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Old February 19th, 2015, 04:07 PM   #31
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

Jeroen - Hey, thanks for the field trip report!

Just wondering how was the turbulence? Seems like it might have been a little bumpy. Were you able to get up early in the morning before the wind kicked up?

Also wondering about the strut and landing gear - was it a problem shooting past them? From a FCPX stabilization standpoint, I've found that when there is something like that in the foreground that has one motion and the background has another, the stabilization has a tough time with that and the video becomes jello.

Was there enough room with the open window (it doesn't open that wide) to get the shot you needed without interference?

One of my favorite jello stabilization jobs was a buoy (on the water) in the foreground that was swinging from wave action and land in the far distance (not moving at all). The resulting stabilized video almost could make someone seasick just watching it. Well, the boat and the waves were moving too so it must have been a challenging job. It would be nice to select a part of the video that was solid, like the land, and have the stabilizing feature use it to fix everything else relative to it. Of course, in your case, the land is really moving past fast.

Well, chalk this up to a really good experience. Maybe a good business opportunity to take some videos with other pilots flying their plane.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 04:59 AM   #32
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

John, this entire week started out with mist in the morning, slowly dissolving by a nice bright sun around noon. So even though we rented the plane from 10.00-13.00, we couldn't actually leave until around 11.45. We were in the air for one hour and 16 minutes and did 2 runs down the dike: one going from south to north over the sea and one going back shooting from over land. About 10 minutes per run.
Altitude was around 1000 feet- it's birdie breeding season there and big flocks of geese are migrating as well- we weren't about to shoot wildlife, if you know what I mean... There are also a lot of small planes flying from Schiphol airport to the islands north with nice weather so we had a lot to look out for, besides the dike... ;-)

I thought turbulence wasn't too bad but that's probably because I was so concentrated on the shot I didn't even notice! Certainly over water it felt smooth. The second run over land was more bumpy but also the more interesting one, visually. It figures... Luckily the light was good either way because the sun was at its highest and pointing west.

The pilot moved to the right so I could use the only window that opens in a Cessna 172. It's big enough to shoot through, especially with my GH4. My EX3 would have bumped the jamb and caught a lot of wind. I sat twisted aiming side/backwards to my left, in order to keep metal out of the frame when shooting wide. I think I had to zoom in very slightly with the 12-35 to get a clean shot. It wasn't comfortable but definitely manageable for a 10 minute stretch. Occasionally I couldn't resist to zoom in but that was almost always a mistake. (unless you want stills)
Shooting forward was really not an option without zooming in considerably to get beyond the wing and propellor. So I didn't.

When we flew over land, the pilot flew slightly in and out of the coastline which changed my focal point. Refocusing was not an option. I just kept everything 'peaking'. Sometimes I would try to shoot downward more and inadvertently leaned out of the window - wham... then before you steady yourself and recompose you lose another 10 seconds of usable footage. That's how critical it is.

I had the camera stuck to my face the entire time but could not avoid making contact with the door. That probably accounts for most of the shakiness...

Anyway, I'm glad I had an extra camera operator and rented the X70. Knowing what I know now, I would have gone for steady shots first, resolution second.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 07:55 AM   #33
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

My aviation colleague looking at this with a quizzical look. He has the necessary permits and certification mount external equipment to particular aircraft, and his question was simple. Not the video part, but the pilot part. His UK view is that the act of removing doors and windows to allow video or stills photography is not within the Private Pilots License terms and conditions - we all know people fudge the 'reward' element and shoot pictures, but is your pilot insured to fly while these have been removed? It can have an adverse impact on handling, and make the aircraft response different. Has PPL the experience to do this? removing doors requires equipment tethers on anything that could exit the aircraft. These need connection to specific load rated points, not wrapped around seating components. Taking a door off exposes the passengers to additional risk, and isn't something every pilot would wish to do. On some aircraft, including Cessnas, removing a door is acceptable for things like parachute drops, but the pilot can't do that on a PPL. Even a cable being attached to the aircraft constitutes a modification.

On a rotary wing aircraft there are even more concerns. One of the most dangerous manoeuvres is flying around in a circle - like the wind turbine shot. There is an inherent risk in doing this if the windspeed is appreciable. At two points in the 360, the airflow through the tail rotor will suddenly drop, and 'an uncontrolled' decent is probable.
In the US there is an advisory - http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...ar/ac90-95.pdf

and you can see it happen

The point here is that it is a known, but rarely experienced phenomena - and most helicopter pilots spend most of their time flying forwards, not sideways or around objects in tight turns. Do you really want to be onboard if your pilot experiences this for the first time, and doesn't react appropriately?

I went on a helicopter course, and quite frankly, was horror struck by the accidents caused indirectly by the needs of the cameraman!
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Old February 20th, 2015, 09:34 AM   #34
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

Try a different stabilizer. The free version of Resolve worked well for my difficult shots. You could also try tracking a specific point (like the bouy) in After Effects or Apple Motion and using that to stabilize. That would eliminate the tracker trying to use things like airplane struts for the stabilization.
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Old February 20th, 2015, 10:10 AM   #35
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
My aviation colleague looking at this with a quizzical look.
What, exactly, did your colleague look at quizically? The advice to remove doors etc?

Because we never removed anything- we just opened a window. We also didn't fly a helicopter...
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Old February 20th, 2015, 10:40 AM   #36
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Re: Shooting from a small plane -first time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
Try a different stabilizer. The free version of Resolve worked well for my difficult shots. You could also try tracking a specific point (like the bouy) in After Effects or Apple Motion and using that to stabilize. That would eliminate the tracker trying to use things like airplane struts for the stabilization.
I'll tell the editor!
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