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Re: Any tips for shooting from a Cessna plane?

COW Forums : Cinematography

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Todd TerryRe: Any tips for shooting from a Cessna plane?
by on Apr 2, 2012 at 3:52:12 am

[Angelo Lorenzo] "Cessna prop planes need to go about 90mph to stay safely aloft,"

Well, you can actually go about half that fast (it's going to depend on the model), but I wouldn't recommend going quite that slow. Something like a little C150 or 152 has a pretty low stall speed, about 45 knots per hour... although you'd certainly want to be flying a bit faster than that unless you had a fair bit of altitude in case you did stall so there was plenty of room between you and the ground to recover. I've flown Cessenas that stalled even a bit slower than that, flaps down... it just depends on the airplane, every one is a bit different. Jump up to a Cessena 210 and the stall speed is about 55 knots, I think (I personally have never been behind the yoke of a 210, but I think those are the specs). A C172 is somewhere in the middle.

One of the issues would be is altitude and focal length. I don't know how close your close-up shot of this woman has to be, but it might be pretty tricky. Firstly, that would seem to dictate a long lens, but of course the wider your lens the smoother this shot is going to be. I personally wouldn't try that shot with anything longer than about 35mm, and would even prefer 28mm. 18mm could be pretty steady, with practice... but then again that's pretty darn wide. The other thing as I said, is altitude... and how close you are able to get to your subject. It somewhat depends on your terrain, location, and the willingness of your pilot to do it (which might involve skirting some rules). Technically he or she should not be flying you any lower than 500 feet above ground level at any point in the flight.... except of course at takeoff and landing. If you're out in the sticks somewhere and not near any controlled airspace they might be willing to do it... I sure wouldn't recommend it though at anything near stall speed.

Let us know how it goes.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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