We take the view that we attach a helicopter to a camera, any camera whether it is stills or IMAX.
Sadly there is an unspoken (but widely held) view amongst film and TV people "that it's only stills". They do not seem to appreciate is that this is what the photographer does for a living and they, like the rest of us, rather hoped to be re-employed!
On any photographic flight, the only reason for the flight is to put the camera and the photographer in the right place, at the right time, in the right light.So that is absolutely no change to what we normally do.
For the pilot, the flying may be slightly easier but the permissions and exemptions are again exactly the same as for movies and it is for this reason we get asked to do so many stills shoots.
Pictured above is a Twin Squirrel in "photographic configuration" ie using the Tyler mount seat base which provides a full 4 point harness, footrest and very importantly a wind deflector. The wind deflector reduces the huge inflow of air that makes work so difficult.
The seat base places the photographer at 90 degrees to the ariframe normally on the same side as the pilot. Thus there is no back wrenching twisting round in a normall passenger seat. An assistant can easy work and pass items to the photographer.
Clients can ride in the front left hand seat if required.
Call any helicopter company on earth and ask them " Do they do stills flights?" and you know the answer.
Now ask them to explain the difference beween a Minox and a Gandolphi!
Flight Logistics has undertaken complex development work. Pictured right is a 35mm movie format Learjet periscope lens fitted with a Hasseblad 6 x 6 camera.
Image size aside, the technical problems were that the lens temperature ranged from minus 35c to plus 18c in 30 inches.
The results (far right).show full 6x6cm coverage from a 35mm projected image without vignetting!
Pictured above is a rig that was developed to photograph 285 sites throughout England and Wales. A digital Nikon was mounted in a waterproof box, the image being down loaded to a laptop on board.
We use a wide range of aircraft to shoot from. The key is to use the most appropriate.
In the case above, clouds were required for a car poster campaign. Understandably the initial request was to shoot from a helicopter. The problem with helicopters for this role is they are limited on range, altitude and duration. Therefore if there are not suitable cloud formations within striking distance, you're sunk.
We recommended and used, a business turboprop which has particularly large windows. The key window was specially polished to remove scratches.
On day one from London, the best cloud formations were near Newcastle, on day 2 off Dublin.
A happy client watched from his leather armchair whilst drinking fresh coffee from a bone china cup all at 22,000ft!
So what is important regarding stills, exactly the same as film and TV work, everything. From permissions, to marine band radios, to selecting landing sites that you can see the light on the location. We take stills shoots very seriously.