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class="style5" Wide Angle Lens For Helicopter Shoot

>Published : 4th June 2005

>Does anyone know of a wide angle lens I can rent in Houston for my F-900. I have a one day shoot, April 20, flying into onto an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

>And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job? Like, what exactly is a Tyler mount?

>Client is cheap, so money is a consideration.

>Thanks,

>Scott Henderson


>Scott Henderson writes:

class="Paragraph">>Does anyone know of a wide angle lens I can rent in Houston for my F->900.

>Can't help you there, but if it's only one lens, you should be able to get it overnighted to you for a reasonable cost.

class="Paragraph">> And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed >years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job?

>Find a pilot with lots of experience doing film/video work. There is a great deal of info in the archives.

class="Paragraph">>Like, what exactly is a Tyler mount?

>Like, go to :

>www.tylermount.com

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Your best bet would be the Fujinon 10x AKA 10x5.0 wide angle zoom lens.

>It is the best for hand held especially Aerial Hand held.

>If you can shoot out of a moving car you can shoot out of a helicopter.

>But you must make sure the pilot knows what you are after so that he can position the bird properly.

>Ask for 2 extra passes (Laps around the derrick) weather you need them or not. then ask if he can slowly approach slightly sideways so your shot is clean.

>You need to realize that wind conditions will dictate his ability to get you in the positions you want to be in. That's OK no shot is worth your life.

>B. Sean Fairburn SOC
Director of Photography
Castaic Ca


class="Paragraph">>And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed >years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job?

>Scott,

>Tyler mounts come in several flavours, the most common being the Middle Mount, which points sideways out of the helicopter door. The camera is "stabilized" by springs and a counterweight.

>It won't give you the rock-solid shots of a gyro-stabilized system, but it's definitely better than trying to shoot handheld. The Middle Mount gives you about 100 degrees of movement in pan, tilt, and roll. A couple of hours of rigging and prep (and possibly even minor helicopter mods) are required, along with a mechanic's "sign-off" if the helicopter isn't already set-up for it, so plan accordingly.

>Their other most popular mount is the Nose Mount, which mounts under the nose and offers you control of only the pitch axis...the helicopter pilot handles the pan and roll axes. Great for POV shots.

>Get more info directly from the source at http://www.tylermount.com

>Good Luck, and keep your feet dry !

>Steve Cassidy
http://www.cameracopters.com


class="Paragraph">>And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed >years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job?

>A Tyler mount is a vibration isolation mount for helicopter camera work. By default most are now fitted with Ken-lab KS-8 gyros and even a KS-12 for stability. The mount functions somewhat like a jib arm. The arm is mounted to a sprung seat base. At the camera end of the arm you have available pan, tilt, roll, zoom and focus. The back end of the arm contains the system battery and counterweight package.

>You sit on the seat base facing out the side door of the helo and grab the handgrips for control. It does take some finesse to get very smooth moves, but there are talented aerial cinematographers that can do it very well. Nelson Tyler did the famous "Funny Girl" shot without gyros and did an unbelievable job

To take a look at the Tyler Major Mount :


http://www.aerialcinematography.com/mnts_tylr_mjr.html


It will take the current HiDef camcorders.

class="Paragraph">> Client is cheap, so money is a consideration.

>I guess there's always the bungee cord mount. sigh. But the Tyler Major mount is worth every penny.

>I will say, your pilot is the most important piece of the puzzle. Flying for the camera is a high skill and not a lot of local non-familiar pilots grasp this. For instance, most movie pilots go easy on the pedals during the shot to minimize yaw. Others might be all over the place.

>Then there is the safety issue.

>Most movie pilots know when to say no. Most newbies are too busy trying to impress the Hollywood people. We lost a few because of that a few years ago.

>Safety always,

>Mark R. Leins
Aerial Camera Technician


class="Paragraph">>And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed >years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job?

>Scott - as an aerial cinematographer who regularly does what you are doing, but offshore in places like Vietnam, I would be taking several simple, but realistic safety precautions just in case you have an emergency. I would first check if the aircraft has floats (the one we used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in Korea didn’t - as we found to our cost !!) . If you have a problem, these will keep you on the surface for longer than if you haven't, but not necessarily the right way up because that engine makes the aircraft very top heavy.

