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Make a weird dragon kite: Popular Mechanics, 1915

"Dragon kites are made as hideous as the maker can possibly conceive." Popular Mechanics, May 1915 (via Weird Universe)

Simple kite aerial photography rig

This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.


When we had our epic fun day at the beach recently, I brought along a kite and a homemade kite aerial videography rig.

I attached a tiny $10 "car key fob" video camera to a simple picavet rig. This is a nifty little gadget that keeps the video camera pointed in the same angle relative to the Earth even while the kite line's angle is changing (it also prevents the camera from spinning around). I referred to this handy kite aerial photography site to figure out how the picavet's strings are threaded.

Instead of making a cross-shaped picavet frame, I used a square of ¼" plywood and drilled 4 holes through it so it wouldn't be buffeted by wind gusts. I threaded the string through 4 small eye screws and a washer. I learned the hard way that it's important to use pliers to squeeze shut any gaps in the eye screws because the string will try as hard as it can to free itself and ruin the functionality of the picavet (I blame it on resistentialism).

Here's a video of my first (and, so far, only) kite video experience. The video was very choppy because the picavet became unstrung before I had a chance to start taking video. I slowed the video way down because the camera was swinging like crazy. Hopefully, the next video will be better!