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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:47 PM   #1
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steadicam in helicopter?

Hey gys have u ever tryed a steadicam in Helicopter?Just an idea to avoid the shaky moves from the air....
Let me know

thx
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Old April 12th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #2
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Yes I have shot with an SK and a DSR500 out a removed Jet Ranger door. It works fine, kind of cramped, though not as well as a dedicated Heli mount (ie Wescam there are others). If you are going to the expense to rent a helicopter the price for the right rig from a rental house (Rule in Boston for example) is not much considering how much easier and safer the shooting will be.

The big thing is you need to remove the door, shooting through plexy looks awfull. Or use a nose mount.

There are a lot of FAA rules about how to rig a camera man correctly. At the very least wear the seatbelt an gaffer tape the latch so you don't accidently unlatch it when you are hanging out.

J3 Kubs make good slow shooting platforms too.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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Olof,thank you 4 the reply!
Unf i won't have the $ to rent heli-stabilizers so i gotta do it by myself!Do u have your footage uploaded somewhere ?I'm very curious about that!

Happy Easter

MM
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Old April 12th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post

There are a lot of FAA rules about how to rig a camera man correctly. At the very least wear the seatbelt an gaffer tape the latch so you don't accidently unlatch it when you are hanging out.

.
I wouldn't gaffer tape the seat belt, you'll never get out in an emergancy. Electrical tape seems the best compromise that I've seen, you'll be able to pull the latch open because the tape will stretch.

I did a Steadicam shot with a 35mm film rig, it didn't work because it was too large and you couldn't move the sled enough as the helicopter turned. There used to be a compact helicopter Steadicam sled for doing this, but I don't think it was that successful,
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Old April 12th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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The first helishot in this video was with the stedicam SK and a DSR500.

Westside A V Studios Videos

In some of the other links there is Stedicam from Boats, and heli using Westscam system.

The Gaffer tape is a FAA requirement, it is always good practice to double over the end of gaffer tape so it is easy to remove even with feet solid on the planet in non emergency situations.
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Old April 12th, 2009, 06:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
T
The Gaffer tape is a FAA requirement, it is always good practice to double over the end of gaffer tape so it is easy to remove even with feet solid on the planet in non emergency situations.
I know one of the top US aerial cameramen regards this as dangerous. I'd be more worried about removing it in a sinking helicopter, gaffer tape is tough stuff and I suspect overkill. I'm saying having had a seat buckle come loose filming over NY City.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #7
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Thx 4 the link...What exactly is a Gaffer tape on helicopter?
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Old April 13th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #8
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Quote: "Thx 4 the link...What exactly is a Gaffer tape on helicopter?"

I did not mean to stir up controversy with my comment on safety.

Gaffer tape is the usually 2" wide tape used in theatre and film etc, to temporarily hold things, like scrims reflectors wire etc. It is usually black, a lot like duct tape but much higher quality, easy to peel off and usually leaves no residue.

The point I wanted to make was simply that it is dangerous to hang out the side of a helicopter, even though your feet are on the skids.

Even with the seatbelt on your lap, especially if you are concentrating on shooting, it is easy to rub up against the seatbelt buckle and undo it without noticing, so (in my opinion and the FAA thinks so too) it is a good Idea to wrap tape around the buckle, so it is hard to undo by mistake. I don't mean wrap duct tape around buckle 5-10 times. Use real gaffer tape and wrap just enough (1 1/2 wraps is good) and leave a folded over flap for undoing.

Whenever I use gaffer tape I always fold over the end on the roll, that way it is easy to grab the next strip. And it makes it easy to peel of whatever you attach it to. I would absolutely recommend doing this on a seatbelt buckle, take some time to think about how to quickly get undone if need be.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #9
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ah ok then...
I remember few years ago a cameraman the felt from the helicopter to the sea (few meters),he didn't even injured himselfj just a bath in the sea...
He has been lucky
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Old April 13th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olof Ekbergh View Post
Quote:
Even with the seatbelt on your lap, especially if you are concentrating on shooting, it is easy to rub up against the seatbelt buckle and undo it without noticing, so (in my opinion and the FAA thinks so too) it is a good Idea to wrap tape around the buckle, so it is hard to undo by mistake. I don't mean wrap duct tape around buckle 5-10 times. Use real gaffer tape and wrap just enough (1 1/2 wraps is good) and leave a folded over flap for undoing.
Gaffer tape is very strong. Taping is fine, but you don't need to use 2" wide gaffer tape. I'd roll with it more using camera tape rather gaffer, which is very variable in quality and can be extremely difficult to remove at times, especially the cheap stuff.

The last time I was shooting from a helicopter the pilot used electrical insulating tape, which seems the most sensible. You won't occidentally brush it open the belt, but you can pull it open (because of the tape stretch) in a emergency like a crash without searching for tape ends or flaps.

There was a huge debate on CML on this subject last year. I wouldn't tape the buckle on a certified helicopter mount, because you don't move around when using one of those, it's a shooting hand held out the door issue.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:01 AM   #11
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You should look into stabilizers over steadicam for heli shooting. Safety from what I have read from the Steadicam operators is a HUGE issue in helicopters. The consensus from my reading is it is not recommended. Stabilizers are the way to go and this is from Steadicam people. Have a look at Kenyon stuff for starters. There is a Steadicam forum and there is a fair amount of stuff on this matter on their site.
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Old February 20th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #12
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"The Gaffer tape is a FAA requirement"

I'm sorry but I think your FAA is just absolutely crazy and will open themselves up to any number of lawsuits by that regulation. Here in Australia we have the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and we may well have the same requirement, though I have never heard of it, but if they did require gaffer I would let them book me and see them in court. I honestly can't remember how many helicopters (or types) I have shot out of over the years, but i have learnt that electrical tape is the only practical way of ensuring you can release the buckle quickly. Of course if they replaced the stupid "flick-type" buckles with a button type in these machines we wouldn't need this discussion.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 09:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Andrew Stone View Post
You should look into stabilizers over steadicam for heli shooting. Safety from what I have read from the Steadicam operators is a HUGE issue in helicopters...Stabilizers are the way to go and this is from Steadicam people. Have a look at Kenyon stuff for starters.
A thread from the past... Just correcting something I stated a couple of posts up. For stability in a helicopter gyros are the way to go. Keynon Labs are the go-to-people for gyros. You will often have 2 or more going on a rig in a heli shoot. Consider renting as they are not cheap and require maintenance every couple of years.

Kenyon Laboratories--Kenyon Gyro Stabilizers for cinematography, cameras and binoculars.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:19 PM   #14
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According to the Steadicam Operator's Handbook, Do not use a Steadicam in a helicopter.

See page 9 of this review:
The Steadicam Operator's Handbook Review
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