Friday, December 14, 2012

KAP rigs - Manual

Over the next few posts I'll explain 3 different types of KAP rig starting with the most basic manual rig.

The camera mounts onto a simple tilt/pan bracket, which must be pointed in the right direction before launching. Photos are captured continuously using the intervalometer or timelapse function.

 Canon Powershot S100 manual rig - 300g (including camera, rig, picavet and lines)

The S100 is not supplied with it's own intervalometer so the CHDK firmware tweak is necessary. The mounting bracket is 20mm x 1.6mm aluminium.

Camera and rig need to be balanced for the rig to hang perfectly level. Positioning of the tripod mount hole, picavet bolt hole and tilt axis are important.  Here's a page explaining how to find the centre of gravity written by James Gentles, a very clever KAP electronics inventor.

Manual rigs are the simplest and lightest setup allowing KAP in light winds and with the least stress. Great for targeting a specific subject but pre-flight aiming needs to be accurate. The camera must be retrieved to make orientation changes.
This is my favourite rig, very light and simple. In a steady 5kn+ wind the Levi Delta will lift it with hardly any pull on the line. I can walk around to position the camera where I want it and easily wind in or let out line.

GoPro HD2 manual rig - 260g

The GoPro with a tripod adapter bolts directly to the picavet upside down and images are inverted via GoPro menu selection. More than one mounting hole on this picavet allows the rig to be levelled for different camera tilt positions.
This is my lightest rig weighing 260g, used for flying from a dive boat and in light or unreliable winds. The camera is tough and well protected in its waterproof housing and has a fisheye lens. I tend to crop and "defish" the images in Photoshop for a more realistic result.

This rig could be made lighter still by removing the filter holder, but it is needed to hold a flat filter to allow underwater focus.


  1. Can you tell who make the pulleys you use on your KAP rig and where I might get them? I haven't seen that type before. Jay

    1. Hey Jay, The pulleys are Ronstan Kite Blocks.