Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Helicopter flapping and cyclic angle of attack video reveal

I’ve mentioned my (generally failed) attempts to fly radio-controlled helicopters (long before drones and even model-sized gyros were around). Most of these were thwarted by various silly technical issues, some of my own making, other down to hardware issues, but all meaning I never transitioned from hover to flight.

One side effect of this was to make me study rotary flight theory (no different for model or full size), as part of my fault-finding efforts.

Some aspects were ‘invisible’ as they related to dynamic changes that took place during each rotation of the rotor head, so could not be observed, and weren’t particularly obvious or intuitive until their theory was considered in some detail.

One is the ‘flapping’ of the blades, required to balance the lift generated across the rotor disc of a single-rotor helicopter, or autogyro, in forward flight.

A rotor blade moving in the same direction as the aircraft is called the advancing blade and the blade moving in the opposite direction is called the retreating blade. In forward flight the advancing blade has a higher airspeed than the retreating blade, creating unequal lift across the rotor disc.

This is countered by ‘blade flapping’. The advancing blade flaps up and develops a smaller angle of attack due to a change in relative wind vectors, thus producing less lift. Conversely, the retreating blade flaps down, develops a higher angle of attack due to a change in relative wind vectors, and generates more lift.

Unequal lift arising from motion of the rotor disc is also countered by cyclic feathering, which means the angle of attack of the blade is varied during each rotation, varying the lift to further compensate for the variation.

The speed of the rotor meant that couldn’t be seen back in those days, but advance in video and camera miniaturisation mean that previously impractical or even impossible scenarios can now be recorded and reviewed, such as this video showing the above effects as they take place while a rotor blade is in motion on a flying helicopter.

I don’t have any commentary or source for this clip, so just have to hope I’m correct in adding that the items which can be seen oscillating (moving up and down) at the base of the blade are mechanical dampers.

19/06/2019 Posted by | Aviation, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Byres Road historic video surprise

It’s funny, but it’s so long since I’ve seen video shot with conventional ‘video cameras’ I almost wonder if these are poor people who can only afford old gear they can buy second-hand.

Just about any project I’ve looked at recently has used dSLRs to shoot hi-res video.

The only pure video cameras I’ve seen recently have been shown by content producers who tear them down to show how such things used to be built, and how they work.

I’m not including some pro news gathering kit I’ve spotted on the street. which is pure video of course, but still tiny compared to the kit seen below.

And then they show the quality of image the old tech provided, and compare it to what can be done today.

Typically, those old video cameras cost from £3 k and could easily hit £10 new from the manufacturer, but were what you had to buy to produce broadcast quality video when they were current.

Today, in shocking comparison (and I’m not referring to things like 4 k or similar), a decent hi-def consumer video camera can easily match and exceed the quality of image those cameras – with those teardowns being recorded in details using just such later cameras.

Byress Road Video Surprise

Byress Road Video Surprise

07/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Sadly, this wasn’t on my bus

But, it is one of our RHD double-deckers, so not a video from abroad, as so many of the best seem to be.

All I get on my buses seem to people I want to get away from.

Seriously, yesterday an otherwise nice guy got on, but his voice appeared to have only one volume setting, around 120 dBA – and he loved a poor wee dug a woman was taking to the park. It must have been stone-deaf by the time she reached her stop.

Last week, our (lady) bus driver stopped in Trongate and threw and old (looking) woman off the bus – the problem wasn’t obvious until we saw her fall about, and the can of lighter fuel she’d been inhaling.

Intriguingly, I see her sitting around the same place in Trongate, very recognisable as she has a mass of black hair, still shoving a can of lighter fuel into her face, almost hidden by all the hair.

Then there was girl who spent half an hour shouting into the back of my head as she babbled monotonously into her mobile phone – fortunately I resisted the urge to do anything as she kept mentioning “visiting her mum in prison in Falkirk“. That would be Polmont Young Offenders Institution, which took the women formerly held in Cornton Vale a couple of years ago.

Haven’t seen anyone manage this on a bus I’ve been on, although there are many nodding heads – I’m just impressed by how they always seem to wake up just before their stop.

Smart phones aren’t ALL bad 🙂

27/04/2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Camera shoes are a thing?

