We've posted about cameras attached to RC helicopters before, but unlike that fraudulent Kickstarter campaign, there are legitimate companies pursuing the marriage of camera and RC helicopter. So, here's the lowdown -- folks in Germany and Finland have attached RED Epic cameras to remote controlled octocopters in a devious attempt to blow our minds. I've embedded two videos below. One shows the RED Epic being epically flown whilst attached to an octocopter. The second has ninjas. To be honest, the only thing that would have made this more internetishly savory would been if the ninjas revealed they were actually cats. All goofing aside, the stability and smoothness of the footage is pretty remarkable:
The first video is by an Estonian/Finnish company called Helicam Services Oy, they can fly "Canon 5Dmk II, RED Epic, Ikonoskop a-cam DII, Panasonic AF100, Canon C300 .etc The whole package starting from 2000 € / day" (that's around $2600). But no Arri Alexa, apparently it's too heavy:
The video caption notes that no post-stabilization was applied to the footage. That's pretty impressive. Of course, you have to be a very good, very experienced, pilot to achieve that kind of stability and smoothness. In case you are wondering, from the company's FAQ:
Q: How much it costs to buy such helicopter?
A: We are not in the business of selling them, but anyone can buy RC copter for about few thousand euros. To be able to use it for video, it takes
lots of customizing and literally years of practice! It important to understand that in wrong hands RC helicopter can be extremely dangerous.
So, yeah, there's that. Luckily, that's why the piloting service is part of the package.
The second video is the most recent offering from German visual effects company, omstudios. They made news last fall when they first started attaching RED Epics to octocopters. Judging from the earlier footage it looks like they have achieved much better piloting since then. Definitely worth watching the video to the end -- it really shows the kind of breathtaking shot you can achieve with this rig.
[Update: And now you can watch it in real(ish) time too! This looks like it might be sped up a tad in places.]
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/36091209
You can see more aerial footage shot by either company at their respective websites and on Vimeo (links below).
Have you experimented with attaching cameras to RC helicopters? Are there any companies doing this kind of thing here in North America? Do you think you would risk your $20,000 plus camera for that sumptuous shot? (Before you answer that, check out what happened to that Sony FS-100 Koo posted about.)