Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

HD Helicopter Fun

Published : 5th October 2003


In my past HD helicopter projects we shot at 23.98 psf with a 1/48 shutter speed. (This would be equal to shooting film at 24 FPS at an 180 degree shutter) with great results. I also shot 29.97psf with shutter at 1/60 with great results. You could shoot at an increased shutter speed to cripsen up the sampling but this may cause the stepping effect that most find bizarre.

Tyler mounts need extra attention with HD. You must isolate the lens more so from vibration than standard def or even film I have found. Tyler makes an HD zoom mount that works well. Add this to your order with zooms. Also it's best to have a paint box (Sony RMB 150 or 750) (Panasonic AJ-EC3P) for camera control during flight. Even if you are not a menu-jockey paint boxes do give more control of the camera's basic functions.

The Pro 35 adaptor I feel will only add to your vibration isolation problem when flying...You might want to really test that one first before you hang the whole shoot on it. As an added insight the Pro 35 is a cool tool but the only real reasons to use this option is for depth of field issues or if you already own good 35mm glass. This is just an opinion....fellow CML people.

A Tyler Nose 2 mount is not a stabilized platform like Wescam or Spacecam.

You will want to stay wide with your lens choices for obvious reason. I don't feel the depth a field issue warrants the added complication of the Pro 35 and it's moving ground glass with vibration during flight. But it's your job....and this is just the opinion of one menu-jockey. Also cables strung on the outside of the helicopter can pick up radio interference from the communication system that could end up on your tape! This happens often with camera head on mount - deck in cabin configurations.

Take a test flight and ask the pilot to bring a hand held radio to talk with air traffic control. I found this to work best on my last flight.

If you have any other questions about installing mounts or HD in the air contact me off line.

Fly safe.

Mike Spodnik SOC
HD cameraman (Sometimes Airborne)
Ashland, OR



>I don't feel the depth a field issue warrants the added complication of the >Pro 35 and it's moving ground glass with vibration during flight.

Using the Pro35 for airborne usage makes no sense to me at all - why would anybody want to use this on a helicopter?

+++ Florian Rettich +++
+++ Europe based DIT / vision control +++



Florian Rettich writes :

>Using the Pro35 for airborne usage makes no sense to me at all - why >would anybody want to use this on a helicopter?

The idea was to test what an 8mm lens looked like when rear projected onto a dome. Seven lenses were tested on both the Cinealta and the Varicam including HD zooms. I explained in the original message that we were steering away from the Pro35. That said, we will use it for situations where we need to use proprietary optics with PL mounts and the budget does not allow for film.

All the best,

Michael Samstag
Samstag Productions
Director of Interactive Photography
Knoxville, TN
http://www.dvd360.com



Michael Samstag wrote:

>The idea was to test what an 8mm lens looked like when rear projected >onto a dome.

Sounds interesting.

What experiences do you have using the Angenieux/Zeiss adaptor with non-Zeiss lenses? (color artefacts or something else)

Do you use custom built lenses?

+++ Florian Rettich +++
+++ Europe based DIT / vision control +++



>Sounds interesting. What experiences do you have using the Angenieux >/ Zeiss adaptor with non-Zeiss lenses

We have only used custom lenses but we have noticed several problems with
the Angenieux adapter:

#1) DOF is much shorter (which is actually a problem for us with fish eye lenses)


#2) Image is inverted (no big deal, really)


#3) Focus seems soft (probably due to the DOF issues)

The one advantage to the Angenieux PL adapter is that it acts as a minimiser so our very slow fixed f5.6 becomes closer to an f2.8. Losing a stop with the Pro35 makes it only suitable for daytime work outside. In reality 1080p is still not enough resolution for what we are doing but the Viper and other 3k solutions don't seem ready for our purposes yet. We really need a 3K tape solution or a larger digital mag with at least 20-minutes of record time.

Michael Samstag
Samstag Productions
Director of Interactive Photography
Knoxville, TN