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Filming from a helicopter

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James Strecker
Filming from a helicopter
on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:57:39 pm

Hello, all.

I am in need of some aerial shots for a feature film I am making. I don't want to download stock footage because I need shots of a specific city (my hometown), as well as the surrounding landscape. I would buy a Drone (I already have a GoPro camera) but I don't currently have the money and the Drone that my workplace owns is not able to be rented out.

I found a great deal on helicopter tours in my area, so I am looking into taking my DSLR camera with me and trying to get my shots that way. However, I have read that it is close to impossible to get rid of all vibrations and shakiness from helicopter DSLR shots, even with After Effects' stabilization tools and built-in lens stabilization.

To this end, I am looking for suggestions. As I said, I have a GoPro, and I also have a suction cup mount. Would this be the best way to go about things? Would a GoPro mounted to the door or side of the helicopter produce better quality footage in terms of shakiness? Or would it be even worse since it is directly touching the helicopter?

On the other hand, I am also worried that the quality of the footage itself would suffer from not using my DSLR. What I mean is that, in my experience, even though video taken with a GoPro is technically "HD," the sensor in my DSLR is much better and would produce a much sharper and higher quality image. So if there is any way to get around the stabilization problem, I'd prefer to use my DSLR camera.

Any suggestions would be helpful. I could just save up for the Drone, haha. But that would take longer than I would like and I'm already having to save up for other props and equipment for making my movie.


James Strecker
JTS Entertainment

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Travis Robinson
Re: Filming from a helicopter
on Sep 2, 2014 at 12:42:08 am

Hey now,

If you can't afford to use a Drone, hire someone to use a drone, or hire a helicopter with a stabilize camera system, then buy stock footage. Pond5 is a good one.

Yes, you could take a cheap tour, and use your DSLR to shoot, but its going to be very bumpy since it sounds like you wanna do it on the down low.

No helicopter company is going to let you mount a gopro without a fee and insurance which will cost you way more then a drone.

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