January 31, 2013

Dorks On A Plane

What happens when you strap a couple of GoPros onto the bottom of the B-24 you’ve talked your way aboard? There’s only one way to find out!

Last Memorial Day my friend Bruce Bullis (Adobe video engineering) and I managed to ride a vintage bomber out of Moffett Field. Bruce charmed the GoPro folks into lending us a couple of cameras that we could mount on the outside of the plane, and we carried a Canon 5D Mk II and our iPhones aboard the plane.

Lessons learned, in brief:

  • Wind is a bitch. The tail-mounted GoPro got blown upwards almost immediately. I’ll spare you 15 minutes of extremely close-up footage of an airplane’s tail.
  • SLR video is hard. I’m not used to the Mk II (my “vintage” 5D doesn’t shoot video), and I found it really hard to compose & focus shots via the LCD panel. That’s especially true in tight quarters, like the rear plexiglass gun turret where I kept bonking with my lens. (This was all while trying not to fall out the open windows, or through the bomb bay doors, etc.) At least I’m happy with the stills we captured.
  • Video stabilization can work wonders but isn’t a silver bullet. The video embedded above was greatly improved by the Warp Stabilizer in Premiere Pro CS6, but some movements still produce that “jelly cam” effect.
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