If you’re a filmmaker, you’re always looking for a new perspective on familiar subjects.
One of the most effective ways to gain that new vantage point? Take to the sky via helicopter.
Helicopters have long been a standard of the videography industry for recording quality aerial shots. From oceanscapes in Titanic to the mountain vistas in Lord of the Rings, helicopters have facilitated some of the most breathtaking moments in our favorite movies. Even much simpler pieces can benefit dramatically from a birds-eye view.
In recent years, drones have emerged as a popular and affordable method of acquiring aerial footage. However, there are a few major benefits to chartering a helicopter flight for your next shoot instead.
Helicopters can carry significantly more weight than a drone can, which opens up a much broader range of lens and camera options. Although there are certainly light cameras that shoot in a high resolution (for example, the ubiquitous GoPro), their quality is always going to be checked by size and weight restrictions. A helicopter has no such challenges.
It’s also important to keep in mind that a helicopter can keep you in the air for much longer to go much farther. Unless you’ve done significant scouting ahead of time, you don’t always know the exact right flight path to land a money shot until you’re airborne.
If you’re on a tight filming schedule, you might also need to nail a wide range of segments in as few takes as possible. Helicopters allow you to get a lot more done in one session (and without worrying about the batteries running dry). If you’re at all concerned about weather, helicopters are also the way to go; helicopter shoots are far less likely to be shut down by wind.
Bear in mind that there are different kinds of clips you can capture from the air, so you will need to establish what exactly you need before booking your helicopter. Once you’ve established that a helicopter’s powerful load bearing and flight length capacities are right for your project, there will be a few variables to keep in mind as a first time flying videographer.
You’ll want to know in advance that the helicopter you charter can fly with its doors off — a feature of some of Longhorn’s available aircraft. This ensures that you’ll have a clear shot within the maximum range of motion.
Make sure that you plan on a stabilizing method. Although most editing softwares have some level of shake reduction, we all know that “we’ll just fix it in post” is a promise that can only be kept to a limited extent. You’ll want to use a professional stabilizer, which can be rented if you don’t have one of your own. Editing softwares should be seen as an emergency aid only.
Once you have a strategy in place, the last piece is chartering your helicopter to help you land the perfect shots. Longhorn is ready for liftoff when you are.