I working out the details on how to view and record downlinked video to a laptop. I went with the video system from Range Video and I purchased an audio/video-to-usb converter dongle. While I am able to view a video image via Skype as if this were a web cam, the input is not recognized by other software I use to record video from a video camera.
Can anyone recommend a good piece of software to view and record this video stream? I have not yet installed any of the DIY Drones software, such as Mission Planner, GCS or OSD. Do any of those include a viewer for downlinked video?
Thanks Cisco. I'll give it a try.
I have another, related, hardware question. I had trouble picking out a video capture device and went with an unknown brand. It worked OK at first, but not at all after I updated the drivers. It went to black and white and nothing I do fixes it. It's going back. Any recommendations on a video capture device for a laptop, i.e. portability, no need for external power? I was looking at one of the Dazzle devices. At least it's a name that's been around, but the reviews are pretty bad.
P.S. (edit) -- My desktop is Windows 7, one laptop I tried this on is Windows XP and the laptop I'll use in the field could very well be Vista. It broke on the Win 7 PC and never did work under XP, yet it claimed to have drivers for all three OSs. I guess what I'm saying is I'm looking for a quality product.
Paul, Hi there i scanned through this page http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/Mission and found this "Yes, the Mission Planner can overlay the data on your video feed. Just check the Configuration page of the Mission Planner to set up the video. You can also double-click on the HUD and it will pop out as a separate window that you make as big as you want (or display on another monitor)" - by Chris Anderson himself -
As for the dazzle devices, i've used one before, they generally are cheap and cheerful, but will do the job. You basically need to digitise that video feed from your RX unit and the dazzle will do the job, id say I reasonable option for the price and they are compact for field work. I will look further into what other options there are and get back to you.
Hi RhinoUAV -- Thanks for the comments. I ended up getting an Encore video capture dongle. It seems to work OK. I also discovered that my black-and-white problem came from the video setting getting changed from NTSC to PAL. That must have happened when I updated the drivers.
I'll be anxious to try out video feed to Mission Planner. Thanks for the link.
I have was an $8 Easy capture, but the frame rate depended upon the computer power of the laptop.
It also really eats into the battery life. I needed to record for several hours, so I went with a dedicated FPV recorder. They are the bee's knee's.
These are all the same basic unit. They record all the video without any noticible degradation. It is also nice to have the screen to view the GPS coordinates for recovery without needing a lug a laptop around. When using a netbook, my easycap only worked at about 5 fps.
If you have kids, they are also excellent video players for those long flights or car rides.
Hi Arashi -- Thanks for the links. I was not aware of the FPV video recorders. They look very nice. The irony for me, at least in the short term, is that my DIY UAV will be flying over mowed grass and corn fields! Not very exciting for video, so I'm not overly concerned about quality just yet. This project is a bit of an intellectual exercise. However, I hope to dream up a few more interesting things to do while keeping within current rules (basically flying within controllable line-of-sight).
If you can get the video to display on the screen you can use a program like Snagit which will basically record what is coming in on your screen at screen quality (i.e., it records at exactly the quality that is on your screen) for as long as you have memory on your laptop to write to.
Alternatively I've used Matlab to view and process incoming video from webcam style devices before.
Hi Cam. Thanks for the info. I'll check out both programs.
If you don't mind a bit of hacking, I am halfway through this kickstarter project called Hackacam. It's fully programmable network camera module. Maybe that will fit your need?