FAQ for UAV/Drone Pilots

Questions most often received:

1 What is Ribcage?
3 Weight of Ribcage & Selected Lenses?
5 UAV/Drone Choices for Ribcage?

2 Why Ribcage for UAV’s?
4 What Lenses Should I Use?
6 Ribcage UAV Applications?

What is a Ribcage Camera?

Back-Bone’s patented technology is applied to action cameras produced by GoPro, SONY and YI Tech to create upgraded cameras called Ribcage Hero’s, Ribcage RX0’s and Ribcage Yi’s.

Ribcage allows full lens exchangeability on all versions – filters too! NDVI, infrared, night vision, … what you need is now available. 4K 60 fps, 4K 30 fps and 1080p 1000 fps – whatever your app needs.

Ribcage Hero’s, Ribcage RXO’s and Ribcage YI’s put choice in your hands – like all pros say, the right lens makes the shot. All without ‘breaking the bank’.

Why Ribcage Cameras for UAV’s?

Simply put, Ribcage cameras provide world leading capabilities and options that are NOT available with any other camera/drone system! At a cost dramatically less than traditional DSLR’s with full lens exchangeability – typically 75% less or more.

And Ribcage cameras are lightweight, weighing less than 20% of traditional DSLR’s offering lens exchangeability, and there is a wide array of new lens choices from ‘big name’ lens companies providing exactly what you need.

Your UAV determines which lenses you fly with – largely driven by weight. See Weight Questions below. Ribcage and lens choices optimize your weight options while still dramatically improving your footage.

For the first time, a small, lightweight camera with world leading specifications is not restricted to just one ‘fish-eye’ lens – better results and easy integration with your other footage is now in your control.

Choices and decisions are back in your hands! You know your app, drone manufacturers do not.

BEST of ALL – once you are done flying your Ribcage, use that same camera for other applications – action, family videos, mount to a microscope or telescope for homework or research, 360 VR/AR capture, …. again, your choice not a manufacturer’s.

Weight of Ribcage & Selected Lenses?

Ribcage cameras weigh less than 20% of traditional DSLR’s offering full lens exchangeability:
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For smaller UAV/drones or aircraft, M12 lenses will be the first choice.   Larger, bigger capacity aircraft will have more options.

What Lenses Should I Use?

M12’s – also known as ‘S-Mount’ or ‘Board lenses’ – are the smallest, lightest lenses and therefore most likely to give you what you need if you are flying a non-commercial UAV. And size does not limit capabilities – there is an excellent selection of M12 lenses available in the market. Back-Bone sells a few M12’s we like for your convenience.

Larger lenses, like C and CS mount, provide additional options if your UAV is able to manage the weight. Entaniya offers excellent, no stitching required, single lenses for 360 VR/AR apps.

A very important fact about Ribcage technology:
A 100mm full frame lens on a Ribcage GoPro or YI will deliver footage equivalent to using a 560mm lens on a traditional DSLR. On the Ribcage RX0 the multiplier is 2.6 (lower due to the larger sensor in the RXO), also a great result.

UAV/Drone Choices for Ribcage

Ribcage GoPro customers have had great success using their Ribcage cameras with the following UAV’s:

  • GoPro Karma
  • Yuneec Typhoon G
  • 3DR Solo Quadcopter + Gimbal
  • DJI Phantom 2 & H4-3D Gimbal
  • Walkera QR X350 Pro

The UAV market is constantly evolving so this list will be out of date in short order.  Please let us know your experience.

SONY released their RX0 in late October 2017 so we have not yet heard back from Ribcage RX0 customers using them on UAV’s.  Customers purchasing Ribcage YI are typically more budget conscious than Ribcage GoPro purchasers, so few of those are using UAV’s to our knowledge.

We will soon be doing some of our own 360 VR/AR footage from drones – stay tuned!

Ribcage Camera UAV Applications - a selected few


Infrastructure inspection such as pipeline, electric grid, nuclear facilities (where only unmanned inspections are viable), hydroelectric/water management damns, bridges, rail lines all benefit from being able to use the right lens to capture inspection footage.

Three important facts:


  • 4K 4:3 video allows you to create a virtually infinite number of 12 megapixel stills,
  • Back-Bone technology allows telephoto lenses to capture with almost a 6x multiple i.e. a 100 mm spec lens on a Ribcage GoPro effectively delivers the same footage as a 600 mm spec lens on a traditional camera, and
  • Back-Bone offers proprietary software that enables the extraction of 3D data from video footage, even creating 3D environments if required – see more on that below.


Crop Management

NDVI filters support precision farming and measuring biomass.  Foresters are able to quantify forest supply and leaf area indexes.  There are other similar applications.

Ribcage NDVI solutions are dramatically more cost effective than traditional approaches and deliver better imaging.  Our light weight (comparatively) offers pilots the choice of flying two cameras on their UAV, capturing NDVI data and topographical data concurrently – with obvious benefits.


Topographical Mapping Plus 3D Data/Flight Path Reconstruction

In addition to the traditional video footage you would expect, we are able to extract 3D models and camera positions using only the video frames.  No GPS data is needed.

The result – a virtual camera can be created in 3DS MAX from the data. Accurate measurements, flight-path information, model reconstruction and visual effects are all then possible.  Entire environments can be created when required.

Night Vision

Ribcage cameras have a removable IR cut filter – film with or without the filter.   Add an IR light source (such as a battery powered IR LED panel) and you get instant night vision!

Video in complete darkness!

Filter options

Install up to 3 internal filters at once¹ behind the lens.  That is a significant benefit for small lenses such as M12’s (they don’t have filter threads) and it also moves weight more towards the center of the camera.

Use a single filter or a combination of filters – IR-Cut, ND, Cold-Mirror, NDVI and more are available.  Custom filters are also available when using C-Mount lenses.

¹ Number of filters depends on thickness.  2 x 1.1mm thick filters can be mounted, or three 0.5mm thick filters.

Other UAV Applications

Military, law enforcement, border patrol, disaster management, aerial wildlife research, storm tracking, …. your imagination is the limit, not ours!   

Better imaging at lower cost helps across the entire spectrum of potential applications.