Documentary film making tends to have it’s perks from time to time. On any given work day you might find yourself filming in a high tech lab, a wedding, a foreign country, a seminar on hypnosis, or even in a helicopter.
This particular aerial shooting experience was quite surreal. Our take off point was San Bernardino airport. Our takeoff terminal was completely decorated modern plush, sporting a full piano, every snack or drink you could desire. If that wasn’t enough the waiting areas consists of a theater and computer lab, and yes the most amazing thing ever, each and every urinal has it’s own personal flat screen LED television. This thousandaire had just walked into the most relaxing airport every, the upscale executive terminal of Million Air
We where being escorted in the San Bernardino sheriff’s helicopter to capture visuals for a piece on the county. They pinned back the doors and we where off. Our initial shots were through the main city streets of San Bernardino. The sheriff’s copter was redirected to track down a possible shooter. We circled the house where gunshot was heard, but didn’t find any crazed gunman running around.
Continuing on with our scheduled shooting path we headed to the coolest spot I have ever seen from the air, big bear mountains. The desert climate made an abrupt change as soon as we hit the first sight of snow. We glided just above skiers, snow topped mountains, and the ice covered the big bear lake. Hanging out of the helicopter filming, the view was simply put undescrible.
Quick Tips: Aerial Filming
- Pack your gear carefully, it’s a long way to a charged battery in the car
- Concentrate on the aligning the horizon to get a properly framed shot
- If they can pin back the doors that’s much better than trying to shoot through dirty windows
- Know the area before hand so you can direct the pilot where to fly to and when to circle
- Brace camera hard against your body and if you lens/camera has it enable image stabilization
- Try to fly on a day without much wind and your shots will be much smoother and you can minimize your air sickness