Dustin Wenger sent us his new video about this aerial platform called the RB Copter. Everyone's always intrigued by the ability to fly HDSLRs and get shots that are unusual for film – so here's another option for you.
bullfilms.com, is the production company that owns the R.B. Copter. It is not available for purchase, just rental and comes with a pilot and a DP (me.) I really just wanted to share this with you because what we've been shooting with it is very different from all of the videos we've seen on the web. We've taken a tool that was used by hobbyists and used for nature video and made it able to track faster action and maintain better stability.
More background from Dustin
Thanks for taking interest in the R.B. Copter video that I shared. The R.B Copter is a custom built electric powered, 8-rotor flying mount with a remote-controlled 2-axis gimbal that can carry a camera payload up to 8.5 lbs. The advantage it has over traditional RC “pod and boom” type helicopter mounts is that it is much more stable with the 8 rotors, which are in constant communication with each other to maintain stability in the air, and footage looks as though it was shot on a Steadicam. In our demo video, there are only 3 shots that were stabilized in post. Also important is that the R.B. Copter is battery powered, so there's no issue with emissions that you would have with a gas powered copter.
The R.B. Copter is controlled by a pilot and the camera gimbal is controlled remotely by an operator who is able to watch a wireless video feed on a monitor above his controls. The gimbal pan and tilt is responsive enough to keep up with quick action, as seen in our demo video. That, combined with the ability to move the camera through just about any space imaginable in any way manageable makes the R.B. Copter an extremely versatile tool. It can reach heights of at least 1/2 a mile (we've had it up to 2660 feet already) and has a flight radius of 5 miles, though flight time is dictated by battery life and weight. With a Canon T2i, we are getting flight times of over 6 minutes, depending on the maneuvers. This gives us a few takes per flight, which is usually enough for each shot as they are thoroughly planned before take off. Any maneuver you can imagine is likely possible with the R.B. Copter.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)