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Old September 24th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #1
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Airshow - Tomorrow!

Hey...

I'm going to go shoot (video only) at an airshow tomorrow just for fun...maybe to post on Vimeo and my website if I get interesting stuff.

I'll be using a variety of lenses & ND filters but I got to thinking about settings and really have no idea. I'm thinking of shooting everything at 720P 60 so I don't have to monkey with settings once I get cooking.

Recommendations...Ideas...?

Also it's going to be hot so I am concerned about overheating (just have the one body so no swapping out). Cold packs a reasonable idea to stave off the inevitable overheating?

LH
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Old September 24th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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Not sure what you mean by "Monkey with settings" and what shooting at 720 60p would solve other than the ability to do slow mo.

Personally I think the dslrs look fantastic in 1080 and scaling down is always better than up.

Since your shooting for fun, you will have the luxury of shutting the camera down whenever needed to keep it cool. The ice packs do work but only for about 5-10 min so you may need a bunch of them.

Make sure you use the nd filters and keep the shutter constant at 60. My early shooting aircraft I used high shutter speeds and ended up stopping the blades or reversing or slowmo which was not great.



In any case post some footage! I'm an aviation nut. I've hooked up with our local air museum to shoot all their aircraft including a B17 and B25. Already done the ground videos and have a meeting tonight to discuss the aerial footage which we may get access to a cineflex system on a eurocopter!
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Old September 24th, 2010, 07:36 PM   #3
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Monkey with the settings meant hopping back back and forth between 720 for slo mo and 1080...as I know there is some stuff I want for slo mo. I suppose I just figured...screw it by the time it gets through the Vimeo compression, 720 for everything would be fine.

Thanks for the input.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #4
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I've done this around the world for the past 25yrs (or longer I hate to think)

I get a program and block it out for a shooting schedule, write times in the margin. Usually 1/2 way through the schedule goes to hades, that's when it gets interesting. Don't be afraid to ask questions at the dias just front up smiling.

You don't say what camera you have but I recommend, with a DSLR don't try to capture everything you see half baked, focus on some and make a really good job of them even if you only shoot 15mins. That'll help the hot cam problem and there'll be other airshows you can add to.

Learn to shoot with both eyes open it really helps at airshows.

For take offs ideally position yourself elevated and back from the crowd so you see things speeding up in the foreground. Then position yourself next to the PA to get some narrative during the displays .. stay at least 5 secs ahead of what's happening in the air and let some fly out frame to edit later.

Yes a cam speed faster than 60 will strobe propellor blades whatever revs they're doing. I think a very few 4 motor airplanes look OK but if you strobe all of them you'll hate it later.

A tripod at a flying display is not fast enough, I only use one for the static displays. F15s in afterburner can really mess of your sound up, you won't need headphones anyhow.

Always carry identification, a list of my gear, water, sunblock, earplugs and energy bars. Don't worry, have fun and good luck.

Robert what is your local air museum? I'm the video producer for the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Inc | Cnr Boomerang Avenue & Airport Road, Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail NSW 2527, Australia. and we have a Convair 440 we're slowly restoring at the PIMA air museum in Az. We're going to fly it around US airshows then home via Europe. btw not my videos on the home page.

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Old September 24th, 2010, 09:12 PM   #5
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CAF Museum in Mesa. http://www.azcaf.org/ Just got done with the meeting and we've settled on a date when we will have a few Mustangs, a Spitfire, SNJ's, Stearmans, C45, DC3, T28, a gaggle of YAK52/YinChangs and who knows what else will be flying. A Bearcat has also been spotted around the area. Of course the B17 and B25 will be taking multiple passenger flights that day too. Will also have several Tuskeegee Airmen, WASPs and other WWII heroes in attendance. I'm going to cut a short promo from the footage I took last year and will post as soon as that's done.
Can't wait as this really is the blend of my two passions!

Back to some tips, second your advice on the tripod being too slow. Monopod is much easier. I will be using my dslr shoulder rig which has a QR plate for my monopod so I get the best of both if needed. Monopod is very helpful with heavier lenses like the 70-200 and 100-400 which for in-flight shooting will be great lens choices. Just remember with the zoom lenses, they must be constant aperture to use the zoom during video. My 100-400 will not work for zooms. Just have to set it and hope to frame the shot before the plane is gone! The 70-200 is fantastic but not always long enough throw.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys. I have a little over 1100 hours in slicks and snakes (a long time ago in a southeast asian galaxy far far away). I think leaning to drive those things around is easier that learning to shoot them.

I see your point on the tripod but not to many places I can run out and snag a monopod in the morning. I was actually inspired to go do this by the little airshow film Philip Bloom has on his site where he clearly was on a tripod since he was shooting on a big video camera with a Letus adapter. I am not trying to document the show. I just want lots of little bits of "interesting" stuff.

