As a San Francisco aerial photographer and aerial videographer, I always have one ear to the ground when it comes to advancements in camera technology designed for flight. I like to think I’m prepared for most innovations, but this one totally caught me off guard. Peter Degerfeldt of Blue Sky, and aerial filmmaking company, challenged a Gyro-Stabilization company based in Grass Valley, CA to build a GSS 520 5-axis system that would be capable of producing perfectly rock solid and smooth images at a speed of more than 300 knots an hour to allow them to capture fighter jets in action for their client, Saab Defence and Security, and their multirole fighter, the Gripen.
Such a request was more than double the current normal speed of what can be mounted on helicopters, which max out at 130 knots per hour. The gimbal company, GSS, took on the challenge, and on a cold mid winter day, north of the arctic circle in Sweden, the Blue Sky team mounted the brand new GSS 520 on to the weapon station of a jetfighter. What resulted is the jaw-dropping footage above.
- Suspended in the Gyro was a Red Dragon 6K mounted with a Canon 30-300m lens.
- They chose that particular lens as it provided the shortest snout and gives less drag. No cables, between the Gyro and the cockpit, were used.
- Aerial DP Peter Degerfeldt was flying in the backseat of the Saab 105 jet, operating the Gyro via modem.
- Picture was transmitted via the Paralinx Tomahawk HD inside the cockpit to a Atomos 7” recorder/monitor.
- Despite the fact it was -20C (-4 F ) on ground and probably much colder in the air, everything went flawlessly.
Holy smokes, this changes everything about aerial filmmaking.