Suggestions for high quality video?

Hi all,
I would like to upgrade the video system on my quad, and I’m a bit confused by OpenHD, OpenIPC, WFB-NG, available cameras, etc.

My current system consists of a gimbal-mounted Runcam Split 3 camera, fitted with a Yumiki distortion-free lens, a MinimOSD, an Eachine TX805 transmitter, a Foxeer Pagoda antenna. For a ground station I use just Eachine EV-800D goggles with the stock antennas.

The camera has a 2MP sensor, records 1920x1080 video locally, and also outputs NTSC or PAL analog video, which is fed through the MinimOSD to overimpose the flight data, and is transmitted to the ground for both displaying and recording. So I’m recording “high quality” clean video onboard, and low quality video with flight data overlay on the ground.

I would like to replace this whole system by something that does just the same, but with much better quality. The problems I have, and would like to improve on, are the following:

  • The video recorded by the Runcam is far from being fully resolved. A 2MP sensor will not fully resolve 1920x1080 pixels, since camera pixels are monochromatic and monitor pixels have 3 colors. With the usual kind of sensor color filter array, an 8MP sensor is required, so that each full-color pixel is calculated from 4 camera pixels. So I want some camera with at least an 8MP sensor, that can produce fully resolved (tack sharp) 1920x1080 video. Of course that would need a decent lens, and possible a somewhat larger sensor than the typical ultra tiny ones.

  • This Runcam lacks the option to manually set the white balance. It always runs with automatic white balance, which results in horrible colors whenever the camera is looking at something in which one color predominates, such as green vegetation. I want a camera that allows turning off the automatic white balancing. A simple option to set it to “daylight” or “sunny day” is good enough.

  • The Runcam’s NTSC or PAL video is of horrible quality! I had expected that a camera with a 2MP sensor would produce perfectly resolved 640x480 video, but unfortunately what I get falls extremely short of that. It’s at best half that resolution, 320x240 or so! Flying 50m high, on my FPV monitor I can’t tell a cow from a car… So I would like a video setup that transmits the full-resolution 1920x1080 video to the ground. I’m willing to trade speed for resolution. Just 3 frames per second would be plenty for my flying style. Even 1 frame per second would do.

  • The 5.7GHz analog transmission drops out as soon as my drone goes behind a tree. It’s a bit hard to fly a drone when you can see neither the drone nor the FPV video… And I live in an extremely wooded area, so if the video link doesn’t get through a forest canopy, I can only fly the drone straight over my head. So it would be highly desirable to put the video link on a much lower frequency than 5.7GHz. But I wouldn’t like to do it on 2.4GHz, because I’m running the remote control there, and that RC works fine. So it would be ideal to have a video link on a lower band, like 900MHz, or 432MHz. It would need to have smaller bandwidth, of course, but at a low frame rate it should work. I just need to find suitable radios for such a link.

  • Flying with goggles has proven extremely uncomfortable to me, since I need glasses, and different glasses for short and long distances (yeah, old guy here). I ended up removing the front of my goggles and mounting the back on a tripod, to use it as a little monitor. So I would like to use a bright computer monitor or small TV on the ground, to display my video. Any suitable receiver that outputs the video in HDMI or a similar standard would be fine. Using a laptop PC as ground station would be fine too.

One additional requirement is that the airborne section should be lightweight (to avoid reducing the drone’s flight time too much) and inexpensive (because if I ever crash the drone, it will most likely be a total loss, because the very difficult terrain where I live would make it hard to find and recover).

I spent several days reading about OpenHD, OpenIPC, WFB-NG, and related stuff. OpenIPC seems more attractive than OpenHD, due to the simpler/lighter/cheaper airborne section, but I’m totally confused about how the flight data OSD is implemented in OpenIPC, and what image sensors it really supports. I found conflicting information on websites, even on OpenIPC’s sites, I also found Youtube videos that show OSD data but don’t say how it’s done, and what’s more worrying, I found many Youtube videos showing extremely poor video quality! Nothing even remotely close to true 1920x1080 resolution! And those videos also show the color shifts caused by automatic white balance, which I hate so much. I found no information anywhere telling what can be adjusted, and what not, in an IP camera used with OpenIPC. The cameras themselves also typically come without such specs. The customer is expected to buy blind, and then find out what the camera can do…

So, is anybody here who has already done it, and can give me advice? Or at least partial advice, explain how the OSD is done, and so on?

If you want, you can see my drone’s whole story on the page linked below. Examples of the image quality I get with the current configuration are at the very end of this page. That’s what I want to improve on!

Sorry for the long-worded message…