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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

CopterStudios outfits mini-helicopters with JVC GY-HM100 camcorders for close-range aerial shooting

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CopterStudios (Santa Rosa, Calif.), a specialty production has outfitted two Halo remote-controlled helicopters with JVC  Professional Products (Wayne, N.J.) GY-HM100 ProHD camcorders for close-range aerial cinematography. The Halo-based helicopters have captured breathtaking HD footage for cable network programs, movies, and TV commercials, as well as promotional footage for Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries, real estate properties, and golf courses.

CopterStudios owner Darin Huard founded the company five years ago because he recognized the valuable and incomparable cinematic perspective these mini-helicopter camera systems could capture. With the ability to hover or fly with precision, the Halo can get unique shots 50 to 100 feet off the ground, which would be too difficult or expensive to get from a full-size helicopter, camera boom, or crane.

Built by PhotoShip One in Mesa, Ariz., the two Halo remote controlled helicopters were designed and built specifically for close range aerial cinematography. “Once we took delivery of the helicopter systems, it was up to us to outfit them with our choice of cameras and wireless transmission systems,” said Huard. “We chose the JVC GY-HM100 because it offers features that are mission-critical to this application.”

Besides outstanding HD picture quality, Huard said the GY-HM100s are ideal because they are lightweight, extremely compact, and include a built-in Fujinon 10x lens. Plus, the camcorders can shoot both HD and PAL video in a variety of frame rates, and feature 3-CCD image capture along with built-in image stabilization.

“The 3-CCD chips in the JVC GY-HM100s also play a critical role. CCD imaging tolerates the vibrations of the helicopter better than CMOS sensors can,” Huard explained. “Also, when the helicopter moves abruptly, CMOS imagers can leave an unacceptable waviness in the picture, whereas CCDs don’t seem to have that problem.”

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