Written by: Will Burrad-Lucas
Over the years BeetleCam has evolved, and I’m now releasing the latest results from the BeetleCam Project and announcing a new version of the remote control buggy, the BeetleCam Hybrid.
I developed the first BeetleCam back in 2009. BeetleCam allowed me to safely position my DSLR camera in front of potentially dangerous African animals. My first expedition with BeetleCam was to Tanzania in 2009. I succeeded in getting close-up images of lions, elephants, and buffalo, however one of my cameras was destroyed in an encounter with a lion.
In 2011, I returned to Africa with a new lion proof version of BeetleCam, which turned out to be a great success and resulted in a series of ground breaking close up images of lions. Last year, I was living in Africa and my goal was to photograph species that I had not yet captured with BeetleCam, such as African wild dogs in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and leopards in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.
When I returned from Africa last August, I released an updated version of BeetleCam with a strong and lightweight shell to protect the camera, and the ability to mount a GoPro under the DSLR so that video could be recorded at the same time as stills. I recently took BeetleCam to Tanzania and spent a morning filming and photographing a pride of lions. The addition of simultaneous video capture adds a new dimension to the photographs.
Now I am announcing a completely new type of BeetleCam, the BeetleCam Hybrid. This is a merger of the traditional BeetleCam base with my latest remote-control copter stabilised camera gimbal. The gimbal means that the camera remains completely level, even if the BeetleCam is moving over uneven surfaces. The operator can also remotely control the camera pan and tilt without moving the base. The pan/tilt motion is very smooth, making this an ideal platform for remote-control filming.
Watch the BeetleCam Hybrid in action in this video:
My next releases will be a new super-quiet multirotor copter for filming wildlife with minimal disturbance and a range of products for camera trap photography.