Production : Universal Studios
Country : USA
To fully realize a chase scene to be shot in the Czech Republic for the motion picture, "Van Helsing", Flying-Cam technology was requested to add a dynamic, exciting flavor to the sequence.
The production requested a shot flying above a canopy of trees, diving down through a hole in the forest and chasing the film's hero, Van Helsing, through a narrow, curving forest canyon. The sequence was to be the P.O.V. of a giant bat-Vampire monster as he chases Van Helsing, as he drives a stagecoach pulled by six enormous, midnight black horses.
To acclimate the horses to the Flying-Cam helicopter, a 10-minute flight before shooting began was all that was required before they relaxed and felt confident with the machine. The pilots then moved into position.
Envisioned as one long continuous shot, the distance to be travelled by the giant flying bat was quite large, over 1000 feet, and was going to require special efforts from the Flying-Cam crew. The first pilot, David Storey, was positioned in the forest, at the end of the move, along the path of the carriage. The second pilot, Bruno Ziegler, was at the top of a tall man lift, 150 ft above the ground and slightly higher than the treetops. The first pilot would control the machine for take off, and then hand control over to the second pilot, who would then begin the shot by flying out above the treetops. As the camera ship dove down through the trees, finding Van Helsing driving the stagecoach, the first pilot would assume control, and fly the second half of the shot through the narrow corridor of trees and rock, closing on the stagecoach. Only by using the two pilots in relay, working as a team could this type of shot have been achieved.
Several passes were done. Some were shot without the carriage as plate shots for later use. Through meticulous planning and preparation, this shot was in the can by lunchtime, leaving the afternoon to create more cuts to build the sequence. Having seen what the Flying-Cam was capable of, more passes in different areas of the forest were done that afternoon. By the end of the day an entire sequence of shots had been shot in one of the most unique, dynamic and exciting ways possible, with thanks to Flying-Cam.
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