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Helicopter Video Mission

Posted on August 11, 2020

Working from the Backseat

Most of the time I need to be at the controls of the aircraft when I’m photographing. I move my airplane into a position that lets me capture my subject from an ideal perspective -- not too high and not too low. Tonight was a bit different. I had an aerial video mission that required some advanced video systems and a helicopter. After coordinating with the client and the pilot and camera operator, we set off to record some daytime and sunset videos of a project in Burbank, where I got to work from the backseat.

The Hollywood Sign as seen from behind helicopter pilot Peter Lowry of Group3Aviation as we fly over Griffith Park

As we circled around Griffith Park, getting in position to fly over the Hollywood Sign, I spotted small red objects a large home overlooking the Hollywood Reservoir (also called Lake Hollywood). When I zoomed in I noticed they were red sculptures of figures holding yoga poses.

Once we were over the Hollywood Sign the perfectly manicured bright green grass of Lakeside Golf Club really grabbed my attention. It didn't look too busy considering the beautiful day. I hope the golfer on the green made his putt!!

On our way back to Van Nuys Airport to wait for sunset, we flew over a section of the Los Angeles River that has been revitalized. I was lucky enough to be able to kayak it a few years ago and it was a wonderful experience. Highly recommended if you have the opportunity. More info at Explore the LA River

The Los Angeles River snakes around Lake Balboa in the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys, California

Once the sun started to set, we hopped back in the helicopter and Van Nuys Airport was covered in a golden glow as we took off.

The view down runway 34L at Van Nuys Airport

We circled around the Hollywood Sign just as it started getting dark. Our goal was to be on site just as the sun dipped below the horizon.

Hollywood Sign at sunset, just as the sun dropped below the horizon

Once I got back to the office I was able to see how the footage turned out. I love this sunset clip showing Downtown Los Angeles and the Griffith Observatory, panning across Los Angeles to the Hollywood Sign, and flying over the Hollywood Sign into Burbank. Such an dramatic sunset! Couldn't have asked for a better flight! Thanks again to Peter from Group3Aviation at Van Nuys Airport for the great flying and Doug for the exceptional camera work!! Looking forward to working with you both again soon!

More footage here