Helicopter-mounted cameras open up some interesting shot possibilities to DP’s and directors. With a remote control flying camera, you can do bigger moves than with a jib or crane, as well as aerial follow shots that might otherwise require a full-size helicopter — if a helicopter even fits into the space you’re filming.
The big trend with aerial filming is mounting a camera on a quadcopter-type platform (or tricopter, hexcopter, octocopter). The stability this setup gives is much improved over that of the traditional RC helicopter design that mimics a full-size chopper. And as the designs of these platforms improve, we’re seeing many new configurations including this one from Omstudios in Berlin, which connects a Red Epic to an eight-armed copter setup. The results: gorgeous.
The camera itself is mounted to a cradle that can pan, swivel and tilt via a controller on the ground. Although it’s not specifically mentioned in the video post, some of these systems are also designed to automatically stabilize the camera from any helicopter movement, keeping the shot steady. And the operator has a wireless video link to the camera, able to monitor the shot as it flies around overhead.
Due to the lighter weight of these RC rigs, they’re more easily affected by wind and movement, and can have a slightly shakier look than something connected to a full size helicopter — I suspect the slowed-down aerial footage shown here may be done to minimize the evidence of this. But even at that, this is great stuff, an amazing camera on a fantastic aerial platform. Long story short, I want it.
Not the same rig as above, but here’s a great example of some RC heli-mounted vide footage, from Poland I believe, of some recent riots and the organized police response. I’m trying to find information on the camera they used. Scary but incredible–that’s not an angle I’ve ever seen before.