Quadcopter Racing with First Person Video!

We’ve tested different types of quadcopters before, but have never flown them like this! Norm tags along a meetup of local FPV quadcopter racers–people who build and race mini quads by flying them with first-person video cameras. We learn about how FPV quadcopters work, why they’re so much fun to spectate, and witness some unbelievable stunts! (Thanks to Charpu, Pablo Lema, and Eric Cheng for their quad footage!)

Shot and edited by Norman Chan

Comments (32)

32 thoughts on “Quadcopter Racing with First Person Video!

  1. Agreed – A getting started guide is a must! Please someone put one together!

    This looks like an awesome weekend activity for a group of friends!

  2. Here is a video of metaldanny flying in a parking garage. He also shows picture in picture with what he sees himself int he goggles in overlay on the gopro video. http://youtu.be/huptlADW2Us

    Probably my favorite video from him. http://youtu.be/KaM0K0Z0Na8

    For those that wanted a build guide. Mr blackout have a nice one of his own creation. http://forums.openpilot.org/topic/30168-blackouts-mini-h-quad/

    There is also a lot of build threads on http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/ and other RC forums.

    A nice place to start is the wiki on /r/multicopter at reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/Multicopter/wiki/index

  3. THIS IS INSAAAANE! These direction changes, WOW!

    I’m buying myself a mini soon lol, just started out with a 450 sized.

  4. That is amazing! Can you imagine, being able to watch these races with first person viewfinders over every ones eyes. In fact, why isn’t that a thing i most motorsports?

  5. Charpu is, in my opinion, one of the best multi rotor pilots out there. I have a site dedicated to the FPV quadcopter hobby and I sell the Lumenier frames that are featured in the video above: http://www.quadquestions.com

    They are flying 250mm frames, like the QAV250.

    I have created a post about the components required to make these quads go, and there is a lot of information on my site for beginners. The picture shown below is from the blog post here: http://quadquestions.com/flight-school/components-fpv-quadcopter/

    You can get a QAV250 bare bones but ready to fly for around $550 USD. You have to add a radio and FPV gear (a video transmitter, camera, and receiver like the goggles shown) to get flying like the guys in the video, A full setup can be had for around $1500 USD.

    It is one of the most addicting hobbies out there, and the most fun I have had with R/C… ever.

    As for legality, It is legal in the united states, but you have to conform with the FAA and FCC rules (a given). Most of these quads use 5.8 and 2.4 ghz (wifi) bands for control and video, but some get into HAM frequencies requiring a HAM radio license to operate.

    The FAA restricts flying to line of site and 400′ in altitude and there is much debate about FPV in the United States right now. As with anything, it is up to the operator to make sure that they fly in a safe manner.

  6. They really need to put dual GoPro’s on there with stereoscopic separation close to human IPD so you can watch it in something like an Oculus Rift. I’ve seen such video from other quadcopters and it is great but it would be even cooler to watch them race around like this.

  7. I think that watching a flight with dual gopros in an oculus rift would make you pretty sick. It is easy to get motion sick even when you are looking at the feed through goggles while somebody else is flying. Passengers almost always take better to watching the flight on a handheld screen vs googles, as a screen is less immersive.

    I think that it would be amazing to pilot in 3d immersion, and the vertigo doesn’t happen when you are at the sticks, but the current technology is limited to 600tvl low-definition video link, and I don’t think that will change for a while. So while HD is a thing of the future, in theory you could do 3d flying with 2 video transmitters and goggles that allow a different feed for the left and right eye. 3d flying is something that we will add to our list of future projects.

  8. I tried an Oculus Rift with separate L and R eye inputs from tiny cameras mounted in an RC car; with motion tracking, moving your head would move the head of a little robot ‘driver’ in the car. In theory, it would give you an immersive 3D experience, with your head controlling the camera direction and the RC controller steering the car.

    In reality, I was nauseated within 15 seconds of starting the demonstration. It was like the system was custom-designed to trigger my puke reflex. I’d be much more comfortable watching the FPV image on a single handheld screen.

    For quadquestions – that’s a nice site; thanks for putting it up, and keep on adding content please!

  9. Fantastic video – but wasn’t the FAA’s most recent ruling that FPV was illegal? I only know this because I was about to buy some FPV gear for my Phantom, and stopped because I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on something we can’t use anymore…

  10. What would be the downsides of lightweight mesh frames around the propellers? Like you get on a hovercraft. Always seems such a shame that a tiny branch will stop them dead!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Ask Adam Savage: Predicting Results on MythBusters

Tested member Steve B asked Adam, "In the early seasons of M…

One Day Builds

Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Galloping Horse Anim…

Adam has a background in animation, so it's with great pleas…


Ask Adam Savage: How MythBusters’ Crew Size Change…

How did the MythBusters camera and safety crew size change t…

One Day Builds

Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: Painting Iron Man Ar…

Wanting a beaten-up, shiny metal finish for his Iron Man Mar…


Ask Adam Savage: On Sharing Your Workshop

After some initial distractions, Adam answers Tested member …

Show And Tell

Adam Savage’s Replica Creature Head from The Thing…

Adam gives us a close look at this replica of one of his fav…

Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Picard’s Second Chance – This is Only a Test 594 –…

A special short episode this week as Norm checks in from his paternity leave to catch up with the gang about the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, that bonkers Loki trailer, and our cautious optimism for the next season of Star Trek: Picard. Plus, an interview with the team behind Plutosphere, who want to make cloud-bas…


Adam Savage’s Favorite Tools: Japanese Hand Saws!

Adam Savage shows you why he's so fond of his Japanese hand …


Ask Adam Savage: Shop Anchor Points

Adam Savage answers Tested Member Wayne Lewis' question: "Ki…

Show And Tell

Adam Savage Unboxes a 2004 Hellboy Movie Press Kit…

Adam Savage unboxes and checks out for the first time this a…