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Filming clouds and landscape from a small aircraft on Arri 2c

Margaret Salmon

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This is just a general plea for advice from anyone who's shot on 35mm from a small aircraft.

I'm set to film clouds and an urban landscape (Glasgow from above) also take-off and landing later this week (weather permitting). 

I'll be shooting on an Arri 2c and Kodak 5203 stock with Schneider Xenon primes, as well as a Cooke Speed Panchro Series III 18mm lens. And 1600 ft of stock for 1 hour flight. 

Anything to look out for? It's a Piper 3 seater aircraft - I can sit in the front or back... Will have an assistant to help with changing mags and possibly film if better positioned. 

Thanks ,


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  • 4 months later...

I assume by now you may have made your attempt. I have only just read the post. The available workspace within the Piper aircraft will be very confined especially with a 35mm camera. Shooting through the window transparencies may be chancy if the surfaces are deteriorated by polished-out scratches. 

Of the small four-seat light aircraft, the most user-friendly is the Maule. A Piper Cherokee Six which has been converted for skydivers may be workable. The Maule aircraft is certified for rear door-off operation which removes the scratched window problem. Your camera needs to be tethered for safety and you would need to be restrained by the existing belts or better, a harness.

In the Maule or the Cherokee Six, your direction of view will be slightly rearwards. The Maule has a high wing with two lift struts each side that you have to dodge. An 18mm wide angle lens may pick up parts of the aircraft like wingtips or struts. 

In this example, I was shooting with a 50mm-500mm zoom lens on a Super16mm SI2K digital cinema camera with a singe Kenyon KS8 gyro. The objects in the image area a cargo rope rigged on the door to stop me from falling out although I was also harnessed and the camera on a lanyard.


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  • 1 month later...

Roberto. Very valid. I had forgotten to mention that. In a documentary shot in the Pibara region of Western Australia, landscape aerials had to be shot from a Robinson R22 helicopter with a Bolex H16 film camera at its highest frame rate to minimise the shake. It worked very well.

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