Technology these days has opened the door for more opportunities for film makers world wide. People that normally wouldn’t be able to produce a film with high production value are able to now. The playing field is more level than ever between professional film makers and your friend who likes to bring his camera and home made slider along to all your climbing trips. Recently the RC helicopter industry has been exploding and making it more affordable than ever to get aerial shots of all almost all adventure sports. There are many different models and prices out there, some only a few hundred dollars for a decent set up. An aerial rig is a must for any movie that you’re making, to deliver a different and unique perspective, which is what our job is as visual story tellers.

Bruce Wilson of Three Peak Films uses the Mountainsmith Tour FX camera lumbar pack to carry the parts for his remote control helicopter
The Tour FX holds all of the essentials for the helicopter.

Unique perspective

In film making and photography its typically best to deliver a different perspective than what the viewer’s natural eye can see. Aerial video and photos have been around for decades. In the adventure sports realm other than winter sports it still has a unique and new feel to it delivering a perspective that most people haven’t seen yet.

Fly Where No One Can Fly

Film makers could easily hire a pilot to fly a manned airplane or helicopter to a big wall to shoot climbing. There are limits to where and how close you can be to the subjects you are filming. For example you can’t fly a manned heli under 500 ft, depending on the area and you can only get so close to the climber with out it being extremely dangerous for both parties. Can you imagine trying to get aerial footage in a slot canyon? With an RC heli you can fly where no other aerial vehicles can possible fly. Being only feet from the cliff walls you can get smooth camera movements that have never been seen or done.

Affordability

When RC helicopters first gained popularity it was apparent that the footage that one was able to get would be unparalleled. But most low budget/hobby film makers/photographers soon found out that it was extremely expensive to buy a heli, gimbal, POV, remote control, batteries not to mention if you crashed with your DSLR on the drone. Recently, RC companies have provided solutions for the hobbyist where you can get the entire set up including camera and POV set up for around $1000. The companies keep developing better software and more affordable products and it will continue in that direction.

It will become more and more common as time goes on that low budget adventure film makers will be using these drones providing a higher production value to even the most simple video.

On a recent assignment to Mexico I wasn’t able to bring my large carrying case for my heli and remotes. I had to break it down and find a lighter more portable way to travel. Aerial video was important as it is always a goal of mine on my shoots. I really wanted to get aerials of lovers beach in Cabo San Lucas. What I ended up doing was putting a remote in a camera bag to protect it while traveling and trying to get the shots I wanted. In the past I have beat up my remotes on shoots resulting in breaking them and they are expensive. This time around the Tour FX set up worked great. I ended up flying and getting a cool sunset shot of Lover’s beach.

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Bruce Wilson of Three Peak Films with his dog in the Mountainsmith Tour FX
Not the intended use for the Tour FX, but it works!

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