Jul 25, 2001, 12:12 PM
Post #1 of 4
Flying Video: The basics
Where do I go to find out about the basics of camera flying, specifically the photography aspects?
I have almost no experience with camcorders & I need to learn the very basics. Like why do some camera flyers use the tiny camcorders on the side of the helmet, while others use these big monsters on top of their helmets? What medium do you use & how is it translated to VHS? What medium/equipment do you use if you want your video clip to be used on a TV commercial?
"I think I think, therefore, I think I am, I think!"
The main practical difference between top and side-mount camera's is the type of camera being used. The side mount cameras are a little more expensive but you also get a lighter package. The main downfall is that since the camera is sticking out of the side it makes it easier to be hit by a riser. Top mount camera are good because they dont present as large of a target for the risers to hit on as the canopy opens. The "big monster" cameras sometimes allows the cameraflyer to use a higher quality camera (like a three chip vs a one chip). The camera you use all depends on how much you want to spend. For less then 400 you can get a S-vhs camera that will record vhs quality video or you can spend $2000+ on a digital camera. These cameras are capible of capturing stills and encoding the file for uploading to a computer with no addition software. The resilution on these is up to 3x that of VHS. There are many different formats of video that you could use. It all depends on what you are planing on shooting... If you are just getting the camera to record your skydive then a super 8 media camera would work just fine. If you are planing on filming 4 or 8 ways for comp or tandems for money then I'd bump up to Digital 8 or MiniDV. Most professional commericals are filmed on high quality film like 16mm or higher with 3 CCD chip cameras. Cameras like these are pretty expensive. Thats not saying that you cant make a commerical using s-vhs, I'd check on the requirements from your local TV station on that one.
Easiest way to translate any medium is to plug your camera into the in RCA plugs on a VCR, put a tape in and press record on the VCR as your tape is playing.
Before you go and strap a camera to your head and jump out of a plane, talk to some local camera flyers and jumpmasters to see if you are ready to fly the camera. Cameras present an increased danger and you should change your emergency procedues to deal with horseshoe mal with your camera. Before you strap a camera on ask your self..... Am I willing to ditch a $2500+ camera and helmet if you have a mal? If the answer is no then dont jump a camera. If the answer is maybe... then hold off on the camera for now untill you are ready to say yes. If the answer is yes reconsider all the risks and reask the question... Just remember 2 highly experienced camera flyers have died this year alone because their camera caused a mal that they could'nt get away from in time to open their reserves. If the answer is still yes then talk to local camera flyers and instructors for hints and tips on your first jump with a camera.
I've ordered my camera (PC-110) and am getting ready to start videoing freefly jumps with it. I chose the PC-110 because of its options and the quality of its video. The price was hard to justify but after seeing the quality of the videos from the rest of the Freefly Greene County group... I had to get it Initally my instructors were leary of me flying the camera due to my low number of jumps (149). But after seeing video of me in freefall and jumping with me they did'nt have any objections when I asked again.
The main practical difference between top and side-mount camera's is the type of camera being used. The side mount cameras are a little more expensive but you also get a lighter package. The main downfall is that since the camera is sticking out of the side it makes it easier to be hit by a riser. Top mount camera are good because they dont present as large of a target for the risers to hit on as the canopy opens.
I feel that small side mount cameras - while they are more susceptible to riser strikes - are safer overall.. Look at the 3 camera fatalities this year.. All were top mount cameras(video and still) that got entangled with the main or reserve.. Ring sights also played a big factor in 2 of 'em from what I understand.. I currently jump a PC5 on a side mount.. I don't plan on going to a top mount or adding a still for a long time - if ever.. Whatever you jump, minimize snag points as much as possible..