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Old July 5th, 2007, 03:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
Recently there was a big debate about this issue on CML and it came down to don't use anything that will prevent you from escaping from the helicopter in a hurry after an accident. This included harnesses and taping the seat belts.

Opening a caribener is just as easy as opening a seat belt and I would much rather deal with the unlikely odds of a crash than the very likely odds of falling out of an open door.

Low flying is the most dangerous part, check that there's no risk of a ground strike, downdrafts or visual disorientation. An experienced pilot is a must for low level work.
Your right find a good pilot and then let him worry about flying.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #17
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HD101E Heli Clips at 25p

Hi David - perhaps this will help you visualise what those particular settings would look like - various heli clips throughout short promo (it's a proof version, still havn't put up the finished project)

http://www.studioscotland.co.uk/khillpromo.htm

HD101E - 25P - PAL 16:9 - Standard Lens (Wide) Strapped onto a pillow which in turn is strapped to my leg.... the idea is to keep the vibration going through the human body away from the camera (do not hold it tightly).
Use the flip out monitor for general framing.... In these shots (link) I had an assistant in the front of the chopper with an 8" monitor (I watched this)
Heli side door removed (harness on myself).

First clip was taken into Shake to make the scene track smooth.

The settings were chosen for a reason - however I would have prefered to have shot in HDV.

Stu
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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Old July 6th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #18
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If it is a fairly smooth day and you don't zoom in you can get acceptable even good results. Buy a climbing harness some nylon webbing and locking caribeners...
Bowdon - This kind of thing?

http://www.fieldandtrek.com/src/ukwm...UICLIMHARN.htm

At least there not that pricey.

Quote:
Mike Marriage
I've shot many hours from helicopters with an HD100. You can get good results but nothing even comparable with what can be achieved with a proper Wescam or similar system. Last time I asked, it was £1400/hour for standard Helo (fitted with harnesses etc), £1900/hour for Helo, Wescam and operator.

Best way to sell the Wescam is to say it is cheaper, because you can get the shots much faster and not have to keep reshooting with the wrong kit.
Steadicam is not the right tool!
Priced up then it doesn't seem that much more expensive to add the kit and operator - and like you say an experienced operator should nail the shot a lot quicker. Not at this stage sure if the helo is a (rich!) friends own chopper. I assume then that a steadicam may not only get in the way of the interior (even controls?) of the helo but would fix on the horizon only, not being able to pointed downwards?

Quote:
Liam Hall
David,

There are many different ways to get good aerial footage using planes, helicopters and even remote controlled helicopters or airships. There's pretty much something for every budget level. You don't necessarily need a gyroscopic mount when a bun-gee cord and safety harness will do the trick.

But, the easiest way for you to get great footage is to put a producers hat on and simply hire in the talent. That way you can keep your client happy whilst learning a trick or two.

You need to remember three things; aerial shooting is extremely dangerous, very expensive and if your pilot has combat experience get out of the helicopter, pronto.

Hope that helps,

Liam.
Liam - as in...if he's served in the army...don't even think about flying to shoot footage???!!

Quote:
You don't necessarily need a gyroscopic mount when a bun-gee cord and safety harness will do the trick.
So me strapped in a climbing harness (attached to a the seat belt mechanism's) and the bungee somehow attached to the camera and the chopper? I'm trying to work out how I could 'hang' the camera somehow?
I'm quite liking your suggestion of a producer's hat now!
Ironically if I was on a very tight budget but required this kind of shot I'd probably give it a go (handheld but with mocked up vibration control...) but I can't help thinking that in order to save a few quid this, due to lack of experience and the correct equipment, might end up not all together great for something which I'm sure is going to cost a lot.
I know this will be a fairly difficult shoot as the birds eye 3D visualistions may have already been produced - I'm guessing I would then have to 'reshoot' in video which will then be blended in with the animation...this is hard enough on the ground.

