Aerial Photography on a Budget

Lower Cost Aerial Photography

My previous post contained information about an electric helicopter and camera harness for remote controlled aerial photography, the AeriCam. Since the cost of the AeriCam helicopter and camera harness starts around $9k (in kit form), I wondered whether there was a significantly less expensive way to get professional quality aerial photographs and video. Since I was an avid radio-controlled (RC) airplane builder as an adolescent, I thought I’d do a little research to see what could be constructed with current technology.  Here’s what I discovered.

How to Pick a Helicopter for Photography

After some research, I discovered that there are radio controlled helicopter kits that are capable of carrying professional still and video cameras.   Continue reading

How to get that “Film Look” in your videos

I’ve never liked the look I get from consumer video cameras. The combination of narrow aperture and small sensor means that your subject and the background are both going to be in focus (to some extent). This can make a shot look too busy and distracting. Part of the “film” or “cinema” look is due to very selective focus, with the background receding into a blur.

With the recent introduction of DSLR’s with video, such as the Canon 5dmarkII, the Nikon D90, the Panasonic GH1 and others, it is now possible to shoot with wide aperture lenses yielding very selective focus. While this is one contributor to the “film look” there are many others.

In a recent free audio class entitled “Discover the Secrets as used by top DOP’s to create the ‘Film Look’ using your HD video camera,” Philip Bloom and Dennis Lennie discuss a number of factors that contribute to the film look. In addition, they address several related topics, especially interesting to those of us who are still photographers and eager to explore video.

These topics include,

  • What defines the ‘film look’,
  • How you overcome the limitations of small sensor cameras,
  • How important shallow Depth of Field is,
  • The 5 Fundamental factors Phil uses when creating the ‘film look’,
  • What is absolutely essential kit,
  • How significant grading (post production) is in the overall process.

As a still photographer with a small amount of video experience, I found the discussion engaging and highly informative.

You can access the audio from their new educational site www.fstopacademy.com. This class was so good, I can’t wait for more.