Definition June 2021 - Web


ABOVE XM2 Pursuit’s Hammerhead was designed for the Sony Venice, and can carry three of them!

f we’re going to the lengths of having a camera on a stabilised mount, then putting that

stabilised mount on a helicopter, it’s probably best to take full advantage of the situation. So, why not more cameras? Why not six cameras? The idea of putting an array of cameras on a helicopter goes back decades. And because they’re the preserve of upscale productions, those involved tend to have an impressive credit history. Jeremy Braben, founder of Helicopter Film Services, has credits on the Fantastic Beasts and Jurassic World series, and both Wonder Woman productions, to name just a few. “The first array I recall was back in the early nineties,” he says. “It was three fixed Arriflex cameras on a Tyler nose mount. That could be considered an array. They wanted to acquire three plates in the same axis at the same time – and that’s the brief for shooting multiple- camera arrays.” Stereo 3D naturally created a need for more than one camera. Braben says: “Quite often, there were just two cameras, then visual effects got on to the idea of multiple cameras. With that, they can use the six-camera stitch, which is often used on aerials to give a huge frame to work with.” Especially given

project Westworld . As Oh says, his job involves both technical and creative work. “We make our own drones and our own platforms. On The Rise of Skywalker , we had three drone teams and 21 different drones. We were shooting main unit, second unit and VFX unit, and the VFX unit was flying an Alexa 65.” For that production, one of XM2 Pursuit’s drones flew a total of 749km of canyon photography. While Oh says there is inevitably some consideration over the size and weight of camera packages, various configurations are possible, with three- or six-camera set-ups common. “Now, we’re doing it with Alexa Mini LFs. On Westworld Season 3, there was a requirement from production to do aerials in

the expense of aerial camerawork, productions are generally keen to get as much out of them as possible. “The first arrays were built around Red cameras, but now we have developed an array for Alexa Mini LFs. It’s generally shooting Open Gate Raw, which means an awful lot of data!” Braben explains. If an aircraft with an array is good, consider the multi-aircraft excellence from XM2 Pursuit on productions such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker . The organisation is a collaboration between Pursuit Aviation and Melbourne-based drone specialists, XM2 – CEO Stephen Oh has credits as drone camera operator on Mission: Impossible 7 , Fast & Furious 9 and No Time to Die , as well as television


JUNE 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 27

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