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Old August 27th, 2002, 11:39 AM   #1
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Aerial shots

Hi,
I'm planning to take some aerial shots with the XL-1 from an ultralight autogiro aircraft.
Does anyone have any experience with this? The aircraft resembles a helicopter, but needs airspeed to stay in the air, albeit very little.
I intend to use the standard zoom, at wide angle with of course the image stabilizer ON.
There will be tons of light (Southern Spain), so high shutterspeed for crisp movement. Perhaps a polarizer.
I'm going to hand-hold the camera, although I might try to fix it between the landing gear. But I fear that this will transmit more vibrations from the craft's structure....
Any more suggestions?
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Old August 27th, 2002, 04:43 PM   #2
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I've not had much luck mounting cameras to a planes structure. Too much vibration from plane and wind. Polarizers have given me mixed results. Your sucess will depend on time of day, angle to the sun etc. I would try some shoots with a polarizer and some without if you can change it. The same goes for high shutter speed. The rotation of the prop may look strange if it is in the shot. My best shots have been with the wide to med. tele position on bright days, so you should do fine. Good luck.

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Old August 27th, 2002, 05:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Jeff.
The prop is behind (a "push"), so that's no problem, but I hadn't thought of that.
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Old August 28th, 2002, 08:09 PM   #4
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along those same lines

I've shot quite a bit of footage from a float plane here in Alaska.

The biggest problem I've run into (which you will not have) is due to the concave windows in the planes. Sometimes even this will create lens flares due to the way the concave windows reflect light. All of the shots are hand held due to the limited space in floatplanes that is in close proximity to the windows. Manual zoom and focus are the only way to go with a XL1s and it's standard lens.

I tried setting up a tripod in the co-pilots seat once but it was too close to the foot pedals for safety sake.

What you are trying to do can be done, and you might look at a motorcycle or mountain bike type mount (or something close).

I saw someone do the same type of shot on a helmet cam, but can't remember who it was. Regardless, you are going to be fighting vibration the whole way.
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Old August 29th, 2002, 12:52 AM   #5
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aerial

Well, you have some of those problems licked.... no windows and the prop is in back.... another problem you won't have is speed... things go way to fast at 150/180 knots...

My only suggestion for the vibration problem is stay in the wide angle area of the lens you use.... less apparent vibration than when you use telephoto. So I guess I would say "Low and slow is the way to go!" (but not too low and not too slow...
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Old August 29th, 2002, 05:07 PM   #6
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I did it!!! I showed up with the camera, to show it to the pilot, just for a talk and he said "let's go!", so I said "OK".
It was fantastic!!! And the shots came out way better than I thought. Vibration is very low as long as I kept the camera away from everything, even my eye. So I didn't see much in the viewfinder. Used wide angle a lot. And autofocus, because I was losing focus ALL the time, in the beginning. Don't know whether it was me touching the ring or the wind (it was still 60-70 kts). With AF: OK.
Flew as low as 20 feet off the ground a couple of times, sensational!!
It was a hell of an uncomfortable ride though: I'm 6'5" so I kept pushing the pilot (in front of me) off his seat. He said he won't do it again with me (boohoo), it was a bit dangerous. And I could not walk for minutes after an hours flight. No circulation. And almost deaf cause I didn't have a helmet, which added to the experience, I must say. All in all: unforgettable.
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Old August 30th, 2002, 06:16 AM   #7
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Sounds like a lot of fun. Would love to see some of this footage.
Are you going to put up any pictures/movies?

What did you do with the polarizer and the high shutter speed?
Did ya use it? If so how did it work?

Thanks for sharing!
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Old August 30th, 2002, 07:20 AM   #8
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I really went unprepared, so didn't have a polarizer with me. It would probably have improved definition in the distant haze a bit. But on the other hand, it would have been impossible to take off the filter out there in the storm, and adjusting it would also have been diffcult. Had to hold on with two hand to the cam in order for it not to be blown away, into the rotor just behind. Had no strap on the cam.
Started off on M, as usual but changed to Av since we were turning in- and out of the setting sun and I couldn't check exposure properly. Underexposed 2 stops as the automatic always gives me overexposed images.
Have no experience putting footage on the web, what format should that be? Can I export that out of Premiere?
Thanks!!
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