useful tips on shooting from a helicopter

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Joined: Nov 19 2005

found this on the cow HD forum:

find out if it's a 2 blade or 3 blade copter. The 2 blade units like Bell Rangers, shake from side to side. The French made 3 bladed Airstar is smoother. If it's a Robinson R-22, enhance your life insurance by double and say goodby to the people who count. If it's a 44, you might be ok. My last flight was in an old cropduster unit that had the pilot in the middle and I sat on the right side with the still photographer on his left.

Don't forget to ask the pilot if his nickname is "Crash".

Turn your steadyshot on.

A recording at 60i will get rid of some of the shadow flash. That is the shadow that happens when the blades rotate.

Take your windmuff off or tape it down.

Go the the bathroom before taking off.

If you have a producer with you, have a monitor for them to watch.

Now, here's a trick I use to communicate with the producer or pilot: I plug a lav mic into the camera and tape it inside my earcup on the helicopter headsets. This way, I can talk to the pilot and the producer. The producer is watching the handheld monitor and directing the shots. And the whole thing is being recorded for later. That way, there is a running dialog about everything we shot.

I try to wear a steadi stick so the camera has some support under it.

And lastly, Don't Fall Out Of the Helicopter.

Before you land, ask the pilot to do a "dip".