I have had the 7D for about 4 months now so this will be a great learning exercise.
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Old September 24th, 2010, 11:28 PM   #7
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Allan.

Do you have any news on the Beaufighter airworthiness restoration? I have heard that HARS took over the UK project, some of which was apparently Rob Greinert's original project.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 12:25 AM   #8
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Lock focus to inf. and use full zoom!

I had access, authorized by the Air Boss, to a very lonely shoot location just 200 yds off the main taxiway at show center. It was still very (very) difficult to anticipate where these planes would go...
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Old September 25th, 2010, 12:45 AM   #9
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Looks like I was a bit late but here goes with the amended post anyway. You should be well pleased with what you got. The spin and that airflow detachment at the top of the loop were good catches. Direct overheads are very hard if not impossible with conventional tripods.


I personally favour using a tripod, in my case an older Miller which is not cam balanced, therefore does not have any hard spots across the transition.

I also use two tripod handles, once facing forward on the left which enables me to monster the drag on the tripod without tipping the whole thing over but also as an arm rest when I get weary and support when working the big lens controls. It is not the ideal system by any means. I would dearly like to have a servo lens instead of the manual.

I put the tripod centre at comfortable height which enables me to see-saw the tilt and keep a smoother control over it. I try to keep the legs spread fairly narrow to allow walkspace around it. It tend to place two legs to front and one to rear so there is only one leg to avoid when walking around. Try to have your viewfinder at centre of the tripod pivot which will make your rig noseheavy without ballast on it. This saves you having to squat down or tiptoe too much when you tilt.

With your Canon, you might examine putting a crossarm on the tripod head and offsetting the camera to the left on the arm by about 250mm - 300mm ( 8" to 12" ) so you can get your head in back of it without giving yourself a dislocation. Try to leave all manner of junk around after you have picked your spot to occupy your walkspace until you are ready to start. As soon as anyone has seen you set up with anything that looks even half-professional they will crowd you.

The two cam setup in the image is one cam with a long reach and the other a standard camera with a little overlap between the zoom range of the two. Both are harmonised on a common object at the long end of their common view. This is important as most cams drift offcentre as you zoom in. The wide cam is used to aquire then the long cam to follow. The wide cam view remains as a backup to cut to.

Except for formations, most wide views are about as inspiring as watching blowflies in a butcher shop window, so I try to get in as close as I can to pick up control movements and the pilot inside when possible.

Smoke trails are your friend if you lose the shot. Pick up the smoke trail and simply follow it to the aircraft. Mostly I concur with the 1/50th sec or so shutter speed, however occasional shots with 1/150th sec look cool with big aircraft like the DHC Caribou with the slowturning radials. Apparent clarity is also improved as there is inevitable motion blur when you follow as the aircraft floats about in your frame.

In framing aerobatics, give your aircraft plenty of nose-room, also frame it low at the bottom of figures, high at the tops so that you have time to react to sudden changes in direction. With jets, you may be better off handholding.

If you have access to the display pilots or their aircraft beforehand, they will have a card pinned to the panel to guide them through their sequence. If you know the sequence, you are then able to anticipate with your follows as you know which way the aircraft is going to go - as long as the pilot is not forced to alter it, eg., strong winds taking him out of the display box.

The hardest part is knowing what is coming next. The performance has usually started by the time you catch on, then about a quarter of it can be done by the time you aquire and tidy up. Enquire if you can where the holding area ( airbourne ) will be so you can glance there from time to time to see if an aircraft is about to come in for its display.

Make yourself a hood for the camera if you are using the backscreen.


Here's some web addresses for your interest.

SECOND PHOTO OF RIG FOR IMAGING AIRCRAFT. By Bob Hart On ExposureRoom

HELICOPTER ROTOR STRIKE ON AIR PYLON By Bob Hart On ExposureRoom

YouTube - CITY LANDING.mp4

YouTube - CHIPMUNK DUO.mp4

YouTube - BOB GRIMSTEAD MULTI ASSY..wmv


I make no claims to being good at this and am only stating my personal preferences.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 03:01 AM   #10
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Bob, that's pretty cool setup. I use a similar rig I made from a pair of 1x3" aluminum hollow square stock in an "L" shape. My hmc150 and t2i (now a 7d) both mounted to it with qr plates and the whole thing mounted to either a tripod, monopod or shoulder rig with qr plate. Looks pretty ridiculous but it's such a handy way to shoot aircraft and a lot of other stuff. Typically my hmc150 would get the closeup duty even though it doesn't have that great a throw and the dslr would have my tokina 11-16mm for super wide. Now that I have the 100-400mm L for my 7d, I think the roles may change.
Great to see someone else use such a crazy rig and get such cool results!

