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Old February 13th, 2008, 05:41 AM   #1
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Suggestion and Survey: Aerial Shoots

I have been researching Aerial photography as a hobby and I have noticed a great deal of excitement and interest in the subject through out the forum. I have also enjoyed the insights and advice that people have provided. I would love to see a dedicated forum specifically for Aerial shots to collect the experiences and questions in one place. I have searched the general term aerial and helicopter etc. and have found great stuff and much jealousy for those people who got to fly. I most want to know:

How much have you paid for an Aerial Shoot?
length of time?
equipment used? including vibration control
Aircraft?
Altitude?
location?
type of production?
and How much of that shoot was used in the final product?

I am also interested in less conventional aircraft such as RC planes, helicopters, ultralights, hot air balloons and anything in the air taking a picture.

I think it would be neat to get a rule of thumb estimate for a shoot
a high. low and average price
and an idea of $$$/frame

I will tabulate the data in a nice spread sheet and post again.

Thanks for sharing your experience

I would also love to see the forum be created. (hint, hint)

Last edited by Norm Becerra; February 13th, 2008 at 03:31 PM. Reason: suggestion from Helen
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Old February 13th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #2
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Hi Norm, I can answer most of your questions with regard to my experience.

Cost:
US $274.00

Duration:
1 hour (total footage recorded is approx. 40 minutes, since the pilot begins charging from the time the propeller starts to the time the aircraft comes to a halt back at the hangar)

Equipment:
AG-DVC100A camcorder only. No other special equipment however, I'm using the Mercalli Expert stabilizing software in Adobe Premiere to smooth out some aircraft jitters.

Aircraft:
Cessna 4-seater

Altitude:
1,000 feet

Location:
Trinidad & Tobago

Type of production:
Nature video

How much used in the video: Still editing and am some weeks away from finishing so I can't answer that yet.

Last edited by Helen Habib; February 13th, 2008 at 11:01 AM. Reason: To include "Altitude"
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Old February 13th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #3
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Thanks

Wow fun. Included in the Spreadsheet I will learn how to make a map on Google Earth to mark all the great locations. And one more thing altitude (estimated)? Not necessary but fun for Google Earth. Thanks for including software as "special equipment" that will add a lot to the thread. Norm

Last edited by Norm Becerra; February 13th, 2008 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Typo in title
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Old February 13th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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Okay, I added in the altitude to the post above. (Perhaps you can also edit your original post to include it in your questions. That way it won't be missed out.)

:-) Sounds like an interesting project.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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It's best to remember that aerial filming is dangerous and quite a few people have been killed or seriously injured over the years.

Quite a few professional camera people refuse to do it and others, who regularly undertake aerial work, are extremely cautious regarding safety. They're extremely insistent in only working with experienced movie pilots in well maintained aircraft.

At the very least, you should only go filming with a very experienced commercial pilot who won't push the boundaries of safety and aviation law. However, you won't get the best results from pilots who are inexperienced at film work, because the good pilots fly the camera and you just do the final framing.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input

I agree flying is dangerous much more so when a camera is involved. My friend lost her twin sister (nature cinematographer) in Thailand several years back to a plane accident on the way to a shoot I believe. Thats why a dedicated forum would be great because it would help people determine risk as well reward of their aerial expeditions. I think documenting and sharing the world at large is not for the feint of heart. The film and video community has lost a great deal of people to wars, animals and mishap over the years but many of us are willing to go there and do the work and take the risk for our craft. Studying the craft of aerial filming could lead to techniques and considerations that could save peoples lives, including the people in the air and the subjects on the ground. Personally I think there should be more aerial filming in the world but maybe with a safer aircraft manned or unmanned.
Thanks for you input.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #7
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Hi Norm

My aerial filming experience: 1time

Cost: 500 Australian Dollars (I think)
Duration: 50 minutes (1 hour)
Equipment: XL2 (standard lens), stabilized in post (Mercalli)
Aircraft: some two sited, top winged airplane that was so small that I almost hit the pilot in the head when I moved my camera around.
Altitude: ? donít know, I looked in my VF, I hope that the pilot looked at the altitude meter
Location: followed the Yarra River in Victoria/Australia
Production: Wildlife
Used videotime: 1-1,5 minute
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #8
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Funny

You made me laugh thinking about how tight that plane must have been and knocking out the pilot would have been bad for the shot. Thanks
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:53 AM   #9
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Here are 2 shots from the height I was videotaping. 1,000 feet - but it's too high. I think the ideal is 500 feet, but I suppose that depending on what you need it for, that would determine what height is good. In my case, the pilot just refused to go any lower than 1,000.

