It is disappointing that equipment and services that are supplied are not always of the same quality.
This is a Continental Mount which is generally a quality piece of equipment but as you can see is somewhat lacking in maintenance. The counter balance instead of using manufactured weights, in this case shows some roofing lead and other lumps of metals. It is simply unfair to pay a rental and not be aware of the state of the equipment until you arrive at the helicopter.
How do you avoid this? Talk to the person who is actually going to install the mount and gently determine how much they know about cameras, or if they can just explain "neutral stability"? Any waffle, re-think, because with any mount, if they are not set up correctly you will lose.
This is a Sky Mount - the best thing about a Sky Mount is the name "Sky Mount". It sounds great. The worse thing about a Sky Mount is that instead of being a counterbalanced system, the weight of the camera is opposed by rubber bungies.
Under tension these bungies vibrate in sympathy with the vibration of the helicopter and thus this vibration is transferred to the camera. Through the eyepiece of a smaller monitor the image is fine, but longer focal lengths are a disaster. Frankly, this mount is little better than hand-held.
This picture shows a disgrace, pure ignorance. You can't treat helicopters like just another tracking vehicle.
The footage produced may or may not have been excellent but apart from the obvious lash-up, there are some very serious safety implications.
The seat has been turned to face rearwards, which is physically possible, but not approved by Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturers. In the event of an "incident" (pleasant helicopter industry euphomism for crash), the front passenger will smash the back of his head on the windscreen, this would produce much the same effect as your teaspoon on a boiled egg.
There are ratchet straps from the interior to the "rig" then around the skids. The skids on a helicopter are designed to spread outwards under the weight of the machine, therefore on lifting these straps will loosen. Worse is the fact that when you land on a hard surface the skids spread further apart than on grass, thus the straps would stress whatever they are attached to.
The helicopter is an AS350 B3. They have made the AS350B, AS350BA, AS350D AS350 B2 , AS350 B3; visually they are all pretty much the same. The key with this one is the number 3, because only the B3 has a FADEC system, ( Full Authority Digital Engine Control) which in English means a computor controls the fuel flow. FADEC systems are well protected, but they hate some radio transmissions. The short vertical tube on the end of the rig is a video transmitter! Will it affect the FADEC? Neither we nor that Pilot has the slightest idea, but all computors have a strange sense of humour.
The orange tubes on the skids are removable inflatable floats for flying over water. In the event that the floats were required they would be impossible to deploy, may deploy unevenly in flight, or rip, providing all on board a short questionable future.
Clearly understand, lash ups invalidate the Certificate of Airworthiness, no C of A means an illegal flight = the insurance company doesn't have to pay out ( nor does your personal insurance). That is the same in Aberdeen or the Amazon.
Helicopter accidents are nearly always expensive, large claims are not paid for on the nod, they are dealt with by knowledgeable assessors; (whose only role in life is to minimise the payout).
And there is a fate worse than death for you and your family, it's a lifetime of total paralysis with no insurance payout!