I have to give this story a mention, not for its main subject, but for revealing that ‘Camera Shoes’ are a thing, and that you can simply go and buy them.

I’d take issue with the accuracy of the story title, since this is a shoe camera being used for a specific purpose.

I don’t think the camera ‘exploded’ either. Overheating plus rapid fire is not an explosion.

Wisconsin man injured after upskirting shoe camera explodes

The sorry tale of the guy concerned reminded of some earlier tales, such as one of the earliest uses of a computer to beat the casinos in Las Vegas.

I don’t recall the names, but back in those days there were no tiny computers, tiny batteries, or small displays.

A bunch of computer engineers got together and built a computer that could be worn, hidden under a jacket together with a big battery pack to keep it alive. They also made hidden switches to input the data from the gaming table they were playing, and if I recall correctly, used a device built into a shoe as the output, something that tapped the foot to tell the user what to do.

Not really relevant, as the main problem was the heat of the battery pack and ‘wearable’ computer back in those days.

I don’t think it failed, at lest not like a modern Lithium Ion battery, but the whole setup got hot enough under the jacket to cook the poor operator who had to carry it, AND look as if he wasn’t ‘suspicious.

I think you can find the story online, they were quite successful, but were eventually caught and banned, it was featured by a number of publications.

The modern story is, however, quite impressive, since a look online will dig up not only the camera shoe, but a number of other items that can have camera hidden within.

Most are static, and intended for security use – but some people do get inventive with ‘re-use’ options.

I’m not involved with this sort of fun any longer – it may be interesting, but it’s too expensive to play with, and I just can’t afford it.

And the failures can rack up the costs too.

Back in the 1980s I was messing around with what passed for small video systems (and remember, this meant TAPE VCRs – no memory cards in those days), and had one major disaster with the (then) new Sony Video 8 or 8 mm video tape system.

They came out with a small camcorder about the size of a large paperback.

That was small for the day, but a pain as it could only record – playback meant removing the cassette and using a similarly small VCR to view recorded material. And this was really slow since the cassette ejection and insertion was motorised by a mechanism that was far from fast to open and close.

One ‘feature’ of the little camcorder was the combined battery and handgrip, which also carried the controls, and was detachable (so the camcorder body could fit into other items, such as an underwater enclosure, which held the battery and controls).

I had a BRIGHT idea – make an extension cable, to allow the battery and controls to be placed remotely from the camcorder body.

Sony didn’t appear to sell such a lead, so I set about making my own.

It was quite simple, only four contacts (two battery, on/off, and start/stop), but arranged in an awkward line, as opposed to a plug/socket pair.

Long story short… I succeeded in fabricating a matching connector that would clip onto the camcorder contacts, but…

The alignment was fussy.

It was no fun watching around £400 (of 1980s money – which is over £1,000 in 2018) of camcorder produce the tiniest puff of “I’m dead” smoke as I slipped the new connector on, and one of the contacts slipped out of alignment.

Sony Service Centre had a good joke when I dropped it in for a quote – “£300 please”.

Prices were already dropping, and I could then have bought a better one for the same – had I not just lost £400!

Today, I could be making something like…

DIY Camera Shoe

DIY Camera Shoe

Nobody will notice 🙂

01/07/2018 Posted by | photography | | 2 Comments

Kedi and the cats of Istanbul

After yesterday somewhat grim video about the fate of unwanted Tibetan Mastiffs dumped by wealthy Chinese who no longer wanted their ‘fashion accessories’, something to lighten the mood and bring back a smile.

Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.

Critics and internet cats agree — this cat documentary will charm its way into your heart and home as you fall in love with the cats in Istanbul.

See the home page: Kedi

And: The cast of cats

Kedi poster

Kedi poster

While there is a standard trailer for this pay to view documentary, I came across the same trailer with an extra few minutes of material from the documentary.



Someone’s daughter made a video of Istanbul’s cats as their homework in 2016.

And shows you don’t need a huge great expensive documentary team to produce a decent video:

After looking at these (and there are quite a few more ‘Cats of Istanbul’ videos to be found along with those noted here), not sure if I should just go live there, or if we should arrange for some Istanbulian cats to be imported to the east end of Glasgow, so I can get my hands on them in the street, and not have the dubious pleasure of little more than ‘catbutt’.

