Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Michelle Kole's Epic Spin

Here's a sample of some of the great footage that we captured with one of the outboard cameras. This is a GoPro HD Hero mounted on the right wing strut of the Super-D and pointed more or less straight at Michelle.

Michelle pulled off a great seven- or eight-turn spin. Nice and stable (you can watch where the horizon intersects the frame). This angle gives a real sense of the world rotating.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Tech Frame

Going through all of this footage, one of the things that strikes me is an element that you probably won't see in the film. It's the first frame of most of the sequences shot by the airborne cameras. It's almost invariably one of the crew staring into the camera at the moment he pushes the button to start up the camera. It could be me. Or Roger Bishop. Or Will Hawkins. Or David Allen. Or even one of the Acro Camp IPs.

The shot above is from a quick camera test in the hangar. Roger and I were configuring a GoPro HD Hero to go hang on an aircraft. Probably checking video settings and making sure that the camera liked the SD card that we'd put in it.

Most of the time, the first frame is one of us either leaning into the front cockpit or standing there next to the wing strut, sometimes with the prop turning. It's lighter or darker out. It's this or that aircraft. We're more or less tired-looking. We're more or less anxious to get the camera on and the flight launched. But, in every case, it's a testament to the commitment and dedication of this crew.

Somewhere in the DVD extras, I'd like to do a string of the first three seconds of all of the Hero cam sequences. Or maybe use that for the menu background. And I'd like to take a series of first frames and use that for a border on the packaging.

This to me is a series of artifacts of the amazing amount of effort that everyone put into the film. Especially the techs. 18 or 22 -hour days. Constant technical challenges. Unpredictable sortie timing. Two or three aircraft out there on the ramp that might launch at any time. And getting all of this stuff safely offloaded onto hard drives.

And the quality of the people who gravitated to this project. Unreal. Can you believe that Roger Bishop took time out to come up and help out with this? Or that Will Hawkins jumped in to be DP? Or that David Allen, the most enthusiastic guy in all of general aviation, poured heart, soul, blood, and bile into this like he did?

In case you were wondering, the luckiest schmuck in all of aviation, filmmaking, and many other endeavors is the guy sitting at this keyboard right now. Holy shit, did we do a wonderful and special thing last month!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jim Rodriguez Gets Shirt-Tailed

We expected that all of the instruction at Acro Camp would be dual. But it turned out that two of the campers actually soloed in taildraggers. And Michelle Kole soloed both the Citabria and the Super D.

Here's a frame grab of IP Barry Sutton tripping Jim Rodriguez's shirt tail after his solo in the Citabria.