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Thread: Air to Air Video Tips

  1. #1
    Ryan Dembroski's Avatar
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    Air to Air Video Tips

    Hi EAA,
    I'm starting to shoot more and more video from aircraft and, though I've got the GoPro side of things down, I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for filming Air to Air with handheld cameras?

    I shoot mainly with a DSLR (Canon 7d) and Image Stabilized lenses, but have had some trouble getting nice smooth results. Ideally I'd use some sort of gimbal or stabilizer (like the Movi, but I'd rather spend the 15k on a plane: http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/09/f...mbal-hands-on/ ), but they are super expensive. Anyone have a homegrown solution? Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2

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    The best investment to get good air-to-air photos is find a pilot who can fly good formation. Military, ex-military, skydiver driver, FAST qualified, whatever but you will get much better results if your target is 2 wingspans away than if they are 100yds away. Those great photos in the EAA magazine were taken close up. As you have likely learned, zoom also magnifies your little trembles, the bumps of the airplane, the bumps that your target airplane finds, etc. Zoom = hard.

    I will also mention that early morning and late in the day the air is calmest.

    And an airplane that has a door or window that opens in flight gets you clearer pictures also.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N6234A

  3. #3
    N222AB's Avatar
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    A friend of mine and I have been talking about doing some air to air photos from her A36 Bonanza. However, the biggest issue I have as the photographer is how to stay securely attached to the airplane with the big rear doors removed. Anyone have any suggestions for a harness for the photographer?
    Bill

    N222AB
    Fort Collins, CO

  4. #4

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    Assuming that your FSDO has issued an authorization for flight with the door removed for your aircraft, a pretty common authorization for a long list of aircraft including the A36, the approval paperwork probably says something about the wearing of parachutes or putting a barrier strap across the door. Not sure about the seat belt attachments for an A36 but most photographers like to be seat belted into a seat or to the floor. If the photographer wears a parachute, a seat belt can be routed around the main lift web of the parachute harness to secure the individual to the airplane. Of course, if the photographer wears a parachute they need to be thoroughly briefed on its use and how to protect the ripcord when you do not intend to jump. Having an open parachute in an airplane with an open door is very very dangerous and often does not end well. If one person wears a parachute, I suggest that everyone in the airplane wears a parachute.

    If you do not possess an authorization for flight with the door removed for your airplane, contact your FSDO and get one. They are routine and will spell out your new max operating speed and configuration requirements for safe operation.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N6234A

  5. #5
    N222AB's Avatar
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    Wes, thanks for the comments. I assumed that there had to be some sort of authorization required, even though the airplane is approved for flight with the doors removed, but I hadn't investigated the details. I don't know if we'll ever do this, but at least I have some better idea of what steps to take.
    Bill

    N222AB
    Fort Collins, CO

  6. #6
    Ryan Dembroski's Avatar
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    Thanks for the discussion guys - I definitely agree that a good pilot will be key. The reminder to stay wide on the lens is a good one. If the weather holds we're going to give it a try on Wednesday - I'll report back with any results!

  7. #7
    Ryan Dembroski's Avatar
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    Hi Gang!
    I realized I never posted the video that resulted from our shoot - thanks again for your help!

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