Toto 1 Revealed

Toto 1 Revealed

Toto is the name of a fictional dog in L. Frank Baum‘s Oz series of children’s books, and works derived from them.   Toto had quite the adventure in Oz and was somewhat the inspiration around my latest adventures in my own Oz, Las Vegas.  This Toto isn’t imaginary and the challenges of building a camera ship were at times like being attacked from flying monkeys.

Oz was a long and winding road and after several months of building, tweaking and tweaking some more, the yellow brick road has led to Toto 1 flying the skies around Las Vegas.  Toto 1 is equipped with a Photoship One 2xpt gyro stabilized gimbal which gives the camera operator the ability to pan and tilt the camera while locked onto a target as the pilot maneuvers the helicopter for optimal position.  Additionally, a live video downlink beams the signal down to a ground station where the camera operator views the feed with a LCD TV monitor.

Currently, Toto 1 flys with a Canon 550d (T2i) which has a class-leading 18.0 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor and features increased light sensitivity for low light photography.   The T2i also has an advanced HD Movie mode for gorgeous Full HD movies at 24fps, 30fps, and 60fps.  Toto 1 is a camera ship and can fly other models like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS 7D.

To keep Toto 1 aloft, an powerful X-era electric motor was fitted into the design.  X-era motors are designed to work in 600-700 size helicopters and provide very good flight times and efficiency.  Toto 1 was also fitted with Curtis Youngblood 710mm main rotor and 105mm tail rotor carbon fiber blades.

The addition of GPS added the ability to display altitude, position, and speed at the ground station.  The camera operator can direct the pilot to a series of waypoints and altitudes for specific shots.  With a logging feature included, the ground track can be saved and viewed in Google Earth.

Toto 1 offers many opportunities for low altitude photography and filming.  Examples where a low altitude flight may be useful include music videos, movies, construction progress, geological surveys, off-road events, sporting events, outdoor festivals,  residential and commercial property views, architectural modeling, and disaster recon flights.

With ease of transport to a project site, environmentally friendly, and at about 1/3 the cost of flying a “real” helicopter for aerial photography work, Toto 1 is a viable option for any project where full size aircraft are restricted.  For more information and rates, please contact Vegas HeliCam LLC, we look forward to working with you on your next project.