The hot new Christmas 2018 flight product from Air Hogs has got to be their new remote controlled Hawk Eye video helicopter that “blends the boundaries between flight, aerial videography and digital media,” in the words of manufacturer Spin Master Ltd of Toronto.
This flying camera will be of interest to kids from 12 up, and adults will find it of interest too as both a toy and a hackable hobby item.
Hawk Eye Flying Video Camera on a Toy Helicopter
The Hawk Eye is an indoor video camera helicopter that can snag “up to 5 minutes of video (320×240 pixels at full color) or hundreds of photos (640×480 pixels at full color)” while it’s zipping around the house.
Actually, the Spin Master media release says it can capture these images “while flying in the sky!” but that’s a bit of hyperbole. This IR-controlled copter is strictly indoor and will lose control when solar infrared floods its little receiver.
According to Spin Master, video and image file transfer and edit should be pretty easy.
- Simply hook the Hawk Eye up to your computer via the supplied USB cable and instantly download the files onto your computer to view, share and edit.
- The Hawk Eye comes with free access to a unique Air Hogs video editing platform on Airhogs.com. You can easily personalize your videos and photos by adding cool sounds, images and words and showcase your video creations online and to friends.
There is also a “Capture Your World” online contest for videos taken and edited using the Hawk Eye and its related software.
New Features of the Air Hogs Hawk Eye Remote Control Helicopter
The Hawk Eye introduces two new features that differentiate it from earlier Air Hogs copters.
- Steady-Fly™ Technology “automatically balances the heli while in flight to create a smooth, steady flight experience – perfect for capturing images.”
- Charging is through the computer instead of using a battery base charger, so the process of uploading and viewing videos and pictures also serves to charge the flight battery.
Flying the Hawk Eye RC Helicopter
Push one button on the hand controller for video, push another for still photos. Sounds pretty easy. However, the results will be … interesting.
This model aircraft flying toy is similar to the Havoc Heli line and other Air Hog helicopters. This means that it can only be flown indoors; sunshine and bright light will disrupt the infrared control system of the Hawk Eye.
While the Steady-Fly system makes the thing a little less jittery in the air than earlier models, the Hawk Eye is still far from stable, and considerable practice is required to obtain good video. Still images are a matter of random chance; take enough and there are bound to be some good ones.
Comparing the Hawk Eye to the Parrot AR Drone
One problem with the Hawk Eye is that the pilot has no real idea what the camera is aimed at at any given instant. A more expensive toy, the Parrot AR Drone, offers radio control for outdoor flight, four-rotor stability, auto-hover, and the ability to see the drone camera view on an iPhone.
However, you get what you pay for, and at $300 or so, the Parrot is definitely a toy for the hefty budget. The Hawk Eye may give video that looks like it was taken by a weaving drunk, but at around $65 USD it’s also a lot more affordable.