Also Odyssey Turkey: Cats of Istanbul

29/11/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Compare and contrast ‘camera offenders’

I just made a post expressing some concern over the circumstances of a man who was arrested for drink-driving, and ended being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for taking pictures in public places, albeit while under the influence of drink.

Although he did not commit any actual offence (he foolishly admitted a Breach of the Peace (basically acknowledged to be a catch-all if no actual charge exists), or break any laws, he was also handed a 5 year camera ban.

Photography can be risky in the UK – just having a camera might get you into trouble

But only a few hours later I read news of someone who was clearly doing something ‘wrong’, with covert cameras hidden in toilets, and some 700 videos obtained using secret ‘filming’:

A finance director at Glasgow’s biggest social landlord hid spy-cams in the toilets at his workplace to secretly film colleagues.

Mark Logan, 48, walked free from Glasgow Sheriff Court despite admitting to secretly filming almost 700 videos including hundreds in the Wheatley Group office toilets between May 2015 and May 2016.

Logan, of Tweedsmuir Crescent in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of sexual assault when he appeared at court in March this year.

When confronted about the videos he told bosses: “I am ashamed, I have been bottling it up for 20 years and don’t want to be gay.”

Logan, who has been placed on the sex offenders register, planted the cameras in digital clocks at the firm’s head office on Cochrane Street where he was employed until the recording devices were found last year.

The court heard Logan, who no longer works at the firm, also carried out the crime while on business trips to Edinburgh and London by filming colleagues against their knowledge.

In one video, he could be seen putting a device at the bedside table of one of his victims.

Via: Finance director secretly filmed workmates on toilet

Covert Digital Clock Camera

Covert Digital Clock Camera

As I noted in the first post, as regards the first case I mentioned…

But, I’m sorry, I don’t really see the problem with his video, taken in a public place.

Yet this second case has NO QUESTION regarding deliberate intent, planning, and clearly involved secret or covert ‘filming’…

His actions were not carried out in public, he was not even (as the first was said to be) ‘Under the influence’, and he was not doing anything that could, in any way, be said to be legitimately claimed to fall under Photographer’s Rights in the UK, or I suspect in most countries.

Yet the accused “walked free”.

This really does make the first case I mentioned look like even more of farce than it did a few hours ago, and more one of prudes or the ‘morally affronted’ making an example of someone that they think should taught a lesson.


09/05/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance | , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow School of Art Video – The City of Glasgow

I rather liked this video of Glasgow when I first saw it a while ago, and found it was still lodged in one of my browser tabs while I was having a tidy, so I thought it deserved to be shared, if only because of the quality of the imagery.

And it gives me an opportunity to mention one of Makintosh’s gems, The Glasgow School of Art,

I have to confess that I’m not the greatest of fan of having random people and odd commentary droning over and through videos I like, but I can tolerate the intrusion if the shots are generally interesting, and don’t just look at well-known landmarks, and quite a few spots shown here will only be immediately recognisable to locals.

Enjoy the view:

Commissioned by The Glasgow School of Art, 2012. Connolly Clark Films on Vimeo.

18/01/2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Forewarned is Forearmed

I’m not a fan of the online video movement, not because there’s anything wrong with the idea, but because it’s largely populated by rubbish placed there by the lowest common denominator of lowlife on the planet. That said, when it’s allowed to do what it should, then it can come up the occasional gem.

Forewarned is Forearmed was the motto of the Royal Observer, born of the need to monitor the skies for enemy aircraft during the war, they went on to become a volunteer army that would have reported on nuclear fallout in the event that nuclear weapons had been deployed during the Cold War. On July 10, 1991, the Home Secretary announced that far-reaching changes in Communist bloc countries meant the threat of nuclear war had receded. After 66 years of service, the Corps 10,000 members stood down on March 31, 1992.

This film looks at the development and history of the Corps, how it operated, was recognised, and then finally dispensed with, and stood down, it’s in two parts.

I’ve just realised I have the code to allow this type of material to be included in pages within the Main Site too, so have taken the opportunity to add it now, and updated the ROC page there with these videos.

17/12/2007 Posted by | Cold War, Site News | , | Leave a comment


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