Intern Inside: ShotOver F1

When it comes to production capabilities, Brain Farm aims to be second to none. The images they are able to capture provide a cinematic experience unrivaled in the world of action sports and entertainment. The reason? TECH. Tech and aerial cinematography are key ingredients in Brain Farm’s cinematic style.

I  talked with some of the team here to go over what it takes to work with this type of gear,  specifically Brain Farm’s go to aerial cinematography system, the ShotOver F1.

The ShotOver F1 is an ultra stabilized platform system developed for any type of high velocity cinematography, from helicopters to golf carts. Not only is it a 6 axis gyro stabilized platform that delivers unparalleled stability and control in the field, the system can house top of the line camera systems from RED to Arri.

While we won’t go into the specifics of fiber optic video transfer for clean 3GHz imagery or remote controlled polarized filter rotation, we will say that it is paramount that the ShotOver technician makes sure everything is running smoothly before the system is brought out into the field.

Before each shoot we set up the ShotOver F1 to do a few tests to ensure the system is properly balanced.  The camera and lens inside the gimbal need to be perfectly balanced or there could be instability in the image when the system is exposed to turbulent flights or bumpy roads.  A routine torque check of the nuts and bolts is also done on a regular basis to avoid any internal systems coming loose in transportation or during a shoot.  A simple wipe of the lens and a blast of nitrogen will finish off the prep.

Mounting the system onto the heli is a process in and of itself.

For this shoot we are rigging our ShotOver to Rocky Mountain Rotor’s Bell 407 using the Air Film G1 Mount.  We start by installing the mount onto the nose of the heli.  If we are rigging to an A-star or Eurocopter we use a different mount that attaches the airframe and the skid.  The gimbal is then installed onto the mount using the “jesus bolt” and aircraft safety wire.  Next we place the auxiliary box in the rear seat of the heli and route the turret and fiber cables out to the gimbal on the nose.  The turret cable provides the gimbal with power and commands from the operator’s laptop while the fiber cable sends the camera image to the monitors inside the heli.  From the aux box we route BNC and XLR cables to the monitors that are mounted for the operator, pilot and director as well as the laptop cable that connects to the laptop in the operator’s seat.  Lastly we run the power cable to the heli’s 28v auxiliary power receptacle.  The mechanic will sign off on your installation and you are ready to fly.  The ShotOver is then powered up and tested to make sure the system is 100% for the shoot.

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Consider this…

Aerial filming can be a high consequence method of filmmaking.  Here at Brain Farm we frequently operate in the mountains and regions with fast moving, aggressive weather and are very used to getting shut down at a moments notice.  Hence, it is very important to know when to pull the plug and not push the limits in inclement weather.

Another big factor in the aerial filmmaking world is having a pilot who is skilled at flying with a camera.  The pilot has to understand exactly which type of flight pattern the  camera operator and director wants or else the shot can be blown especially if you are filming action sports. As we have experienced in the past,  having a pilot who speaks English or having a translator is also very important.  You say go right, he flies left, it just doesn’t work. A lot of focus and team effort goes into pulling off the perfect aerial shoot.

If you want high quality, aerial cinematography to make your production stand out, Brain Farm offers aerial filming production coordinating services and rents these stabilized camera systems; ShotOver F1, Cineflex ELITE & Cineflex HD V14

Send us an email at info@brainfarmcinema.com with your aerial cinematography needs.

Photography and words by @therealphilhessler

Feature photo by @scherbas

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