Filming from an open aircraft in -6C

I recently got the opportunity to shoot and edit a brand video for Brancott Estate (a wine manufacturer based in New Zealand). The brand campaign was run by agency Atomic PR. Their idea was to produce numerous first experience type videos. A notable video was following adventurer and author Alistair Humphreys flying in a glider. It was my job to capture his experience in the most interesting and dynamic way.

Brancott Estate Glider.jpg

I rigged the glider with a suction mounted GoPro Hero 4 to capture Alastair's reaction and hid a lavalier microphone/ pocket recorder to get clean audio. The glider was surprisingly silent apart from a bit of whooshing wind.

 I then jumped into the two seater plane and propped open the window. Even though it was a delightful 14 degrees on the ground I was told to wear every layer of clothing I owned. I chucked on a winter hat, extra t-shirt, warm coat, gloves and a scarf and really glad I did.

Manchester Camera Operator Cal Thomson

I took my Sony FS7 and Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 lens to get as many shot sizes as possible. I attached the camera strap around my neck and off we went racing down the runway. With the wind chill and the altitude the temperature dropped to around -6 degrees. It was an incredibly freeing and an adrenaline pumping experience to be leaning out of a small aircraft cruising alongside the glider.

Understandably their was a bit of vibration from the plane but the Tamron Image Stabiliser did a great job of counter acting that. I also smoothed out some of the shots using Warp Stabiliser in Adobe Premiere.

Two Seater Open Aeroplane

I was only able to stay in the air for 20 minutes before my hand had frozen to the camera grip. It was time to head home and film Alastair's landing from the ground. Overall it was a great experience and something I'm really glad I did. Not only did Alastair fulfill his first glider flight but I fulfilled my first air to air filming.

You can watch the full video here: