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Helicopter mounted rigs


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#1 Christopher Brown

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:44 PM

I capture a lot of aerial footage in helicopters collecting reference video of wide areas. None of what I shoot is cinema related. It has to be hard mounted to the helicopter (usually to a handle bar next to the door). I can't use anything extraordinary because I fly in military helicopters and the crew has strict emergency procedures they need to follow so anything too large won't work. I'm shooting with a Sony HDR-CX550V hence the reason for a compact system that doesn't get in the way of any military procedures. I'd just hold the cam myself, but I'm taking still photos at the same time.

I was thinking either memory foam or a bungee rig would do the job well enough. Any tips for creating a compact and simple anti vibration rig?
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:23 PM

I got some great footage of the Grand Canyon shooting handheld in a Eurocopter with my Canon 7D with an EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS on it. Have you considered one of the small Canon video camers with image stabilization?
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#3 Raj Bhatnagar

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:45 PM

For a budget-minded approach, I'd say memory foam over bungee. You get A LOT of movement from bungees rather than just dampening the vibration. Perhaps something like a memory foam casing for the camera with a base mounted on shocks.

There's nothing better than gyroscopic stabilization but it seems like we're talking about as low budget as possible.
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#4 Christopher Brown

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:27 AM

I got some great footage of the Grand Canyon shooting handheld in a Eurocopter with my Canon 7D with an EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS on it. Have you considered one of the small Canon video camers with image stabilization?


We are due for updated equipment here so I'll definitely try out the canons with IS. Thanks Hal.
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#5 Christopher Brown

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:37 AM

For a budget-minded approach, I'd say memory foam over bungee. You get A LOT of movement from bungees rather than just dampening the vibration. Perhaps something like a memory foam casing for the camera with a base mounted on shocks.

There's nothing better than gyroscopic stabilization but it seems like we're talking about as low budget as possible.


I agree, the gyroscopic approach is definitely the best way to do this. The issue with that is the amount of space it takes up. I did a lot of research and calling around about making a mini rig with a gyro, but they all seemed too large for what I need it for. I'm going to try out the memory foam casing this weekend and see how it works. Thanks
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#6 Jaron Berman

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:28 PM

You also may be surprised how different parts of the helicopter vibrate to different degrees or frequencies. As a rule of thumb - try mounting to something on the floor or bolted to the floor (in military helicopter) - most of the rest of the machine will be more likely to vibrate. And forget about anything on the sides or top - that's all basically aerodynamic and cosmetic. Id say experiment mounting in lots of different sports to see which shake the least. And you can alway go for the "all of the above" approach - us every tool at your disposal like the DSLR with image stabilization mounted in vibration dampening foam or through the specific vibration dampening rubber-type matts (can do wonders at the mount points) - use multiple mount points triangulated to the camera itself (like the way you mount with suction cups on a car), and don't overlook post stabilization in your editing program. If your final delivery is 720p or SD, shooting 1080p can give you some wiggle room to "smoothcam" the image.
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#7 Christopher Brown

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 03:25 PM

Those are some great tips, Jaron. I'm going to try mounting the cam to the floor and I'll run a pass in post this next time around for sure. Thanks, I really appreciate it.
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#8 RANDY RADZAVICH

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:44 PM

Kenyon Laboratories rents gyros from $200 - $300 a week, depending on the model. There are also rental houses out there that do daily rentals depending on your location.

Call us if you have any questions toll free in the US 800-253-4681

I am always willing to work with you to find a solution to your needs.

Best of luck,

Randy Radzavich

General Office Assistant

Kenyon Laboratories, LLC
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