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The ALTA gets a chance

Ok so I posted not so long  ago a review on the Freefly ALTA drone. Since then, I decided to take the plunge and give the little drone a $13,000 go. 
I must say, that if one sticks to the payload requirements, then this drone is fantastic. It saved my ass on a shoot down Victoria way on the Murray River last month, when the custom X8 heavy lift drone I had on the job as well had a failure of landing gear, so wham, out came the ALTA and saved the afternoon. 

I was flying a Red Dragon, with a Vintage Zeiss Superspeed on the front, and had a takeoff weight of around 13.8kg. Which was 800 grams over the recommended flying load, but it handled it quite well. The only issue I had was in the wind, which was quite extensive on the days we were shooting. When the wind came to a safe level of around 25km/h we flew, and the ALTA was rather messy. So after a quick change of gear, the X8 was up and running again. 

Since then I have tested the ALTA numerous time with various payload, the latest being last weekend with 6kg strapped to it. I gave it a good push around and it performed very well. Flight times were lasting around 10 minutes, or 11 minutes if I pushed the batteries to 15%. This is with 6kg payload! 

Unfortunately on the same weekend, the X8 had a crash due to a failed propellor and is now back on the bench, which pushes the ALTA to the top again and now has its opportunity again to show us what its got! 


The New ALTA

So there is a new kid on the block and his name is ALTA. Its the latest and greatest drone released by Freefly for use with heavy lift systems. 

My concern is the payload however. They claim that it can lift 15 pounds. Take my MōVI M15 which is 5 pounds, so that would leave 10 pounds of payload left to play with. Now I have done a lot of work on stripping back the Red Epic Dragon to its bare bones, but still don't get the lightest possible system for what is needed on the ALTA.

Therefore I am once again off to the workshop to weigh up all the bits and bobs and see what we can get its weight to. 

Watch this space for an update. 

SO! The judgement is in and the ALTA will not handle what we need to throw at it. At sea level it would be fine, but its when operating in the Australia summer heat or winter on top of a snow mountain where the ALTA fails as a heavy lift. The Spec sheet below says it all. Total gross weight drops considerably in various extremes, and unfortunately, when one is already pushing the max weight limit, 1 kg is a killer. 

Would 100% buy this machine for use with a smaller camera such as the GH4 or A7S though.. 


Thailand times

So for the past week I have been shooting down the south of Phuket, Thailand. Capturing my point of view from the air. 
This place is truly amazing for an island the size of Singapore. It not only offers the traveler a taste of Thai culture, but one can also explore sin city western style in Patong for a night out or relax further down south around the Kata region. 
Most people when they hear Phuket, relate it to Patong, which as mentioned can be great for a night out, but thats about it. For me, Thailand is about relaxing, taking in the culture of the locals and exploring the amazing islands that surround from all angles. 

Its just a shame that I cant spend more time here. As its back to the cold temperatures of Sydney next week. 



So just got back from the toughest shoot i've ever experienced. 
Flew into Coober Pedy, which is basically in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Australia. There is nothing but red dirt and opals. 
I was pre-warned about the flys there, and i thought to myself, yeh nothing I can't handle. I didn't expect however to almost have to pull the pin on the drone flying due to not being able to A. fly through a fly net and B. fly without a fly net, due to a thousand fly's covering every part of my face. On top of that there were high winds, which blew dirt everywhere. 

Anyway, we managed to get some amazing shots in the end and had a great experience. 


Cinestar 8

Was out testing the Freefly Cinestar 8 today and what an amazing machine. Rather intimidating, but the build is fabulous. 

The guys from Freefly posted a really beautiful test clip of their Cinestar 8 with the MÓVI MR and the new Red Dragon camera. Shot in 6k, the outcome is magical. 

They used a 24mm tilt shift lens, which is what we also have on our gear. So I look forward to creating some beautiful moving images with this setup.


Old days

Aerial shooting for me started a few years back when I decided to look into attaching my DSLR camera to a remote helicopter. What followed were many years of painstaking builds and lessons learnt, sometimes the hard way. 
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was sitting for my Private Helicopters license and dealing with CASA in order to fly legally for commercial purposes. 
These days Drones are the way to go, due to their technology and stability. Saying that however, nothing beats the speed of a large scale remote helicopter with a camera attached to it. Unfortunately they are a little too dangerous to have on most sets.
I have worked with some great characters over the past couple of years and am looking forward to many more in the future. 

most difficult study I ever experienced.... 

most difficult study I ever experienced.... 

Its a pass!

Its a pass!

The first drone added to the fleet

The first drone added to the fleet