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#1 hmramachandraa

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 12:01 PM

Hello,
I have to shoot from helicopter for my next film. i don't have budget for any gears !!!!
so it has to be hand held ? how to kill vibration and shakes of the chopper and get a smooth shot ???
(will air pillow help in absorbing vibration?or any other cussion ?)And genarally how to go about it to get a good immage!! ( i will be shooting over the forest and water ) :ph34r:
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#2 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 03:26 PM

What camera are you working with ? When it's got an handle, the easiest, cheapest and best way is to tight a sandow between the camera's handle and the up door helicopter's handle. I did it with a 35 bl on a feature, worked great.
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#3 hmramachandraa

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 02:36 AM

What camera are you working with ? When it's got an handle, the easiest, cheapest and best way is to tight a sandow between the camera's handle and the up door helicopter's handle. I did it with a 35 bl on a feature, worked great.


Thanks Laurent, I am suing Arri III with anmorphic lens. thinking of cranking at 36fps to kill jerks ??
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#4 Mitch Gross

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 01:28 PM

Attach a short bungee or sash cord to the top of the door frame and then attach this to the camera top handle. There is a bolt hole where you can attach an eyebolt (a bolt with the top formed into a loop or ring) and tie the cord to this. The camera's weight will be suspended by this and you'll just steer it with your hands, which will greatly reduce vibration. I would also reccomend using a small LCD screen off a videotap and closing off the eyepiece. By reducing your attachment to the camera you reduce vibration and increase framing options.

Everything in the chopper must be tied down. If you leave a battery or mag loose then it will absolutely find its way down to the ground the hard way.

The chopper pilot is really the one who will be positioning you for shots, so communication with him is critical. The experienced ones know what does and doesn't work and are used to watching your tap feeds on a monitor to help get what you need. The inexperienced ones are not worth working with.

Be sure to wear a safety harness, and make sure it is one with a proper quick release like a standard seat belt. Neil Fredericks used to post to this forum. He died when a small plane he was shooting from went down and he was unable to extricate himself from a makeshift harness.
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#5 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 04:50 PM

thinking of cranking at 36fps to kill jerks ??


I never tryied overcranking with a film camera in a helicopter. I've been shooting video at 1/125 s and I found it was great, though I've heard people saying it could be a bad idea because it could generate sort of a "flicker effect" (sorry I don't find the proper word in english...) because of the short exposure time with relativly moving frames, see what I mean ? But I didn't notice that at 1/125 s, my self. I would say 36 fps would be a good idea, even better with film, actually, if you don't bother the expended duration of the shot, but since I've nerver tried that, I'd 'expect people who had the experience to tell us about that... anyone ?

Be sure to wear a safety harness, and make sure it is one with a proper quick release like a standard seat belt. Neil Fredericks used to post to this forum. He died when a small plane he was shooting from went down and he was unable to extricate himself from a makeshift harness.


I know a few people who lost their lives in these machines. Bernard Lutic lost his life in a helicopter, in south america, about 5 or 6 years ago, I think, another guy I knew in a river in France, the same year...

I wonder how one can tell that someone was not able to extricate since I'm afraid the fall itself is bad enough to take your like, or to make you unable to leave, at least... But, for sure, I would say a quick release is better, anyway.
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#6 Mitch Gross

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 11:27 PM

I wonder how one can tell that someone was not able to extricate since I'm afraid the fall itself is bad enough to take your like, or to make you unable to leave, at least... But, for sure, I would say a quick release is better, anyway.


Because everyone else made it out safely. Neil was trapped in a small plane and was the only person not wearing a normal seatbelt or harness. The jerry-rigged camera mount prevented him from wearing one and he was tied in instead, I believe with sash cord. It kept him from falling out, but it also kept him from being able to extricate himself before the plane sank underwater.

