Portable camera parachute elevates aerial GoPro photography

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Birdie offers GoPro Hero 3 or 4 owners the ability to capture aerial shots at a fraction of the cost of expensive equipment(Credit: Birdie)

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A change in perspective generally leads to fresh composition and context, which is essential for anyone looking to develop their photography game. It's easy enough to crouch down low behind a lens, but the latest aerodynamic accessory assists with an avian view. Birdie is designed to be hand-tossed into the air, allowing GoPro cameras to take continuous photos or video safely on the way down.

Normally, the idea of lobbing expensive camera equipment up above one's head would be considered more absurd than brilliant. However, we have seen 360-degree panoramic spheres, such as the Panono and Bublcam cameras, designed for such a purpose. Not everyone has an open budget for that kind of gear, and Birdie offers GoPro Hero 3 or 4 owners the ability to capture aerial shots at a fraction of the cost.

Birdie looks like a giant-sized shuttlecock – the kind used in the sport of badminton. The construction is simple, with parachute fabric joining six plastic arms that connect into a bumper-equipped base. By itself, Birdie weighs a mere 3.5 oz (100 g) and measures 13.3 x 11.8 x 9.8 in (34 x 30 x 25 cm) when fully deployed.

The accessory is designed to secure a GoPro Hero 3 or 4 face-down into the base (the cameras must be housed in their respective, protective case), with cutouts allowing lenses an unobstructed view. Users then grab Birdie by the arms and toss the whole unit into the air. The weight of the GoPro helps to provide aim and direction, and different shooting angles can be accomplished by varying the types of throw.

Even though GoPro cameras are meant for rough outdoor action, Birdie adds an element of protection with the design of the base and drag caused by the parachute material. Users can choose to play catch or simply let the camera land. The layer of foam at the bottom acts as a buoyant cushion. So long as the GoPro case is waterproof, aerial photography can be performed at pools, lakes, and beaches with less worry about cameras sinking into the deep.

Birdie is currently funding on Indiegogo, having raised 39 percent of its US$15,00 goal in two days, with another 30 days left to go. A pledge of $35 sets you up with one Birdie, saving $15 off the planned retail price.

The company has designed and tested a number of Birdie prototypes meant for the GoPro Hero 3 and 4. There is a future possibility for a second version of Birdie to be compatible with other camera models. If production goes according to schedule, backers can expect shipments to start as soon as this August.

Check out the video below to see how Birdie works.

Sources: Birdie, Indiegogo

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