>I would then have a look and see which way the top rotor "rotates" because on USA designed aircraft it goes one way, on French designed aircraft it can go the other.(The French do this to confuse Americans) The direction the rotor rotates dictates which way an aircraft will roll as the blades hit the water. To the DOP sitting in an open door, this means I know if Im going to go "over the top", or "underneath" - not a particularly pleasant prospect, but once again, a realistic one.

>I would also have a pair of swimmers goggles at hand at a moments notice - as a graduate of two HUET Courses (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) in Australia and Vietnam, nothing sorts out all your sudden, practical problems underwater like being able to see clearly and not only will it save your life, you might also be able to save someone else. As well as swimming goggles, I carry a whistle and a heliograph in the flying suit I wear for this type of work and I have had reason on previous occasions, to use both.

>I also wear boots with laces gaffer taped up so they don’t flap in the jet stream, and camping "gaters" which keep the bottom of the flying suit/trousers from flapping as well.

>It may be hotter and more sunny than you realise up there - take sunscreen pre-cautions and a hat you can wear under headphones. If I was handholding with a gyro lense or similar, I also wear sailing type cut-off leather gloves which give me added grip on the camera in the jet stream. Be cool, be professional and you should have a great time - but a few of these little things at hand at a moments notice, are disproportionately useful when things get a bit curly mate!

>Good shooting and good luck

>Kindest Regards

>LAURIE K GILBERT s.o.c.
Motion Picture Director of Photography
HD Cinematographer
L'IMAGE CINEMATOGRAPHY - Based in Asia - Filming the world
Global Web Presence : www.limage.tv


>To Laurie Gilbert's excellent safety tips, I would add the following :

>If you're going out over water on any regular basis, you might want to get a HEED (Helicopter Emergency Egress Device), commonly called a HEED bottle. . .Almost the same thing is available all over under the name "Spare Air" used by scuba divers. They're made by SSI (Submersible Systems Inc.)in CA.

>This will give you a couple of minutes of air which can save your life if you have to get out of an overturned helo.

>Also, a permanent life vest. Switlik makes one for the military called a Helo crew vest. It's fairly comfortable, and not very bulky. I used to wear a belt unit until I talked to a cameraman who had ditched. He said the most difficult thing he had ever done in his life, was to get the belt pack life vest on himself while in the water. He almost drowned in the effort.

>Also, if you are unconscious, it's very easy for someone else to pull the inflation cord.

>When we fly over water, either the pilot or I carry an EPIRB, and the other carries a strobe. There must be a radio beacon in the helicopter, but it will go down with the ship.

>If you're flying over cold water, get a Mustang or Stearns work suit. These were developed for off shore oil workers and the Coast Guard. They are very warm, so they're great for flying in cold weather. More importantly, they will keep you afloat if you ditch so you don't need a vest, and you won't have to put on anything while in the water. They will give you a chance to survive in freezing water.

>Happy landings,

>Brian Heller
IA 600 DP


>Great advice Laurie and Brian -

>On the ground avoid walking anywhere near the spinning tail rotor, better to always walk around the front of the chopper.

>If waiting for the chopper to land near you, turn your back and camera away to protect both your eyes and lens from the dust and stones.

>Avoid asking your pilot if he would demonstrate a tail first free fall like he used to do in Vietnam as an evasive action when under fire.

>Jeff Blauvelt
HD Cinema


class="Paragraph">>They will give you a chance to survive in freezing water.

>I reckon between to two of us Brian we have probably put EVERYONE off going anywhere near helicopters!

class="Paragraph">>Avoid asking your pilot if he would demonstrate a tail first free fall like he >used to do in Vietnam as an evasive action when under fire.

>With so many American friends, it is truly a very strange feeling for an Australian to be sitting in the open door of a Vietnamese Air Force Super Puma for three hours recently shooting helicopter aerials of pipelines and gas processing establishments in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam. The Vietnamese pilots were so used with the normal 5000' daily passage from airport to oil rig, that they spent the entire three hours really enjoying themselves at only 300' - hell of a way to see the country!

class="Paragraph">>And seeing how I have not shot in a helicopter for about 10 blessed >years, what else do I need to know to do a professional job?

>One last little gem from the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training courses I did.

