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Discussion Starter #1
http://www.ken-lab.com/html/tips_and_tricks.html

Being a tad familiar with boats and shooting from them, I have looked at many ways to improve the art and science of firing from a vessel on the water, especially at a moving target.

Here is a piece of gear I learned about from a photographer that takes pictures from a low flying, custom airplane as his specialty.

It's a camera mounted, powered gyroscopic stabilizer and they work EXTREMELY well for taking crystal clear photo stills while moving at high speeds and odd angles.

Now, I've been thinking, why not mount one of these under a rifle.



Tips and Tricks for shooting with a camera-mounted gyroscope

By Donal Philby

The most important tool for good aerials is the gyro stabilizer made by Kenyon Laboratories. The small KS4 is about $2,400 for gyro, battery and inverter. The battery lasts about 2 hours. (When I shoot on the photo boat, I typically tie into the boat's 12-volt circuit and let it run all day. A 28-volt inverter is also available for aircraft.) The larger Ks6 costs another $1, 500, and can be rented for about $50 per day with a large deposit or insurance confirmation.<font color=red>*</font> Drop one, and face a $450 repair. I should know. I have.<font color=red>*</font> The KS4 is fine for 35mm or even 6x7. I own two; one as backup. But plan to make a bracket to hold both, each at 45° from horizontal. Brackets reportedly enhance stability and help keep the camera level.

Remember that the longer length of the gyro goes the same way as the length of the lens; don't put the gyro parallel to the long axis, of the camera body.

With the gyro, I can shoot boats from a chopper at 1/125' and consistently get sharp photographs and motion-blurred water.<font color=red>*</font> This is magical when shooting backlit; the sparkles on the boat finish become streaks;. When shooting from a chase boat, I usually shoot at 1/60. Recently I shot down to 1/15 at 40 mph, and got tack-sharp boats and blur to the horizon. Beautiful. From the water, the key is how much chop (small waves) is out. Chop makes the boat go up and down. If the boat is moving up and down a lot, I raise my shutter speed to 1/125). (You pray for smooth water for power boats.)

Shooting scenics such as cityscapes, you can get down to 1/15 and even lower (with less consistency) to do twilight shots of distant objects.

A hidden benefit of the gyro is that it makes it easier to frame and focus since you eliminate much of the micro movements. With boats, I can literally have bow and stern touch each side of the frame and hold it steady--all at high speed. This technique really helps when shooting sailboats on open sea with long lenses, although you still might shoot at 1/500. I have successfully used a 300mm lens with gyro from a fixed-wing airplane and shot down to 1/125. (I also have a great shot of a baseball pitcher, with hitter poised and the white ball half way to home plate that I shot from a Cessna.)

Shooting discipline

The key to using a gyro is to learn to let your arms relax while holding the device so you move around it. Anyone who has performed Tai-chi push hands will know the skill. It takes a lot of strength to spend hours with a gyro/camera combo that weighs 6-8 pounds. My arms and shoulders usually ache after because of the noise, movement and restricted space (more so in a fixed-wing aircraft), you need things that handle easily. I found, for instance, that it's faster to change film with a non-automatic camera because the wind keeps whipping the end of the leader out of place before you can get the camera back closed. I find that the M2 removable spool works best. Also, if you change bodies, get quick-release plates and a quick-release mechanism for the gyro.<font color=red>*</font> Remember to constantly check your camera setting. You are assaulted by so much noise and movement that your usual senses are overwhelmed. I instruct I disagreeistant to constantly ask me about the camera settings-ASA, shutter, aperture, filter, etc. I know if I do a circle around a boat, I can set aperture for direct daylight; as we circle to the back, I open up

11 /2 stops in stages. You can do this on the fly, going through a roll in 30 seconds, if you keep your wits about you.

I use auto exposure only for things that don't matter much.<font color=red>*</font> Be careful with the incident meter, though, because reading daylight coming through the blades of a chopper will lead to overexposure. I usually meter from the ground and work around that.

When shooting air-to-air, a fast shutter speed can stop the propeller and make the plane look motionless. I use 1/125 for both Cessnas and choppers. How much blur you get depends, of course, on the speed of the blades, so bracket if that's important.<font color=red>*</font> I find that 1/125 works well as a middle-ground shutter speed. The blades will disappear if your shutter speed is any slower than that.

Air sickness is also a possibility. I have been airsick once. We were in a Cessna flying circles over the local stadium and aircraft were stacked eight deep (news and banner tows). It was windy and we were bounced and thrown around unmercifully. I was shooting a lot with the 300mm, which is disorienting, and a hamburger lunch caught up with me. I yelled at the pilot, a friend, for a bag. He got a stricken look on his face, sadly shaking his head. When I knew that it was inevitable, I quickly emptied the contents of the LowePro bag in the back seat, used it, zipped up the lid and went back to work. Bring a waterproof bag, or make sure they are aboard.

San Diego photographer Donal Philby is a seasoned veteran when it comes to shooting commercial photography from boat, airplanes and helicopters.
 

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awesome concept, mostrov, but i'm thinkin' on the ballistics end,
range,leade of moving target[both yours and theirs] trajectory [o.k, back to range] i don't see it working any better,than a scoped.308 battle rifle with a staggered tracer mix, speed of employment comes to mind first.

but i like your thinking, and maybe i'm missing something.



