Jump to content


Photo

Helicopter Shooting


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Ivan Lebedev

Ivan Lebedev
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Student
  • VGIK, Moscow

Posted 02 May 2010 - 11:51 AM

Hello Guys, is it ok to shoot from a chopper only with a steadicam or stabilizing head is needed badly??
  • 0

#2 Christopher Santucci

Christopher Santucci
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 124 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Buffalo, New York

Posted 02 May 2010 - 12:57 PM

You could get away with hand holding on a calm day and also having a large aircraft helps. I've shot smooth footage hand held from small planes and small helicopters. Either way, definitely have them remove a door on the aircraft and use a harness for yourself and safety tie the camera to the aircraft.

Something like this is generally fine as a stabilizer:

http://www.ken-lab.com/

.

Edited by Christopher Santucci, 02 May 2010 - 12:59 PM.

  • 0

#3 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 02 May 2010 - 01:45 PM

I shot Canon 7D footage from a helicopter out and back to the Grand Canyon on my NAB "Tourist" day (I always take a day off to play). I was onboard one of Maverick Tour's smooth riding Eurocopters Eco-Star EC-130's on a perfectly clear day with light winds. I got good footage from the right front seat and only so-so footage from the left rear seat. I brought both my EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM and EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS lenses with but quickly discovered the 55-250 handheld was just about useless. The 17-55 footage was good so the lesson there is stay with pretty wide lenses handholding in choppers, even one as vibration free as an Eurocopter. Maverick keeps the windows on their machines polished and absolutely immaculate which certainly helped getting pretty pictures.

The trip was a "spur of the moment" thing to do based on the glorious weather with zero planning and research. One thing I learned is that if you want to be able to shoot through windows wear 100% black clothing. I've got way too much footage shot through the front window with me in my red shirt and tan shorts reflected in the glass. I'd have done better wearing black sweats, shoes, and socks.

I reviewed the footage on my 58" Samsung Plasma and I'm pretty happy with most of it. I'm putting off editing until Avid Media Composer 5 is out, it's going to handle 7D files natively. I'm eligible for a free upgrade so on June 12th I'll be downloading it.
  • 0

#4 Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1234 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:31 PM

Either way, definitely have them remove a door on the aircraft and use a harness for yourself and safety tie the camera to the aircraft.


Just make sure you have a quick release knot or you may end up like Neal Fredericks at the bottom of the sea still tied in. It's very dangerous to completely lock yourself down. That's why seat belts have buckles. This is where a good grip comes in handy.

Camera stabilizers are expensive but work great. They really make a difference when you go in tight. Stay wide if you are hand held. Maybe overcrank a little. Weather and sun position are a big factor. Bad weather makes it all but impossible. Unless you want that look.
  • 0

#5 Daniel Sheehy

Daniel Sheehy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts
  • Other
  • Brisbane

Posted 03 May 2010 - 06:46 AM

A proper safety harness has a quick release.
  • 0

#6 Larry Blanford

Larry Blanford

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 04 May 2010 - 02:38 PM

Hello Guys, is it ok to shoot from a chopper only with a steadicam or stabilizing head is needed badly??


Depends on what your actually trying to photograph and what it's for..I.E..feature..TV...documentary? If it's just aerial beauty shots then you might get away with a Steadicam (you'll want to use wider lens and overcrank a touch as the pilot will have to "crab" the helicopter which brings in more wind) or some of the formats that have already been mentioned. If it's anything that you feel a longer lens is necessary then you'll most definitely want a stabilizing head. If it's a car commercial then sometimes a good old fashioned Tyler Mount (cheaper than Steadicam) can be better...more energy. As far as a stabilizing head, I've recently been using Pictorvision's new "Eclipse" and it's about as good as it gets. What also needs to be mentioned and is equally as important...who's the pilot. The pilot is 50% of good aerial cinematography. There are loads of pilots all over the world that call themselves "movie pilots" but I can assure you there are only a handful that truly are. True film pilots tend to suggest things or play "top this"..they're there to help you get the best shot. If you go up with a pilot and he says "where do you want me?"...your with the wrong guy.
  • 0

#7 Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1234 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:45 PM

A proper safety harness has a quick release.


A "proper" safety harness does. Don't assume everyone in this business does things properly.
  • 0

#8 Edgar Dubrovskiy

Edgar Dubrovskiy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 348 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 08 May 2010 - 10:50 AM

Hi.

I shot a short couple years ago, had some shot from a heli.
Used EX-1, with very simple fig-rig (multi-million budget short, you see :) ) with three of us holding it, so vibrations from tired hands kind of eliminated each other.
Worked ok-ish (wouldn't suggest for long lenses) can see some shots here, at the beginning of the clip: http://edgarmedia.co.uk/index/555.html

Edited by Edgar Dubrovskiy, 08 May 2010 - 10:53 AM.

  • 0


Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Opal

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

CineTape

CineLab

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc