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    Shooting Plane Footage with a 60D
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    I was wondering if anyone had some tips on shooting footage of airplanes. Specifically propeller planes. I will be shooting a mini-doc on a rural airport in July. I have the chance to go up in a Stearman and shoot with an open cockpit (keeping the camera secure), however I know that I am going to experience rolling shutter issues, and I will have some issues when it comes to the speed of the propellers. I want to also get some great ground BROLL, but I want to make sure my settings are perfect for the job.

    Anyone have some insight?

    I will be shooting with a Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 and a Canon 16-35 for my wide angles.


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    Senior Member Samuel H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Madrid, Spain
    I shot this a few months ago:

    I wouldn't worry about rolling shutter too much as long as you're using a decent tripod, as opposed to shooting handheld, which I think would be a bad idea... because I also think you'd need a longer lens: the aerial shots in that video are shot with a 135mm on APS-C, and I was wishing I had a longer lens at hand most of the time

    With a 75mm, the planes would have to be pretty close to you to fill the image

    And I'd also worry about your neck: shooting upwards becomes painful after a while! (well, maybe with a 60D or a T3i it wouldn't, but it certainly was uncorfortable with my T2i)

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    Senior Member Allan Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Loose Gravel Sydney.
    We shoot a lot of airplane shows. A big part is the sound, before you take off (or after you land) ask the pilot to run the engine while you record it,
    so you can use this in place of the wind in the mic effect you'll get when airborne.

    For the Stearman position a mic about 5 feet off the exhaust out of the propwash, vary the revs for take off and flight, according to what the pilot advises
    and hope you're parked in a quiet area with no other aircraft around. Just get about 30secs flight so you can loop it in post.

    By parking the aircraft well away from hangar walls etc. you'll avoid the engine sound reverberating. You really need a separate audio recorder for this.

    Yes fast cam speeds will result in strobing propellors, mostly we've come to ignore it, it adds interest for the punters.
    For ground shots, a graduated ND filter will drop the sky 2 stops and allow more detail on the ground.

    Hope the airfield is closeby so you can make a few visits, get friendly with security etc. and let them know what you're doing.

    Last edited by Allan Black; 06-29-2012 at 05:15 AM. Reason: more
    35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.

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