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Assisting r/c helicopters


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#1 Mike Thorn

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 12:00 AM

I was just notified that my next show will utilize a remote control heli for some of the more dramatic shots.

There, now you know just as much as I do! :(

Given the lack of specific information (forthcoming), would anyone be kind enough to offer advice or horror stories?

We'll be shooting RED, most likely. If the budget doesn't come through it'll be HVX200+M2+Firestore. I'm fluent on RED, HVX less so, for now. However, pulling is not my strong suit at the moment, having spent a lot of time under DP's and ops who like to do it themselves - so I'm not really a Steadicam fan and just thinking about helicopters is starting to give me the willies.

I've asked for a remote and will most likely get it. It will either be the new Viewfactor unit or an older Preston FI+Z 2-channel (again, price - the budget got cut by 1/2 this weekend).

I intend to have a nice long chat with the heli chap at some point, but in the meantime, any tips would be dearly appreciated. I'd just like to be well educated when we get to that stage.
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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 02:22 AM

As far as focus goes, I assume you will be using wide lenses and going hyperfocal. I'd be surprised if you do much pulling at all (wonder what the useful range of the Preston transmitter actually is). If that's the case, you'll probably want to tape down the focus, zoom, aperture rings so they don't move on you. I guess you need to figure out remote run/stop and remote monitoring. Maybe check and see if any rental houses have the solid-state Red drives available for rent.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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#3 David Rakoczy

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:59 AM

I Directed 5 days of Flying Cam.... it was fantastic! Their Crew(s) are phenomenal.. I was amazed at how fast we moved from Location to Location. We shot on P2s. Generally speaking, there is very little (if any) focus pulling going on. I don't believe we rolled focus at all during our shoot... if we did the Camera Op (Quinton - out of Hong Kong) did it. The Camera Op will handle all that.. including setting the iris as it is all on his controller. Rene (out of Paris) is an amazing Pilot and Marc (Flight Tech) runs an amazing operation.. they are very quick to tear down and set up at the next Location!

I recommend calling the Heli Co. and talking with them... you will probably end up just assisting them.

Have fun!
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