Monday, 21 March 2016

STRATODEAN Four - The 360 Launch

Whilst we were launching STRATODEAN Four last weekend, we had Bethan Rosser, our special reporter on hand documenting the day.  Thank you Bethan for the excellent video!

High Altitude Balloon Launch - March 2016 - Bethan's School Report from Matt Rosser on Vimeo.

We've had some positive results with the 360 video so far, but lots of work still to do.  Stay tuned :)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

STRATODEAN Four - A 360 degree journey into near space

Hello, it's been a while!

Saturday 12th March saw our fourth launch from the Forest of Dean. Thanks to all those who helped track, including radio amateurs from over the water in Holland, Belgium, France, Ireland and Isle of Man!

As you know we are "hobby HABers" - a phrase I just completely made up for amateur high altitude balloonists - and because of this our high altitude projects were slightly placed on the back burner for 2015. Usually this is due to general life getting in the way, the price of helium and being busy with the day jobs.

This time round however, it was Mark's day job at BBC Wales that helped us fulfil an aspiration we've had for quite some time - a launch using a 360 degree camera. This exciting new way of broadcasting is still very much in its infancy and the BBC are working to be forerunners in this area. A recent example, a tour of CERN, can be seen on BBC Click. Currently 360 degree videos are best viewed either on computers using the Chrome browser, or on the YouTube app on your mobile device.

We've been planning a balloon flight around this theme for quite sometime but hadn't quite been able to put anything into practice. So late last year when Mark's department at BBC Wales Technology purchased a 360 degree GoPro rig, he was first in line trying to borrow it. Mark successfully negotiated with the BBC Wales Innovation Lounge to form a mini project to launch a HAB testing the 360 camera rig in near space.

So, before anyone could change their mind about launching a precious new piece of equipment into the stratosphere, we leapt into action and volunteered our spare time this weekend to conduct the launch.

We are currently working to stitch all the feeds together and along with the BBC who will also work their magic, we hope to share some footage with you soon.

P.S. We are happy to confirm the rig and all GoPros are healthy and doing well following today's excursion.