RC helicopters provide an excellent platform to obtain dynamic aerial photos and video shots. Humans are very used to looking at the world from about 5ʼ above the ground. Placing a camera at an elevated vantage point by attaching a camera mount to the RC helicopter instantly allows for shots the human eye is not used to seeing.
Many options are available to equip RC helicopters with camera mounts and they come in a variety of sizes, configurations, weights, etc. Some camera mounts are large enough to fit full size cinema cameras and require a turbine powered helicopter to carry them. Others are small enough to be fit onto small RC helicopters and other types of unmanned aircraft or “drones”.
In most cases the helicopter camera mount will have moveable parts that allow a camera operator to orient the camera independently from the helicopter. Itʼs most common to see controllable pan and tilt axis which are known as 2 axis camera mounts, but some can also control the roll axis making them a full 3 axis RC helicopter camera mount.
As you may imagine helicopters exhibit and experience a fair amount of vibration and turbulence as they fly. It is beneficial for the RC helicopters camera mount to have vibration and gyro stabilization integrated into it to manage and keep vibration and turbulence from deviating the camera. In the past 40 years mechanical gyro stabilizers have been very popular for accomplishing this. Today weʼre seeing more and more use of electronic stabilization systems using very small electronic gyro and accelerometer sensors to stabilize the helicopter camera mount.
Thereʼs no question that with any feature length film made within the last few decades thereʼs likely a dozen or more shots that were acquired using a helicopter equipped with a camera mount.