. Mmmm.

My tests today were for the color profiles, between "GoPro Color" and "Flat". I recorded several resolutions with those two settings, and will have to spend some time with Davinci Resolve checking out how to grade 'em.

After this, I met some of my co-workers for an hour at Marksman Indoor shooting range, just by Chinatown.

Personally I was like "uh, guns. boring." but I ended up having a really good time there. Good friendly staff made for a great experience.

It also helped that I kicked butt with the various handguns we shot:

Clockwise from top left: 9mm Glock, .45 Glock, .357 Ruger Magnum, .44 Super Redhawk.

I think years of practice with the dslr helps :P

 With the range done, we set of for one of Adelaide's best burger places, Bread and Bone, before ending the day with some desert at Movenpick.

Back home I'm now mostly packed up, and a bit lost before the move. Oh well.

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