Things to Know When Filming from a Helicopter

It’s incredible to see the footage you can get when taking photos or videos from a helicopter. The birds-eye view gives you stunning views you can’t capture from the ground. But simply putting the shutter or record button isn’t enough. There are a few specific steps you can follow to get the best images when filming from a helicopter:


  1. Choose the Right Pilot

Make sure to choose a pilot who understands the best flying techniques for filming and photography. When capturing the ideal photo, there are time limitations around weather and light conditions. You need a pilot who understands the timeline, and the ground crew can also offer the necessary support for the flight path.


  1. Ensure the Doors Can Be Removed

You need a full, unobstructed view while filming. The best way to achieve this view is by choosing a helicopter with doors that can be removed. You’ll need to request a “doors-off” service when you book the flight. Ensure the doors are out of the way before you get ready to leave for the trip.


  1. Always Use Safety Equipment

A safety harness is essential, especially when the doors have been removed. The recommendation is to ensure that you are attached to the helicopter at two points: the floor and the frame. Additionally, your seatbelt adds another layer of protection. A harness keeps you secured while allowing you to move around the helicopter as needed. Ideally, use a full-body roofer harness. But a regular carabiner and climbing harness will be fine.


  1. Wear Warm Clothes

Even if the weather is comfortable on the ground, expect you will need a few extra layers when flying. When the doors open and the rotors run, it’s easy to get chilled in the air. So, make sure to bring an extra jacket, coat, and hat to stay comfortable in flight. Always choose fitted clothing because anything loose can fly away or cause obstructions in front of your camera.


  1. Use the Right Camera Exposure

High camera exposures help to reduce the risk of motion blur. Most helicopter photographers will use exposures higher than 1/1250s – but the ideal exposure is 1/1600s or more. Not only is there a lot of motion that you can see, but a helicopter also has both low and high-frequency motion that you can’t see.


Written by Becki Andrus