Stewart - that first shot from the copter is suprisingly good considering you'd used just a pillow. What/how did you strap it on with? I suppose the viewfinder and mic can be taken off making the camera less obtrusive?
A final possibility perhaps. Thanks for sharing stu....and thanks to everybody else.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #19
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Oh and Matt/Liam/UK folks - just in case it turns out to be a case of getting a pro team in for this, I don't suppose you can recall any of the company's you used/or know of (Manchester/Cheshire reason especially)?
I looked at Tyler mounts but they appear more US based, there are a couple of Wescam (what a piece of kit that is) renters but for a little extra it might be worth paying for the experience.
Castleair seem fairly prolific but are based in Cornwall.
...of course that's if I don't take the pillow route (and issues over how I would secure the camera to either myself or the chopper).
Cheers.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:11 AM   #20
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Hi David - We had some pics of the set up, but can't lay my hands on them at the moment....

1: Get a nice big fat firmish pillow (its amazing the difference foam density makes in regard to the transmission of vibration - we did various tests with video/film cameras in large model aircraft many years ago).

2: Put a strap around the pillow and around your leg (make sure the pillow is nice and secure (this all needs done in the helicopter - you get funny looks if you walk around with it strapped to your leg :-)

3: Strip your camera of unwanted bits - mic, flags on matte box...(you do not need to remove the viewfinder) anything that can bend or move - the JVC lens hood is fine. You don't want to stick the camera out the doorway anymore than you need to...

4: Put on a thick jacket (helps reduce copter vibration on your body) and yes you must wear the supplied harness & headphones.

5: Put a good thick strap around your arm/neck and onto the camera strap fittings - this is simply to stop the camera falling out the copter (and into the rotor blades - bad news) - the camera should rest on the pillow, there should be no tension on the strap.

6: Having someone in the front with a monitor is a definite plus and will help you to frame shots with ease and keep your exposure correct, particularly when the light keeps changing, if that is what you require. You set the lens to infinity - and you move the camera with your fingures from the rear, as if you were pivoting the camera on the pillow.

7: I also wear surgical gloves to keep my hands warm but still enable fine camera controls.

8: Once you've been up for 5 or 10 minutes you soon settle in, you do some dry runs so that you and the pilot get a feel for things.

9: Always remember.... SAFETY....no loose stuff in the cabin or anything that can fall out of your pockets... good communication with the pilot... plan out what you want to do. However, if you still feel a bit nervous about doing this.... then don't do it. All the best....

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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Old July 6th, 2007, 09:42 AM   #21
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I know of a number of helicopter operators in the nearby regions, but not the Manchester area. These operators often have arrangements with camera mount rental companies or their own mount. You could ask BBC Manchester who they use locally - Resources would be mostly likely people in the BBC to know.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewart Menelaws View Post
Hi David - We had some pics of the set up, but can't lay my hands on them at the moment....

1: Get a nice big fat firmish pillow (its amazing the difference foam density makes in regard to the transmission of vibration - we did various tests with video/film cameras in large model aircraft many years ago).

2: Put a strap around the pillow and around your leg (make sure the pillow is nice and secure (this all needs done in the helicopter - you get funny looks if you walk around with it strapped to your leg :-)

3: Strip your camera of unwanted bits - mic, flags on matte box...(you do not need to remove the viewfinder) anything that can bend or move - the JVC lens hood is fine. You don't want to stick the camera out the doorway anymore than you need to...

4: Put on a thick jacket (helps reduce copter vibration on your body) and yes you must wear the supplied harness & headphones.

5: Put a good thick strap around your arm/neck and onto the camera strap fittings - this is simply to stop the camera falling out the copter (and into the rotor blades - bad news) - the camera should rest on the pillow, there should be no tension on the strap.

6: Having someone in the front with a monitor is a definite plus and will help you to frame shots with ease and keep your exposure correct, particularly when the light keeps changing, if that is what you require. You set the lens to infinity - and you move the camera with your fingures from the rear, as if you were pivoting the camera on the pillow.

