After Golden Hour

When Edward Khoma and the folks at Carbon Studios set out to shoot aerials over San Francisco from an R44 Helicopter, they didn’t expect to be shooting in the dark. After last minute flight changes, their sunset-timed flight changed to after dark. Pairing the impressive low-light abilities of the Sony a7S with the reliability of the Movi M5, the shots in the dark turned out better than expected.

The project started with the idea to shoot with the then new Atomos Shogun and the Sony a7S. The Shogun was the first recorder able to capture 4K out of the A7s. When Khoma shared his idea with Kevin Hill, Hill agreed to help out with all things Movi while they were in the air.

“The addition of the Movi M5 in the shoot really made a difference in being able to capture jitter-free aerial footage,” raved Khoma. “I was able to tell the pilot to do certain moves around buildings and maintain my frame perfectly with the precise control over the Movi. We switched between [dual operator] and majestic modes which allowed us to improvise camera movements on the spot and get the exact shots we had envisioned.”

“Needless to say it was an amazing experience. The footage we captured was extremely stable.”

Khoma explained further, “Prior to this video I’ve shot out of a heli, but with a Ronin. The footage was stable at times but wasn’t there all the way and, more importantly, the horizon drifted quite a bit. My friend, Kevin Hill from Rotor Perspective, had just received his Movi M5 and I was interested in seeing how the Movi system withstood the challenges of shooting out of the helicopter. Needless to say it was an amazing experience. The footage we captured was extremely stable and we had zero issues with horizon drift. Not to mention it was significantly lighter and my arms weren’t in as much pain after holding it for the hour of flight time.”

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Like any project, this one was not free of challenges. One of the considerations when using a gimbal like the Movi in these circumstances is the task of booting up the gimbal in flight. Generally, 3-axis stabilized gimbals require a stable location to boot up. Helicopters, boats and other vehicles are almost never stable while moving. The Movi has a Motion Boot setting just for times like these.

“Luckily the Movi software has a “Motion Boot” setting. As the name states, it allows you to boot the Movi up while its in motion,” Khoma commented. “This was a life saver.”

Perspectives is an excellent example of a film crew leveraging their gear to help curb unexpected bumps in the production plan. The night flight brought a moody, foggy cityscape. The Sony a7S and it’s fantastic low-light abilities, captured in beautiful 4K thanks to the Atomos Shogun, all expertly stabilized with the Movi M5. The result is a glowing example of what can be achieved with one of the more popular M5+Camera combinations we’ve seen to date.

To learn more about the Movi M5 and the many compatible cameras, visit store.freeflysystems.com.