This week, Audience Productions got high. Courtesy of a privately owned helicopter, we got some great aerial footage of the Polytec plant in Oberon. The owner of the business has his own $4 million chopper to get around country NSW quickly, because the nearest airport is a 40-minute drive away.
After driving up to the helipad in Somersby, we had to delay take-off for a bit. Because of the cloud cover, we wouldn’t have been able to see where we were landing. Luckily it cleared up as we approached Oberon, so we didn’t have to visit the aforementioned airport – and we were doubly lucky, because a cotton truck caught fire that day and stopped everybody getting to Bathurst by road.
Once we landed, we shot some scenes inside the warehouse, then headed back into the air to grab some exterior aerial shots of the plant. It was much clearer in the afternoon, so we flew around it a few times, with DOP Richard in the front. The windows are really large and clear so you can see more as you fly over, as opposed to being on a plane.
In the front, there was a little window you could open, so Richard stuck the camera out of that. We had brought a Zacuto rig for that shot but it was too crowded in the front. You’re meant to put two hands on the rig to stabilise the camera, but it was too hard to do and would’ve made it less stable. Instead, we shot at 50 frames – one second of film is about 25 frames, so it’s like shooting slo-mo. Shooting more frames means we can stabilise it a bit more in post-production, to account for the movement of the chopper and the blades.
Because we spent time getting all the shots possible, we almost didn’t make it back in time to land. You’re not allowed to land in what they call “night time”, which starts from around 5.17pm. As we approached our destination, the pilot said we had made it back with about three minutes to spare – any later and we would’ve had to go all the way to Sydney Airport.
In the end, it was a massive day, but we got through it without crashing. Next step: buy a corporate chopper for Audience Productions!