:wavey:
 

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Three reasons that I can think of

1) the whole point of that unit is to stabilize the camera, IE keep it from moving. As long as your target doesn't move your ok, but it'd be hell to try and swing a rifle with a gyro running under it.

2) Power, you have to carry a battery pack or hook it into external power.

3) Spin up. You have to turn the unit on and wait for the gyros to come to speed, "The units take 5 to 7 minutes to get to full operating RPM"
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK, viable concerns. I'll address your points from my perspective on it.

Piemaster said:
1) the whole point of that unit is to stabilize the camera, IE keep it from moving. As long as your target doesn't move your ok, but it'd be hell to try and swing a rifle with a gyro running under it.
Movement is relative. The gyro keeps it steady via relative movement. These allow accurate camera stills to be taken at relative speed differences in excess of 100mph.

My concern in on a marine vessel shooting at distance. Things move slower on the water, especially out on the ocean. If they are close enough that you need to radically change your direction of aim then you are close enough not to need the extra stabilization.

Piemaster said:
2) Power, you have to carry a battery pack or hook it into external power.
On a vehicle or a boat this not a big problem.

Piemaster said:
3) Spin up. You have to turn the unit on and wait for the gyros to come to speed, "The units take 5 to 7 minutes to get to full operating RPM"
In a chase on open water, the situation for which I'm primarily concerned about for using this piece of gear, you can often see them coming, either visually or on radar, from a ways off and you'll probably have time to power up.

If you don't have time to power up, well, then you won't need it because of the distance.
 

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From the perspective of using a gyro stabilized gun on a boat/vessel/ship I think they would be great on a mounted gun.

Barrett 82 anyone?

:madeuce:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking more along the lines of a 6.5mm or .308 hunting rifle or a semi-auto like an M-14 pattern weapon.
 

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Man, I don't know. Might be trying to make an apple be an orange comparing the uses of this gyroscopic technology with a camera and a gun.

With a camera, the rule of thumb is that you want to keep the shutter speed at least the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens you are using. In other words, if you are using a 60mm lens, you want the shutter speed to be no slower then 1/60th of a second. A 200mm lens, you need the shutter speed to be 1/200th of a second. What the gyroscope does is to provide more stability for the camera so slower shutter speeds can be used without noticeable blur of the image. Generally these photgraphs are not trying to get pinpoint accuracy on a particular target. The photgrapher is just trying to get a PHOTO that is unblurred. Cropping later on can center an image that is not exactly dead on center in the frame.

With a gun, that's a whole different ball of wax. You are trying to keep the cross hairs or fixed sights pinpointed on a particular point at a distance from you. While a gyroscope may keep the gun steadier (meaning less rotational movement around it's axis.), it can't negate gravity, which is what you will need to fight against. Swells and waves will move you up and down relative to the target as well as rolling depending on how the waves hit the vessel you are on. A gyroscope may help to reduce twisting of the rifle in your hands but it will do nothing at all about the up and down motion as well as the lateral, backward and forward motions of YOU and the gun.

That's my opinion, subject to new input, anyway. If someone wants to sink $2400 into an experiment, heck I would love to hear about the results. I love all kinds of gadgets and was fascinated by gyroscopes as a kid. And of course, as a kid I always thought there HAD to be a way to make a gyroscope defy gravity somehow.... :)

Interesting thought, though......
 

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Fascinating post and article. Probably would work well in a marine environment.

RIKA
 

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Rich Z said:
I love all kinds of gadgets and was fascinated by gyroscopes as a kid. And of course, as a kid I always thought there HAD to be a way to make a gyroscope defy gravity somehow.... :)

Interesting thought, though......
Rich, check this out. You weren't too far off the mark :)

http://www.keelynet.com/gravity/gyroag.htm
 

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Is it quiet?
Will it respond well enough to give quickly recoverd sight picture to recoil "g's", or will recoil-induced lateral acceleration bind the spinning gyro, itself, inducing drag or catastrophic deceleration?
SatCong
 

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Kent said:
Rich, check this out. You weren't too far off the mark :)

http://www.keelynet.com/gravity/gyroag.htm
Damn.... interesting..... I always thought that a group of gyroscopes aligned in such a way that any movement in any direction would be resisted would be the key. Kind of using other gyroscopes as a fulcrum against another.

Yeah, I had some off the wall thoughts as a kid. I was the mad scientist of the neighborhood. Showed other kids how to make rockets using rolled newspaper and match stick heads... :dgrin: :dgrin:
 

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Gyroscopes have been tried on guns several times before. The primary problems are weight and the need for a power source to run the gyro. Also, don't forget that the gyroscope will turn muzzle rise into a left or right motion.

In the end, you would be about as well off to hang the equivalent weight from the muzzle of the gun.
 

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For a vessel, you might be better off building a gyroscopically stablized platform with a shooting chair on it. You'd be able to swing and follow through from a stabilized point of reference, might actually be more efficient than fighting a stabilized rifle.

This makes you a part of the stabilized system and less likely to work against it's operation.

Just a thought...

:devil:
 
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