Videography from Above: Wings Air Helicopters Take Movie Production to New Heights

KWIPPED recently interviewed Anna Macsai of Wings Air Helicopters based out of White Plains, NY, to discuss aerial videography. Wings Air Helicopters offers a variety of high flying services for film, TV, documentaries, and promotional materials. We wanted to know more about Wings Air Helicopters and how they support some of the biggest names in the TV and film industries, like: Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Fox, Summit Entertainment, BBC and Discovery Channel. Chances are, you’ve seen some Wings Air footage in blockbuster productions including: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Total Recall,” “Elysium,” “The Expendables” and many more.

Wings Air Helicopters has 5 helicopters in their fleet—3 turbine and 2 piston. The larger turbine helicopters are mostly used for aerial videography. The smaller piston helicopters are often used for smaller photography projects.

 

 

Question:
What types of “shoots” are best suited for helicopter work?
Answer:
Helicopters are the ideal solution anytime you have an aerial shot that requires a lot of heavy videography/photography equipment. Our pilots are able to communicate with cameramen in great specificity in order to get detailed footage.

Question:
How is using a helicopter different than a drone?
Answer:
The difference between drone and helicopter videography, is the ability to talk to the pilot. The drone also doesn’t have the same ability to capture a shot. The pilots have a lot of expertise in knowing the weather conditions, lighting, among other details. You also don’t have to worry about the sometimes unpredictable remote-controlled nature of a drone when manually controlling a helicopter!

Drones in New York City are restricted in certain areas and completely unallowed in many circumstances.

Question:
Are you concerned about drones taking over the aerial videography industry?
Answer:
No, we’re not concerned about drones. They are a good tool for specific purposes, but there will always be a need for pilot controlled helicopters in aerial production.

Question:
What is your typical set-up for in-flight videography?
Answer:
Most photographers we work with have their own equipment. There are a few professionals that we work with closely. The equipment is somewhat specialized, so they prefer our helicopters as they know what to expect.

Question:
Are there any new developments in helicopter cinematography/videography?
Answer:
Shotover – it’s primarily a type of camera used to capture straight down shots, but it can do much more than that and is a technology that is always evolving. We work very close with the manufacturer of Shotover and we’re one of the few companies in the U.S. to have access to the Shotover K1 systems. We also provide other types of Gyro Stabilization Systems, including: Wescam, CineFlex and Continental Systems.

 

Shotover example:

The SHOTOVER F1 Captures Aerial Footage of the Himalayas from Shotover Camera Systems on Vimeo.

 

A special thanks to Anna Macsai of Wings Air Helicopters to taking the time to speak with KWIPPED for this article. To see more video footage go to https://wingsair.net

 

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