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Old February 14th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles W. Hull View Post
Mike, I'll give my view - others may differ. Once you decide to run the shutter speed up to avoid blur, then it really doesn't matter how fast you go. Let's say you went to 1/250 so you could the stop action with each frame. 1/2500 would still just stop the action, it really wouldn't look any different.
Charles, I think also a lot would have to do with helicopter height and speed. If you are flying low, pilots generally like to keep a bit of speed up in case of a problem, in this case if you are shooting at high shutter speed, yes the individual frame will be sharp but the distance travelled between frames with be great and you will see a stuttering effect whereas if you had been shooting at 1/50 sec (1/60) you would have had a slight blurring creating an easier viewing picture.

I have done a lot of low level (down to 30ft) along the dramatic coastlines here, although it was on a betacam, when I tried going to higher shutter speeds the video looked terrible.

Bob

These 2 video's were shot handheld just leaning right out the helicopter, so that I could look straight ahead. The pilot dropped the airspeed right back and occassionally we were low enough to get spray over the copter


Last edited by Bob Thompson; February 14th, 2010 at 05:33 PM. Reason: additional link
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Old February 15th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #17
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Nice aerial footage, Bob. :)
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Old February 15th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #18
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Mike you really need a gyro mount that is isolated from the machine to get proper aerials. Hand held work then using software stabilizer afterwards makes the picture loose the detail and shutter while going soft as you can see in Bob's footage. Don't get me wrong Bob did an excellent job for hand held and that takes a real skill. It just looks to me like the footage was stabilized afterwards which removes the detail in the rocks and the waves.

1/60 if you are shooting 30p is the shutter you need to use. If you go up in shutter it should only be for pulling stills the video will not have the smooth natural look we are all trying to capture.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 04:46 AM   #19
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Paul,

You are correct that it was run through stabilising software, but we keep the stabilisation to a mininium. The biggest problem with the blurring of the rocks was the speed we were travelling over the rocks and the closeness to the rocks. The heli pilot is one of the best I have ever worked with, he was able to skew the copter so although I was outside the copter I was virtually sitting besides the pilot. The pilot dropped the airspeed to around 45 knots but it is still very windy out in the slipstream.

For a light and small camera like a 5DM2 or 7D I would definetly go with a gyro. The other problem is viewing the LCD. I would suggest that you run the AV cable to a small monitor (or as I do to the input on a dv camera) so that somebody else is able to judge the steadiness of your shot and also to make sure that the copter is not in shot.

Aerial work is fun but not for the faint hearted
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #20
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Bob I think you did an amazing job. My point is the goal should be to not use stabilizing software then you know you nailed the shot. A lot of what I see in your footage is the stabilizer it is different then motion blur from flying. Again don’t get me wrong for holding a full size camera on your shoulder you were able to get amazing footage and I know how hard that is to do. Not many can achieve what you did handholding.

Does look like you had a good pilot and that makes all the difference. I have flown with about 20 different helicopter pilots over the years and there are now only 4 I will fly with out of that group who know how to fly while video is being shot. I am sure there are more I just have not had the opportunity to fly with them.

Being able to crab sideways at 45 kts and be smooth is one of the many skills a pilot needs to help the shooter. Also my main pilot who I fly/shoot about 60 days a year with also has a monitor. With out the monitor the pilot cannot help you frame the shot. It is a must and if a producer is in the front seat he can see his footage as it is being shot and talk it through with the shooter.

As for being out in the slipstream I think that is not nearly as efficient as being on a gyro mount. We are able to do 65 degree down angle and 40 degrees side to side. Not as nice as a ball mount but then we are the price.

I have not shot video with my 7d from the machine since it will not match the setup we have developed for years. But one of these days I need to bring it along when we are shuttling to a job and have two KS-8’s hooked up on a old rig. If i do this I will post my findings and show the rig. It will be a great learning curve. But after being so long winded Bob is right use gyros at least one but two is always better.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #21
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Paul, Any helicopter filming is expensive, in Hong Kong it is aprox US$3500 per hour, so I hope that all our suggestions are of some help for those going up in a helicopter the first time.

For handholding large cameras in a helicopter I would suggest holding the camera under the arm. It is a lot easier to absorb vibrations that way.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:31 AM   #22
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Agree Bob it is expensive. Wow $3500/hr is very expensive.

Under the arm makes sense. How did you shoot straight down?

I am only trying to pass along experience with my mistakes. Believe me I have made my mistakes. I remember the first times I shot from a machine years ago it was hand held and I loved the footage. Was it shaky? YES! But I still loved it and the client used some of it but not much.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 06:45 AM   #23
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Paul, All my filming is in Country Park (National parks) areas and we fly at a maximum of 100ft so no need to look down.

Yes, US$3500 per hour is expensive but we only have 2 weeks weather a year that is suitable for aerial work so its not too bad.
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Old February 16th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #24
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What a beautiful subject to shoot. Makes sense to dive in for the two weeks if that is all you get. We fly year round in New England and have had to deal with some nasty weather getting home. Also some low flying. For Discovery we did 60 kt crabbing fly bys of boats at 15 feet day and night Fun stuff

For people who can't afford or have access to gyros try some of the follow with your 5d:
1. Cine saddle this is an amazing simple piece of gear. On your lap with the camera in the saddle. Remember to tie in the saddle and camera FAA code in the US. For that matter tie in everything you do not want anything to hit the tail that is disaster.
2. Use a shoulder brace with the spring off the waist. I think this is DVtec that sells this setup. I did this off a Zacuto shoulder brace for years with no gyro, then one, then two with decent success.
3. Stay wide with your glass and learn how to focus with a FF and whip or a remote focus.
4. One of my strong opinions is only fly/shoot with pilots who have over 2000 hrs. This is a huge additional strain on the pilot so use someone that is dialed into their job.
5. Shoot take off and landing you will learn a ton from this footage since you are so close to the ground that you need to adjust fast and smooth. Most of it might be junk but no worry do this for the learning.
6. Have fun it is a blast
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