7: I also wear surgical gloves to keep my hands warm but still enable fine camera controls.

8: Once you've been up for 5 or 10 minutes you soon settle in, you do some dry runs so that you and the pilot get a feel for things.

9: Always remember.... SAFETY....no loose stuff in the cabin or anything that can fall out of your pockets... good communication with the pilot... plan out what you want to do. However, if you still feel a bit nervous about doing this.... then don't do it. All the best....

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.co.uk
Thanks for that Stewart - that's really helpful, should I decide on doing this.
I can't think up a way to make a 'hammock' especially having never entered a helicopter before, so that's out.
When you say camera strap fittings, are you talking about the strap on the lens/zoom of the HD1**? As far as I can see that's the only fitting...unless a strap could be connnected to the main camera handle (which the viewfind and mic is attached to?)

Thanks Brian - I guess there's Granada (and local manchester station 'Channel M' I could contact).

I'll discuss all my concerns with the client, hopefully he'll understand I'm not thinking of letting him down...since my initial thoughts I've now realised this is a hell of a lot more tricky to organise and go through with and I'd hate to hand over useless video at the end of it.
Cheers folks.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #23
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Don't attach to the lens!!!

When you say camera strap fittings, are you talking about the strap on the lens/zoom of the HD1**? As far as I can see that's the only fitting...unless a strap could be connnected to the main camera handle (which the viewfind and mic is attached to?)


Don't attach anything to the lens!!!

Either the body mounts, or just thread a strap through the handle, the sole purpose of the strap is only to stop the camera making a dash for freedom 1500 feet in the air, particularly if you should hit choppy air (turbulance).....

Stu...
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:47 PM   #24
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I had an identical job many years ago. I was hired by a real estate photographer to accompany him on a helicopter trip over Brooklyn, NY while he took photos of a rather large parcel of land. I was to get several sweeping shots of the parcel for a presentation video that the developer would edit in their offices. Since there was no camera mount I had to hand hold a shoulder mount camera (not a HD-100). There was a small sliding window in the side door that was large enough for the lens. I think the opening was intended for still photography.

Only wide angle shots worked, any shot even modestly zoomed in was too shaky to use. Not only from vibrations but from the slight variations in the helicopter's flight while hovering. I wouldn't repeat the experience, especially the resulting nausea from trying to frame a shot while the pilot would adjust the helicopter. If the client isn't willing to pay for the proper equipment then maybe they should forget it and settle with a screen grab from Google Earth!
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #25
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David,

These are all the serious players in the UK.

http://www.kftv.com/product-country-830-GBR.html

Have fun,

Liam.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #26
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I have a lot of time shooting aerials for stills; not so much video, but here's what I've learned:

Try to hire a specialist photo helicopter -- It will have a flat floor in the back with no seats so you can sit cross legged or have your feet out on the skids as needed. The pilot will better know what to do, as well.

You'll get useable shots as the chopper is moving, but won't if he's trying to hover in place. Try to shoot as the pilot is flying with the wind, not crossways to it.

Rent a gyro -- you really need one.

Don't stress about hanging out of a helicopter with the door off -- the centrifugal force keeps you in while you're shooting; otherwise you're away from the door to stay warm anyway. Keep the camera out of the airflow.

Oh -- about the ex-combat pilots: I've had experience with them here in the U.S. as well -- they're a little bit cowboy wild at times, which can be scary, but I generally trust their flying. They are also generally more willing to get a little closer and bend the flight ceiling rules as necessary....
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Old July 8th, 2007, 05:33 AM   #27
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Thanks all...ah I understand about the ex combat pliots now. I'm sure, motion sickness aside (which I'm quite prone to these days...can't even look at a fairground without reaching for a bag), it would be great fun!!
General consensus appears to be that unless dedicated pro kit is used it might turn out to be an expensive wasted trip. Unless of course (as with William's experience) the client is going up anyway to take a few stills, then it's possible I could try and some footage which may or not be salvageable. I believe part of the shoot would be to encircle a plot of land from above which would then 'morph' into this 3D animation. I guess for that to work well (the camera I presume would have to be steady for quite some time as it circles the land below rather than a couple of decent seconds worth of birds eye...