And here I go giving away another secret...a great place to practice filming aircraft is at an R/C club. Airshows don't happen all that often but r/c guys fly every weekend (I was one of those guys for over 20 years!)
Find the largest club in your area and start filming. What you will soon realize is that planes are somewhat limited in the way they change direction and once you know what you're looking at, you will be able to predict moves and follow much more smoothly. Aerobatic pilots have a basic set of maneuvers that make up any routine. Most of the more violent tricks have a specific setup that you can begin to recognize...similar to a poker players "tell". If you really want to get good at filming, get in to the hobby and you will learn exactly what an airplane can and can't do. Makes following the real ones much easier as they are much larger and less capable than the r/c planes. (plus it's a heck of a lot of fun AND you can mount cameras to them!)
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Old September 25th, 2010, 07:14 AM   #11
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Robert.


Agreed on the R/C scale aircraft which are actually a harder task. If you can skill up to lock frame on those, the fullscale aircraft are an easier hold. In my situation, getting access to aircraft and R/C aircraft is about the same degree of difficulty.

I am lucky enough to be about a half-hour's drive from the busiest light GA airport in the Southern Hemisphere ( Jandakot ) and an hour's drive from Serpentine where the Sport Aircraft Builder's Club members have their own airfield or Murrayfield which is RACWA's own airfield. Someone there is highly likely to be flying aerobatics on weekends.

There is a bit of an ethical sting in the tail however. Sometimes someone will make unwise decisions when a camera is around. When I attend a club event, I make it known that if I observe developing unnecessary risk taking by people I know to be borderline or underskilled for what they are doing, I will pan the camera off the shot and walk away from the tripod. So far it seems to have worked.

Another good practice subject is seabirds on a windy day, preferably near a steep slope or precipice.

Last edited by Bob Hart; September 25th, 2010 at 07:28 AM. Reason: error
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Old October 16th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
Allan.

Do you have any news on the Beaufighter airworthiness restoration? I have heard that HARS took over the UK project, some of which was apparently Rob Greinert's original project.
Sorry Bob I missed you question first time round. Here's progress on the fuselage as of last May, still proceeding I don't believe it'll be completed by Xmas.

Work Progressing on Beaufighter

Cheers.
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Old October 17th, 2010, 08:06 AM   #13
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Allan.


As "Enry" said to "Gladys" after she asked him if he had done any good on entering the house from the path to the outdoors privy. "Everything comes to he who sits and waits - long enough."

Only kidding there. If you can remember "Henry and Gladys" and "My Name's McGooley, What's Yours" you will be giving your age away.


Thanks for that update.

My late father flew this aircraft type during WW2 in the Pacific, hence my interest. I went up to Morotai in 1994 to see if I could find his aircraft, only to discover that all the wrecks had been scrapmetalled against the islanders' wishes in 1983. I left behind two photographic scrapbooks, one at the base which doubles as the civilian airport and the other at the "middle school" just out of Daruba.

There apparently was some move to have the aeroplane dump treated as a heritage item because some 25 Allied and 25 Japanese vets and other tourists visited the island each year. But the people who stood to gain held sway over the political apparatus in Jakarta and that was that.

In 1994 in the Komplex Militar, there remained two road graders said to be in operable condition left over from the American construction battalions.

What a pity because that and the dumps at the other bases could have been pig-heaven for the warbird restorers.
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Old October 17th, 2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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As an aside you might like to see what's going on with the one being restored at Duxford. Looked at it briefly last Saturday (I was there as I was supposed to go up filming in a Dragon Rapide - but that got cancelled due to non-clearing mist!).

The Fighter Collection - Beaufighter

Sorry for the off-topic post...back to cameras now!
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Old October 17th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #15
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Just an update on the big event coming up here on Nov 13. We had the preliminary meeting with all the involved parties and it looks like we will have the joy of doing air to air shooting of the B17 and B25 from a custom Eurocopter with a Sony HDC1500 in a cineflex system. AND it looks like we may be able to shoot during the golden hour against the mountains! We will also be covering the daytime portion on the ground and snagging interviews with some Tuskegee Airmen, WASPs, various other heroes, AND Bud Anderson who was a P51 triple- ace!! We also may be shooting from the handy camera position they built into the B-25!!!
I will be picking up my new XF300 tomorrow so that just adds to the excitement!
I have some other news about a rare event happening the week before this one...but until I get confirmation, I don't want to jinx it. Just know that if you're in the Phoenix area the week of Nov 7, you will want to pay attention to this thread and have your cameras locked and loaded!
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