This is one's life we're talking about here. I used to do stupid rigs and then I grew up and got smart about it. Life is too short as it is.
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#7 boy yniguez

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 06:40 AM

Hello,
I have to shoot from helicopter for my next film. i don't have budget for any gears !!!!
so it has to be hand held ? how to kill vibration and shakes of the chopper and get a smooth shot ???
(will air pillow help in absorbing vibration?or any other cussion ?)And genarally how to go about it to get a good immage!! ( i will be shooting over the forest and water ) :ph34r:



hi,
i've done about a dozen aerials and have tried resting an arri III with a prime lens on a baby pillow on my lap as well as hard mounting the camera on a tripod to the inside of the chopper cabin with some rubber insulation and they both work. i was even able to use a zoom on the hard mounted one but be careful not to extend the lens barrel (no mattebox, it will catch the wind) more than a few inches out of the chopper body because of wind turbulence. levelling a hardmounted camera will be a problem as choppers navigate by tilting its body all over the place so you might want to use a cartoni head that can roll your camera axis. a polarizing filter would help cut haze in the atmosphere but unless it is mounted flush on the lens barrel with no part sticking out it could just fly off. as far as vibration is concerned there are airspeeds depending on your chopper model where it is minimal mostly when it is cruising forward at a fast clip. hovering is the worst.
good luck.
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#8 Michael Collier

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 10:22 PM

I havent done a helecopter shot before, but I have done plenty of small aircraft and even a few dog sleds and found its all about your body technique.

(FYI, a small bush plane like a cesna single prop flying close to mountainous areas gives tons of shake, so even a bungee setup wouldnt work for me. If anyone wants an amazing show, come up to alaska, I'll get you a good bush flight around Denali (Mt. McKinnley) and show you some CRAZY pilots. good, but crazy)

My general technique for a situation like this is to think of slipping on ice (for those of you who are not seeing -20 in their back yard think of slipping on a wet floor) as you fall you are naturally trying to place your torso in your center of ballance. Legs and arms are used to position this dead weight where it needs to be to stabalize yourself. Its quite natural and if you ski or snowboard you should be quite addept at doing it.

Now apply that to a sitting situation. you want feel firm on the ground so you can use them to shift yourself. Slump your backa bit (posture is for loosers) and let yourself go flexible and prepared, dont stiffen up.

As the plane moves shift your body to the center of ballance. You may not know where that is exactly but you will pick it up quickly. Its all a matter of feel, and since you do it every day unconciously to walk and run. as you ballance yourself you are actually compensating for motion like a gyro would. Its not perfect but instead of sudden bad jerks the frame moves a bit smoother and with more grace. I have been able to zoom into about a 30mm lens (on 2/3" camera, so 75mm in 35 film) and keep it pretty steady.

the drawback is a succession of quick jerks in different directions can confuse your internal gyro and your shot will go loopy for a second until you regain your composure
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#9 Tim Shim

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 10:55 AM

I just shot from a heli this morning, in fact. ;)

Some of the advice I could give would be to shoot WIDE. If you need to get closer, communicate with your pilot. Usually, you would communicate with him by giving him directions such as 12 o'clock for moving straight ahead and 3 o'clock to bank right, etc. Think of the pilot as your voice-controlled dolly rig ... but it helps to be polite to your rig, too. ;)

Helis are quite versatile and have a greater range of movements so use it to your advantage.

I also find that, if the weather is good, you should have quite a smooth ride and may not even need much effort to get a stable shot, even on handheld.

If you're shooting on video, some cameras have an optical stabilizer which you could activate to dampen vibrations. If you're shooting on film, a faster FPS should give you more frames to do stabilizing later on in post.

Which brings me to Post. Software plugins like 2d3 SteadyMove Pro or full fledged tracking software like Boujou can be used to stabilize your shots resulting in super smooth, super steady shots. A slight compromise on image quality due to cropping and resizing, but unless you're shaking your camera violently, it may work wonders with your footage.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Tim
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