Emma, Nicola, Angus & Alexa : "Helicopter Girls"

Arri offers a demonstration of its Alexa Mini filming an aerial shot

par Arri Camera Systems

[ English ] [ français ]

The audience in a conference room at Camerimage was greeted by producer Emma Boswell and camerawoman Nicola Daley, and were invited to follow them to the banks of a river that flows just beneath the Opera Nova. Indeed, Arri had decided to show off its newest featherweight camera, the Alexa Mini, in operation outdoors.
Emma Boswell, Nicola Daley et Angus - Photo AFC
Emma Boswell, Nicola Daley et Angus
Photo AFC

Installed on a solid 4-arm drone (8 propellers), and equipped with a wide-angle Zeiss T2.1 lens, the camera, including motors and battery weighs about seven kilogrammes. To this, one must add the "Gimball" stabilizer and its batteries. Angus, the pilot of the “helicopter girls” explains the security instructions : always keep a distance of 10 meters from any human, and especially, the crew must never come between the pilot and the machine.
After a few minutes of preliminary adjustments of the settings, during which the audience was asked to turn off their mobile telephones due to a risk of interference, the “Helicopter Girls” team then went to work, generating shots above the water, going up and down the river, and flying over the bridge that links the Opera to the Old City of Bydgoszcz.
Happily, the weather was clement that morning, with sun peeking through between the clouds – which is rather rare in this city in the middle of November ! The wind was blowing strongly, though, and reached gusts of up to 25 km/h, which is the maximum limit at which the Gimball can maintain stability.
The audience was nonetheless able to observe two successive flights of about five minutes each (the drone’s flight range is limited to eight minutes) and see the live feed from its camera on a giant screen. This lively and fun event was a welcome interruption from the monotony of PowerPoints !

Written by François Reumont for the AFC, and translated from French by Alex Raiffe.