Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sneak Peek 01: Jim Rodriguez's Hammer-Spin

The editing is really coming together! Above is an example of some of the footage and audio that we've been working on. It's a sequence showing Jim Rodriguez's "hammer-spin" in the Pitts with IP Don Weaver. Jim figured out the exciting way that a Pitts doesn't need as much forward stick at the top of a hammerhead.

We're editing our heads off whenever we can to get the film out this summer. And the music is coming along well, too. Ace audio guy Scott Cannizzaro just dropped an early mix of his take on Acro Grass and it's stellar.

More news as it happens!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Filming Performer Cameos: The Starfighters

Production has been off lately because I’ve spent waaaaay too much time in and out of the hospital getting some issues with my leg taken care of. Nothing that’s going to goof up my medical certificate or anything, but massively inconvenient. A bacterial infection in my calf that later developed into an abscess and required surgery to go in and take care of it. But I’m walking around just fine and the doc says that the surgical would is healing well. I can fly all the acro I want, and that’s a good thing.

But there’s an upside. I really wanted to get more cameos by airshow performers for the film, but ran out of 2010 airshow season and didn’t expect to be able to get any done in the 2011 airshow season before the editing was complete. The delay associated with the leg problem has meant that post-production now overlaps with the earlier shows of the 2011 airshow season, so I can get some more performer cameos.

I got down to the Valiant Air Command TICO Airshow at Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX) on Friday as the guest of the Starfighters. Starfighters, Inc. operates the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter in many roles, including flight training, flight test, threat simulation, and photo chase. The company is a substantial player in commercial space activities, in affiliation with NASA and otherwise.

Although the Starfighters haven’t done airshows generally since 2008 or so, they perform for the hometown crowd at Titusville each year.

I took advantage of the opportunity by interviewing Mike “Bloke” Robinson and Rick “Comrade” Svetkoff planeside for Acro Camp. David Allen, who did a lot of work on Acro Camp, and who runs The Pilot's Flight PodLog and Other People's Airplanes, helped out massively with the shoot.

I also got some great B-roll of the aircraft and the crew, both to drop into Acro Camp and to use in an upcoming Airspeed episode. The aircraft is really photogenic and makes some amazing noise. For a Cold War aircraft, you’d expect the airplane to be old and creaky. But not so! The airframe, manufactured in 1963, just turned 3,000 hours and the engine has seen only 48 hours or so since LMOH. And we had low-angle natural light pouring into the hangar, which provided a pretty dramatic look to the footage.

In other news, I brought all of the ground footage for the film on a hard drive down south with me. I’ll be here with my folks on Jekyll Island on the coast of Georgia through Monday and I’m hoping to have the time to get the rest of the way through indexing the footage while I’m here so that I can start putting together rough-cut sections. It’s going to go pretty quickly once I get to that point.

I’ve seen some of the rough cut sequences that Will Hawkins has put together for A Pilot’s Story and they’re stellar. He’s way out ahead of me. I need to catch up. We have a wager. Whichever of us releases his movie first gets a shot of Jeremiah Weed. The second-place finisher gets . . two shots of Jeremiah Weed.