>If you are sitting as a passenger in a helicopter (travelling to an oil rig for example) wear your watch on the appropriate wrist in the direction of the door or window you are going to escape from. During the actual courses, the most disorientating time was when the mock up helicopter was inverted in the swimming pool and you really don’t know what is up or down, left or right, especially if it is dark or murky. A quick touch of a watch face will tell you which way to go no matter where you think you are.....

>Kindest Regards

>LAURIE K GILBERT s.o.c.
Motion Picture Director of Photography


>Laurie Gilbert writes:

class="style7">>I would then have a look and see which way the top rotor "rotates" >because on USA designed aircraft it goes one way, on French >designed aircraft it can go the other.

>Russian chopper rotors turn the French way. This probably dates back to Czarist Russia, where the elite would swoon over anything French.

>I used to hang recklessly out of choppers (though never over water) and developed a couple of habits that served me well. One was to always carry with me a short nylon safety line (which would hold 4x my weight) with robust carabineers at either end that could be clipped to my heavy-duty belt and fastened to the nearest solid structural tie point. I would *always* use this when I wasn't able to be fully strapped in; i.e. when sitting or standing on the chopper's skids, no matter what other safety support I had. A full body harness would have been better, but I couldn't carry that with me at all times. The rope and 'biners fit into a Spectra exposure meter case I carried on the belt.

>I once came within a hair's breadth of falling out of a fixed-wing plane while shooting skydivers -- on the only occasion on which I didn't have the safety line with me... *and* I also managed to do something Really Stupid (details upon request). I *was* wearing a safety chute, but those are on the small side and the only training I'd been given was to "count to ten and pull this handle." Arrgghhhh...

Dan "don't try this at home" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Dan "don't try this at home" Drasin writes :

class="style7">>I used to hang recklessly out of choppers (though never over water)

>Because it is so much safer hanging out of choppers over land?

>Or are you saying, that as of yet, you just haven't had the opportunity to be reckless over water?

>Brent "would probably try it if I had the chance" Reynolds
Film maker / Tampa


>Guys, let's cut the gratuitous French- and Russian-bashing.

>The development of the helicopter was an international effort. Just to set the record straight, the first piloted helicopter to fly without ground assistance was French, and the first helicopter to fly a one- kilometre loop was French. Almost all modern helicopters are based on designs by Igor Sikorsky, a Russian.

>The development of HDTV is an international effort too, and it'll stand a much better chance of succeeding if we put aside petty bigotry and cooperate.

>Andreas Wittenstein
President, BitJazz Inc.
http://www.bitjazz.com/sheervideo/


class="style7">>I would like to thank everyone on this list who have provided me with >quality information on the helicopter shoot and wide angle rental.

>Its funny but even since I sent the info to you about shooting aerials over water, an American production company from San Diego is now hiring me to travel to Sydney and shoot aerials of the harbour and the CBD there.

>I will be in good hands this time because I will be flying with Gary "ME2 and Matrix" Ticehurst but every time I fly with him I end up with wet shoes...

>Kindest Regards

>LAURIE K GILBERT s.o.c.
Motion Picture Director of Photography
HD Cinematographer


class="style7">>On the ground avoid walking anywhere near the spinning tail rotor, >better to always walk around the front of the chopper.

>I was also told to never walk directly toward the front of a chopper as the blades tilt in that direction and could hit you. Direct side entry as I was told is the safest bet.

BTW the American Huey pilot who tried to stop the Mei Li Massacre by landing his chopper between the American soldiers and Vietnamese people works for Petroleum Helicopters in Lafayette, La. He was recently honoured for his heroic efforts.

>Tom McDonnell
DP/Operator
New Orleans, La


>Andreas Wittenstein writes:

class="style7">>Almost all modern helicopters are based on designs by Igor Sikorsky, a >Russian.

>Don't forget the Americans Lawrence Bell and Arthur Young, who (together) produced the world's first *stable* (hence, truly practical) helicopter.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>I would like to thank everyone on this list who have provided me with quality information on the helicopter shoot and wide angle rental.

>I believe that helping each other out, not only benefits the participants ("the quality of mercy is not strained", it benefits both the giver and receiver), but will drive the Hi Def business, which will reward all of us in the end.

>Scott Henderson