In my last post on PAP I described the absolute simplest PAP configuration, a small lightweight camera (Canon G9) on a 16 foot painters pole. I use this configuration a lot for front shots. Martin Kimeldorf sent me link to a video tutorial by John Park, on how to use some basic radio control parts to build a remote shutter trigger, and remote camera up-down control).
To me, the remote shutter control looks the most interesting because with my G9, I have to set the interval timer, put the pole up and wait for a series of 5 shots to be fired while I move the pole position slightly between each shot. I can tell when each shot is fired because in this mode the G9 beeps each time a shot is fired. A RC shutter control would add the ability to put the pole up and fire off as many shots as I want without taking it down every 5 shots. The downside is this would take two people.
The next level in PAP camera control that I'm thinking about is to use a telescoping 24' tripod in combination with both of the remote controls that John describes. This would allow a 15' to 20' high shot that could all be done with one person.
In the video, John doesn't give specifics on what RC controller to buy for this project. I did some Googling and found this remote control unit that seems to fit John's description of what you need. For $40 USD you get a 2 channel radio controller and several servos. This appears to be everything you need for this project.
The final level of control would to be able to view what the camera is "seeing" so it wouldn't take so many random shots to get what you want. Since most point-and-shoot cameras that are light enough for this kind of application don't have remote video functionality so, it would be nice to have a remote video camera show you what the camera is seeing. After thinking about it for a while I came up with the perfect solution... an inexpensive, battery powered, baby monitor. For around $170 USD you could mount this on top, or next to the camera and make camera aiming much more accurate.
My goal is to put together a completely portable, lightweight PAP system for my G9 (and other similar cameras) that can be operated by one person. I think this can be done for about $800.