Posts Tagged imax

The Earth Wins – the film that helos made

The first IMAX film to be shot entirely from the air has hit the giant screen. Helinews Editor Christina Hogarth speaks to Jerry Grayson and Sara Hine from Helifilms about their environmentally charged, 45-minute movie, The Earth Wins.

Helifilms, a production company established in the UK in 1989 by Sara Hine and Jerry Grayson, specialises in aerial filming using the latest high-definition gyro-stabilised camera technologies. In 2002, the company opened an office in Melbourne, Australia, followed by offices in Los Angeles in the US and Cape Town, South Africa.

Their work ranges from feature films to live sporting broadcasts, documentaries, and footage for museums and science centres across the world. Black Hawk Down, the James Bond franchise, District 9, Domino, Déjà Vu, The Island, We Are Marshall, Waist Deep and Transformers are just some of the films that feature their work.

The team consists of experienced aerial crews of directors, film pilots, producers, production coordinators, directors of photography, camera operators, technicians and helicopter engineers. Hine explains, “Cross-hiring helicopters allows us to focus solely on our specialisation in film. The film cameras that we use are almost the same price as a helicopter, but require slightly less maintenance.”

Now both a helicopter pilot and director, Grayson started out flying in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm where he spent eight years and was awarded the prestigious Air Force Cross by Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding gallantry in Search and Rescue.

He left the Navy in 1980 to focus on aerial film work and rapidly earned the accolade of being one of the world’s leading helicopter film pilots.

Grayson’s first exposure to the giant screen was conducting aerial filming for the IMAX concert film Rolling Stones Live at the Max, a film that broke new ground by being the first 90-minute feature and the first concert film for IMAX theatres.

He describes filming for IMAX as a completely different process to filming for the TV or cinema; the main difference being that the giant screen canvas is so huge that you cannot afford to have very much camera movement. It would be too overwhelming. Instead of the fast editing pace used in feature films and music videos, IMAX films require long shots, so that the viewer can take in the image.

“Filming for IMAX requires very gentle camera movements and very gentle helicopter movements because, as with all giant screen films, the action should be taking place within the frame rather than having to move the frame in order to achieve some action,” says Grayson.


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