Liam - thanks for the list. I've advised the client of my concerns and I'll happily help organise an experience copter shoot, and even go up if he's going up anyway (for the aforementioned stills) but decent footage from me on this shoot is not truthfully possible.

Quote:
Don't stress about hanging out of a helicopter with the door off -- the centrifugal force keeps you in while you're shooting; otherwise you're away from the door to stay warm anyway. Keep the camera out of the airflow.
You were harnessed in right...!?!?! I believe in centrifugal force but....

Cheers Stewart...I see the handle is a much safer bet - I guess I could also strap the handle to the hand strap on the lens also - hiking/trek shops best for straps required for this?

Many thanks.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #28
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I'd be extremely iffy about filming from a helicopter with my feet on the skids. The camera will more than likely be in the slipstream for a start.

Shooting film or video is very different to stills, because you often manoeuvre the helicopter as part of the shot and you can find yourself getting into the darker parts of the helicopter's envelop.

Sitting on the floor isn't the best place in a low level crash.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 08:17 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
I'd be extremely iffy about filming from a helicopter with my feet on the skids. The camera will more than likely be in the slipstream for a start.

Shooting film or video is very different to stills, because you often manoeuvre the helicopter as part of the shot and you can find yourself getting into the darker parts of the helicopter's envelop.

Sitting on the floor isn't the best place in a low level crash.
Indeed, a few pages of research over the past couple of days suggests this isn't something you go into halfheartedly or worse ill informed...perhaps a few times up with an experienced crew and with the correct equipment (and I presume a mounted gyro system you wouldn't have to worry so much about the camera being snatched into the slipstream?) but going out all gung ho is unlikely at best to yield decent results.
Stewarts clip using a pillow works suprisingly well (I take it you sat on the chopper chair Steward and not with your legs dangling perilously?) but I think the aim of this shot is to circle around a given location rather than one or two short bursts of usable video...

Cheers...I may stick nearer to the ground in this career :)
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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:37 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
Indeed, a few pages of research over the past couple of days suggests this isn't something you go into halfheartedly or worse ill informed...perhaps a few times up with an experienced crew and with the correct equipment (and I presume a mounted gyro system you wouldn't have to worry so much about the camera being snatched into the slipstream?) but going out all gung ho is unlikely at best to yield decent results.
Stewarts clip using a pillow works suprisingly well (I take it you sat on the chopper chair Steward and not with your legs dangling perilously?) but I think the aim of this shot is to circle around a given location rather than one or two short bursts of usable video...

Yes David - I always sit on the chair with a safety harness with the side door(s) removed - I do not let the camera or myself venture outside the protection of the heli, unless it is hovering or moving slowly and the conditions are calm.

Re:Short clips - Sorry David, for the sake of time, that was the only short movie sample that is already on our site I was able to show you, with the camera and settings you mentioned... we have a good number of long movie clips with this camera at 25p settings that are shake/vibration free - just don't have time to put them up.

The type of shot you mention is not difficult to shoot, and it does not need a gyro mount or any other specialist equipment - be methodical, be safe, good comm's with the pilot and decent weather - take an assistant to help and give moral support.

As you say, you may want to stick with your feet on the ground in your career, but if you wanted to start getting into airborn work then this could be a good opportunity - everyone has to start somewhere. We are shooting a number of scenes in a few weeks cutting footage together from a full size heli and a model heli (that is fitted with gyro's) - I love working with models, you can get them to do some outragous moves.... will try and post some clips when it's done.

However, as I mentioned before, if you don't feel good about it.... pass it bye... but if you do get the chance to go up with the agent for the ride - then go... enjoy.

Regards: Stu
www.studioscotland.co.uk
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