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Heli shoot - what gear?

Alessandro Capomolla
 

Hi all,
 
I’m going to have my first shoot from a helicopter. We’re filming the landscape with the side door opened and I’m shooting with red raven.
 
As I don’t have experience on this, I’m trying to gather some advices. 
I thought to bring with me a movipro to stabilize and attach it to my body safely with some elastics and carabiners (I will be tied to the heli obviously).  
Would the movie be bulky in a heli considering that is a 4 seats pilot included? 
 
 
I would bring with me a 24-70mm .
 
If you have any advice at all, I’m happy to hear it.
 
Thank you all,
 
Alessandro Capomolla| Filmmaker

Geoff Boyle
 

Try using search on the main website first page, there's lots about this ..

Geoff
I should have this reply on a quick button...

On Sun, 16 Sep 2018, 07:57 alecapomolla via Cml.News, <alecapomolla=yahoo.it@...> wrote:
Hi all,
 
I’m going to have my first shoot from a helicopter. We’re filming the landscape with the side door opened and I’m shooting with red raven.
 
As I don’t have experience on this, I’m trying to gather some advices. 
I thought to bring with me a movipro to stabilize and attach it to my body safely with some elastics and carabiners (I will be tied to the heli obviously).  
Would the movie be bulky in a heli considering that is a 4 seats pilot included? 
 
 
I would bring with me a 24-70mm .
 
If you have any advice at all, I’m happy to hear it.
 
Thank you all,
 
Alessandro Capomolla| Filmmaker

Steven Gray
 

Having been in a helicopter crash while filming in the exact same circumstances (door off) I would suggest checking that you are insured.  It turns out I wasn’t.  

Wear a helmet. I wasn’t, and it hurt. Would suggest not to use a gimbal.  It won’t work if you are out of the slipstream, which you probably will be. 

If you are using an EF mount lens, use one with stabilisation perhaps ? I haven’t done a heli shoot with an EF mount lens, but my gut would say that IS on will help. Rest the camera on your knees. The helicopter pilot becomes like a grip.  He controls the position of the frame.  Watch out for the rotors clipping the top of your frame.  They are difficult to  see tis you see it on a proper monitor.

Try to give the pilot a monitor, if the heli is set up for that.  Don’t have unattached cables flapping around, and make sure all your gear is in bags. Strap everything down.  If something bad happens you don’t want stuff flying around.






Steven Gray
Director of Photography
London
07711 009515
stevengray31@...
DoP website: http://www.stevegraydop.com
Kit website:
http://www.barefootpictures.org
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1034732/
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/stevengraydop


Steven Bradford
 

Echoing Steven Gray’s excellent advice I’d also emphasize getting a pilot with aerial photography experience. This was a major part of getting successful results my first times in a helo!

Steven Bradford
Cinematographer 
Seattle USA


On Sep 16, 2018, at 1:54 AM, Steven Gray via Cml.News <stevengray31=mac.com@...> wrote
The helicopter pilot becomes like a grip.  He controls the position of the frame.  Watch out for the rotors clipping the top of your frame.  They are difficult to  see tis you see it on a proper monitor.


Try to give the pilot a monitor, if the heli is set up for that.  Don’t have unattached cables flapping around, and make sure all your gear is in bags. Strap everything down.  If something bad happens you don’t want stuff flying around.
_._,_._,_

John F. Babl
 

As mentioned by previous posters, safety should obviously be first concern.  And even seasoned pilots can make mistakes.  There are quite a few threads on the subject, if you search CML's site too.
Years ago the first helicopter shoot I tried was on my lap with no door, on a very calm no wind day(water is glass)and did post stabilization, worked pretty well.  That was on an R-44 but I have reservations about flying non-turbine aircraft these days.

I then shot with gyro side mount, rear right door removed, Jet Ranger. Pilot had a rod that kept the front right door ajar about a foot if I remember correctly, to help keep wind from interfering with the side mount setup.  Worked well, I enjoyed the ability to reposition/frame and operate.  Communicating with the pilot to get the shots you want is essential of course, but keep in mind there could be limits depending on area you're in, restrictions, etc.  F55 worked quite well for this.
Then I shot with the Cineflex Elite/Alexa M/RAW, Canon 30-300 on a Long Ranger.  A whole different extremely stable experience, even in very windy conditions.  
Using a Movi or Ronin is probably a good idea, perhaps others can post on it if they've used them successfully. 
The first aerials I did was with an Aaton S-16, Cessna 172.  A bit too windy, but on calmer days I got ok results.
Bungee chords/Red Epic on an R-44 didn't work too well for me, but it was also a windy occasion. 

The other thing is some people get motion sickness in small planes and helicopters, so if you haven't flown it might affect you- my first helicopter ride was when I was 8 and my dad flew small planed so I had already been up there since I was about 10 years old, and also on a glider. 
Recently my friend let me take off and fly a 172, almost made me want to get a pilot's license.  He did the landing of course (laughs)  So even if you're not filming, the more experience flying the better-

Have a safe shoot,

J.Babl
DP
Miami

Rick Gerard
 

Here’s my advice. At the very least spend the money for a Tyler Mount and use an experienced Photo Pilot. I did my first shooting from a helicopter in 1971 and have about 3 thousand hours shooting from just about everything that has rotors, about 2500 hours filming from airplanes, a couple hundred hours from blimps and a few hours from hot air balloons. I’ve also got about 9,000 hours as PIC in all kinds of airplanes, am a certified aircraft mechanic, and if needed a fully certified UAV pilot.

