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  1. #1 Downtown Los Angeles - North By Northwest 
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Hello all.

    Wasn't totally planning on sharing this entire shot, but it's grown to become one of my favorite helicopter aerials filmed in Los Angeles.

    Blue hour, last light, a northwest trajectory, and calm skies.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb59a4ChegI

    This was actually filmed as one of the closing shots for a film pitch, but I rolled as I would for my long form aerial work.

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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    Absolutely magnificent. I was hooked all the way. And I tried to imagine how awesome this would be on an IMAX screen. Phew. Hot damn. I will watch this on a bigger screen if I get the chance.

    The music was like a mash-up of Blade Runner and The Shining - in fact I'm sure that some of the samples are directly from the latter. I loved it either way. Edit: I watched it again and noticed a little bit of Elfman's Batman theme, too.

    For those who believe that corner sharpness doesn't matter: please rethink. You'll never lose with sharp corners, but you might with soft ones. Oh, and vignetting is also unacceptable. Please, don't. :-)
    Last edited by Karim D. Ghantous; 03-16-2020 at 02:02 AM.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Mark Phelan's Avatar
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    Outstanding, Phil. Can you tell us what framerate you were filming at, or is that part of the secret sauce?

    Thanks for sharing. Love seeing great work. And kudos to Kevin Larosa too. Shows what happens when great talents come together.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member luigivaltulini's Avatar
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    Bello Phill ;)
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  5. #5  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Glad you liked it guys.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Phelan View Post
    Outstanding, Phil. Can you tell us what framerate you were filming at, or is that part of the secret sauce?

    Thanks for sharing. Love seeing great work. And kudos to Kevin Larosa too. Shows what happens when great talents come together.
    No real secret sauce here that's too obvious. It was 60fps for a 24fps timeline. Kevin is still one of my favorite pilots to work with. I have a short list of my favorites around the globe, but he's tops for sure.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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    2X RED Monstro 8K VV Bodies and a lot of things to use with them.

    Data Sheets and Notes:
    Red Weapon/DSMC2
    Red Dragon
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Brian F Kobylarz's Avatar
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    Exceptional work Phil. A treat for the senses.

    Appreciate you sharing.
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  7. #7  
    This is amazing!
    And now I'm curious - as you mentioned this is already a 60fps -> 24fps "slowmo" shot, how fast roughly were you flying?
    I mean, I could speed it up 2.5x but from that altitude judging ground speed is tough :)

    Again, this is so rad!

    Edit: also, you must have caught this after Santa Ana's or a recent rain to have that clarity!
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Mike Altino's Avatar
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    Beautiful Phil. Always amazing aerials.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    If I become a crypto millionaire*, I'm going to recreate this shot with these four systems:

    - Monstro

    - 5-perf 65mm

    - 4-perf 35mm anamorphic (probably Master Anamorphics for minimal distortion and maximal image quality)

    - 2-perf 35mm

    Hopefully I can fit all these in the helicopter at the same time. But we may have to do two runs, each with the Monstro and at least one film format.

    Why? Because - so many people are wondering, no doubt, what this would look like on film, directly compared to Monstro. I think it would be fun. The catch would be running time and magazine size. Film stock would depend, but I'd have to go with 250D by default.

    *I'll take $500,000 if I can get it.
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  10. #10  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Fun one Karim and we have been plagued for a couple decades by mag limitations, even with 2000' loads. When I started doing aerial cinematography it was indeed a film only endeavor. If you're curious, my first shoot was indeed with Super 35mm Panavision XL2 on my shoulder, both feet on the skids of a helicopter, strapped in for love and life.

    That was the 2000s, in 2010s however and pretty much when Dragon landed was when digital was showing it's real strengths for helicopter work. Film was still being used in the larger advanced gimbals (which weren't up to where they are today in terms of stability), but it was still a commitment in terms of workflow. 15-per 70mm being the "big boy" proposition, and of course that looks stellar on a proper IMAX screen.

    VistaVision 8-perf actually had a presence in the aerial game for a while, even cameras just bolted to the helicopter. But truthfully you still need to land and swap mags.

    The 3 highest quality aerial camera systems as of March 2020 are:
    - RED Monstro 8K VV
    - RED Helium 8K S35
    - Arri Alexa 65mm

    That also reflects what the industry has been using on blockbuster films through exhibition work really. So it's not just me saying that basically.

    You'll notice a lot of my aerial work for clients is long form and often several minutes long. I have a 45 minute long shot from Hawaii that would actually not be possible to shoot on film for instance. Especially overcranked. Most of my long form aerials tend to be within 2-16 minute takes. Really depends on too many factors, but that's the average over the years.

    If you want to go for the gold, array work is the next realm of quality, which you've also seen by me publicly. I actually like the look of a 60x40 or 80x40mm array image plane. We've done larger too, but it becomes increasingly harder and more limited.

    This particular shot does have some special processing I've been tinkering with that my next project will likely use for all the finals. Hard to really tell on YouTube, but if you had the straight export you'd certainly be able to see a difference. Interestingly I've added grain here too.

    Even now with single camera shoots I still had to land with 1TB Mini-Mags, but I've switched to the KipperTie 2TB mags as of late 2019 and that thus far has allowed me not to waste the time, fuel, and money needed to land per flight. Mostly equating typically to an average of 15-30 minutes more role time per flight. Sometimes more if you have to land further away from the zone to swap mags. I have yet to fill up a 2TB card though and need to swap in the air. But I imagine on a couple things I'm shooting *hopefully* this year we will.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
    ________________________________
    phfx.com IMDB
    PHFX | tools

    2X RED Monstro 8K VV Bodies and a lot of things to use with them.

    Data Sheets and Notes:
    Red Weapon/DSMC2
    Red Dragon
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