Skyshot Helikite provides a simpler alternative to aerial drone photography

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Allsopp's new Action Cam Skyshot Helikite – some of the company's other Helikites have been in military or industrial use since 1993

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It's certainly no secret that consumer drones are proving to be extremely popular for shooting aerial videos. That said, the things still aren't perfect – you can't fly them for more than about 25 minutes per battery charge, pre-flight procedures such as calibrating their compass can be tricky, they're noisy, and they can fall out of the sky and hurt people. Allsopp's Action Cam Skyshot Helikite, however, is claimed to have none of these problems. It's basically just a GoPro-carrying kytoon – a kite/balloon hybrid.

Unlike a kite, the Action Cam Skyshot doesn't require any wind to fly, as its helium bladder provides aerostatic lift. That said, its airfoils do also contribute dynamic lift. This allows it to remain more stable than a balloon, as winds pull it up and hold it in place, instead of blowing it back and knocking it about. This trait also allows it to go up in wind speeds of at least 30 mph (48 km/h), which would prevent drone use.

It can be flown to a maximum altitude of 600 ft (183 m).

The Action Cam Skyshot comes in three sizes – 1, 1.6 and 2 cubic meters. Depending on the size chosen, users can attach a maximum of three, four or six GoPro Heros to Velcro mounting pads on the Helikite's sides. For users who want to keep things simple, the company advises simply setting the camera(s) to record video or to grab stills in interval mode before take-off, then just flying the Skyshot over the subject.

However, should users wish to remotely pan and tilt the camera (viewing its output via Wi-Fi on a mobile device), a motorized gimbal mount is available for the largest model.

According to Allsopp, a fully-inflated 1- or 1.6-cubic meter Skyshot can be transported in the back of a car, and all three models can be launched within minutes. Prices range from £480 to £890 (about US$720 to $1,340), plus shipping – users have to supply their own helium canisters. The gimbal mount sells for £400 ($600).

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