Markus, can I ask which profile setting you used in Mercalli to straighten out the aerial jitters?
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #10
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The pics now.
Attached Images
  
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #11
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Nice shots :)

Did you have a window open? the second shot looked like you were pointing the camera almost straight down. And hypothetically speaking in a perfect world with no risk how low would you have gone if the pilot would have taken you there?
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Old February 14th, 2008, 05:45 PM   #12
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The windows were closed, the pilot wouldn't permit the videoman to film through the window. I was at the back right where it can't open at all. At the point this shot was taken, the aircraft had just turned and perhaps we were still at a tilt.

I would have like to have been about 300 feet. That would be very safe, no tree tops to get tangled up in.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:50 PM   #13
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$2000 per hour for a bell jet ranger equipped with Wescam gyro stabilized ball, pilot and remote camera operator.

Superb footage except when the 40X zoom is fully zoomed in at which point there is pretty heavy vibration.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 08:41 PM   #14
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My little bit of enjoyment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdMgDdks8MY


Camera Sony PD150.

Eight hours airtime came at no cost, courtesy of Royal Aero Club of Western Australia members who gave me a seat whilst I was trying to develop a compact passive stabiliser on a no-budget.

It can be made to work as is but the ratio of usable footage to rubbish is still unacceptable, - more work to do.

As a quid pro quo, I cover from the ground, the annual W.A. Light Aircraft Championships to provide an archive and a judging aid if needed.

I also provide some assistance pro-bono for performance analysis for aerobatic pilots.

I have a personal policy which I make known beforehand, that in the event of observing behaviour which is intended to please the crowd?? but is excessive risk taking, I will turn the camera away from the subject and walk away.


Aircraft :-


Cessna 152 - very confined workspace.

Cessna 172 - confined workspace - rear seat is better.

Mooney - confined workspace.

Piper 120?? - The green one in the YouTube clip. - Confined workspace but forward placement of the instrument panel makes for great quarter-on rearfacing views of the pilot without risking interference with controls.

DH "Tiger Moth" - no stabiliser.


Previously without stabiliser - not in video clip.

Piper Cherokee Six. - Door-off ops. - Tethered by a parachute harness to airframe and appropriate lanyard for camera (Bolex film) filming exiting skydivers.

Britten - Norman Islander - Door-off ops. - Tethered by a parachute harness to airframe and appropriate lanyard for the camera (CP16 film), filming exiting skydivers through rear side door.

Filming without glass in the way is absolutely the best. However safety is the first consideration. Don't encourage pilots to step outside of their experience and competence.

You need to pre-emptive in this regard and take the trouble to learn of the risks as your "encouraging" may be entirely passive and simply a product of your being there with a camera.

In close company of another aircraft, be mindful of the effect on aircraft CofG of your own movements in the aircraft as you shift about for a better camera position. Let the pilots know beforehand so they can increase separation, let the others know and no surprises occur.

Doing a somersault from right front seat into rear left seat to get that shot whilst the aircraft is ship number two in an echelon left is really not on.

The headset and cords are a curse when camera operating in confined space, especially if you have the camera on a safety lanyard as well, which you all do - right?

Communications however are paramount, so keep the headset and learn to deal with it. Overhearing the radio traffic may be your only hint when the pilot's workload is ramping up and that you should sit still and be quiet.


Altitudes.

Formations. - Safe altitudes as dictated by local air traffic conditions, mostly 1000ft - 1500ft.

Skydivers. - Exits at 12,000 feet.


Locations.

Formations. - Over water, south-west and west of Perth City, Western Australia.

Skydives. - Pilbara region, Western Australia.


Production.

Technical Experiment. Building archive for future project "Plane Junkie".
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Old February 16th, 2008, 03:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen Habib View Post
Markus, can I ask which profile setting you used in Mercalli to straighten out the aerial jitters?

I think I used shouldercam, senic view, (intenced rendering) (or how it's spelled).

My photo was pretty stabil from the beginning (at least the few minutes I used :D ).
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