Aerial Filming took a giant leap forward when Swedish aerial specialist, Peter Degerfeldt at Blue Sky bluesky.se challenged Gyro-stabilized Systems in Grass Valley, US, to build a GSS 520 5 axis system that would produce rock solid images at a speed of more than 300 knots per hour.
Blue Sky’s client, the Swedish company Saab Defence and Security, required high end motion and stills for their multirole fighter Gripen.gripen.com
Normally, all stabilization systems on the market are approved for helicopters, and thus a speed of maximum 125 knots per hour.
Saab required at least 300 knots for their filming and stills projects.
GSS took on the challenge, and on a cold mid winter day, north of the arctic circle in Sweden, the Blue Sky team mounted the brand new GSS 520 on to the weapon station of a jetfighter.
Suspended in the Gyro was a Red Dragon 6K mounted with a Canon 30-300m lens.
We chose that particular lens as it provided the shortest snout.
No cables, between the Gyro and the cockpit, were used.
Aerial DP Peter Degerfeldt was flying in the backseat of the Saab 105, operating the Gyro via modem.
Picture was transmitted via the Paralinx Tomahawk HD inside the cockpit to a Atomos 7” recorder/monitor.
Despite the fact it was -20C (-4 F ) on ground and probably much colder in the air, everything went flawlessly.
“Our philosophy is to push bounderys in everything we do, In this case we needed to do both still photography and footage at the same time to maximise outcome. One advantage with this system is that we can fly in speeds where Gripen flies more naturally says Jonas Tillgren, Brand and marketing manager At Saab”
Gripen – the smart fighter
Power, flexibility, efficiency: only one modern fighter holds them all in perfect balance.
Fuelled by Saab’s thinking edge at every stage of its development, Gripen is more than a fighter: It’s a national asset that protects sovereign independence and empowers a nation towards a more secure future. That’s why we call it: the smart fighter.
“It was a dream come true,” said Peter after the first mission. “It couldn’t have gone better, no problem what so ever at those speeds, both in panning or even looking straight down.
I could zoom all the way in at 300mm, still rock solid at 300 knots; that’s pretty brutal. We tried to provoke the gyro with high speeds, banking, pulling 2.5 Gs, even during a roll it was rock steady.”
Finally, “After two sorties with the jet, we mounted the same system on our helicopter. Within 15 minutes we were airborne again shooting the Gripen jetfighters starting, landing and orbiting the chopper.”