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19/05/2010

Pictorvision Joins The A-Team

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Second Unit DP Larry J. Blanford is always excited when he can get to do aerial work himself. In the case of Twentieth Century Fox's feature version of the 1980s television series The A-Team, he said he was even more excited because he got to put Pictorvision's newest aerial camera stabilising system, the Eclipse through its paces.
For one particular sequence shot in British Columbia around the Vancouver Port, Blandford found shutting off the larger lighting fixtures, designed by First Unit Cinematographer Mauro Fiore ASC and Gaffer Dave Tickell, would make it easier and safer making the action much more visual.
"I decided to shoot au natural with the Genesis, along with Panavision’s f2.8 11-1 zoom," he said. "Historically, most aerial systems tend to struggle with stability regarding a large lens. The weight and length seem to always be an issue.
"This was one of those energy shots so important to an action picture," he explained. "One thing we had working against us was that Pilot Fred North had very little room to manoeuvre. With so many ships in port, the large space got small very quickly. So, to cover the action, Fred needed to make tight turns with the helicopter having to bank extremely steep. However this was not a problem for the Eclipse even though Blanford was shooting anywhere from 100mm to 275mm in the banking shots.
"At one point we did a shot where we rose up from the water to literally drop away as fast as Fred could, while I pulled back on the lens," he explained. "Fred was able to almost dump the helicopter on its side and the Eclipse stayed level. We had the images being transmitted to the ground. Quite a few people commented that they could see what the helicopter was doing and then would look at the monitor and were stunned that the images they were seeing were coming from the same helicopter. These shots were fun!"
At the core of the Eclipse's superior stability is the patented XR Motion Management technology, enabling the most advanced steering, stability and pointing capabilities available on the market. The Eclipse will not topple, provides an absolute level horizon and also features faster start-ups and resets.
Blanford concluded: "After using the Eclipse, I was so glad I decided to do this aerial work myself. The system really showed me what the possibility for aerial cinematography is for future films."
(BMcN)
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