Heli’s with only 2 rotors are very susceptible to vibration. There’s not enough room in your bird to use a MoVI Pro with a ring but you could use it with handlebars and it will handle a bit of the slip stream fairly well, but you’ll have to rely on the pilot to fly the shot. I completely disagree that a MoVI Pro is a mistake, you just have to plan for it and keep it, and any other camera you may hand hold out of the slipstream. There should be plenty of room to shoot out the door and if you can’t afford a Tyler Mount then that would be my first, least expensive option for stabilizing the shot. It’s the HF vibration from the rotor that will be your biggest problems. Even the best external gyro mounts can get fouled up by turbulence. Hand held looks awful if you try and use too long a lens and almost undoable if the rotor blades are out of balance.

It’s going to be difficult to get moving forward shots shooting through a door because the forward speed flying sideways is very limited and requires a great deal of pilot skill to do smoothly. Most of the vibration can be removed with a Tyler Mount, but it will require a bird that is approved and an FAA 337 form to be legally installed. You’ll have more control and will be able to shoot at up to the equivalent of an 85mm lens on a full frame camera. With a MoVI on handle bars you’ll probably be out of luck with anything longer than a 50 so expect wide shots. 

Flying with the door off also requires FAA approval and the paperwork must be with the pilot and verified or any insurance you or the helicopter operator has will not pay anything because you were operating outside the rules. The recent rash of door off tourist flights has caused a real clampdown on just removing the door and going flying. This is extremely important. If you are flying with the door offf make sure the operator can show you the paperwork they have that says they are approved. Verify all aircraft paperwork, make sure the inspections are current, make sure any airspace clearances or waivers are in place. Once you are sure the flight is legal, make sure everything in the aircraft, including the camera, is secured and tethered so it cannot fall out of the aircraft.

99% of the success in an areal shoot is due to the pilot. They have to understand the shot you need and the limitations of your gear. A sightseeing pilot or new commercial pilot with limited experience is probably going to get you safely in the air and put you about where you need to be, but getting the moves you want is probably a 50/50 proposition. 

If you are going to fly near any obstructions do not even consider going unless you have a third person in the bird as a safety observer. If at all possible, have someone on the ground. Photo missions in contested areas without safety folks on the ground and in the air is a really bad accident just waiting to happen. I’ve lost 3 close friends to crashes that all could have been prevented with an observer in the aircraft or one the ground. Do Not fly a mission without a complete briefing, even if you’re just going up over the lake to take a 10 second shot of the sailboats. 

If you can’t do it any other way, then hold the camera in both hands well out of the slip stream and use a wide lens. If the helicopter’s rotors are balanced (ask the pilot when they were last balanced and if it’s been more than 100 hours ask that they are balanced again - Not nearly as critical when you have 3 or more rotor blades), and the pilot doesn’t horse around on the controls or fly too sideways you’ll be OK as long as you stay wide.

Hope this helps. For almost all my latest aerial work at low altitudes I’m relying on drones. They are a lot less expensive, do an amazing job, and with the proper credentials, can be flown anywhere you can legally fly a helicopter and many places where a helicopter can’t get permission to fly.

Good luck on your project. If you need any further assistance I’m available.

Rick Gerard
DP/VFX Supervisor
MovI Pro / ALTA / Licensed Commercial Pilot Fixed Wing and UAV
Northern CA
916.472.8085

Broatch Berry
 

Here is a nice solution if you can find a similar system.  https://forum.dji.com/thread-52699-1-1.html

Broatch Berry Venice CA

Broatch Berry
 

Here is a nice solution if you can find a similar system.  https://forum.dji.com/thread-52699-1-1.htm


Broatch Berry
Venice CA 

Alessandro Capomolla
 

Thank you for sharing your experience on this.

I took some time to get the info: 
the heli will be an Airbus AS350 B3 ,with 5 seats (pilot , photographer , me and the organizer)

It will be a 3 and a half hours flight 

My choice will be to go with movi pro with handlebars , RED raven and probably a 24-70mm ef mount.

I have focalized the shoot but , I don’t know if what I have in mind can actually work out as I don’t have experience in this.

So here my doubts:

-I thought of using the movipro in majestic mode and switch between movi and handheld (at 120fps) 
Will I be able to leave the movi safely somewhere in the cabin? How should I secure it?

-would I be able to have some extra gear with me in a backpack? (One battery, one extra lens (13-35mm)  how should I secure it in the cabin?

- I assume the movi will have to stay inside the cabin in a way that the camera lens doesn’t hit the wind barrier just outside the door , correct?

Thank you!

Best,
Alessandro Capomolla | Filmmaker
IT:   +39 3289547860 

On 16 Sep 2018, at 22:41, Broatch Berry <broatchy@...> wrote:

Here is a nice solution if you can find a similar system.  https://forum.dji.com/thread-52699-1-1.htm


Broatch Berry
Venice CA