Bell Helicopter Using Panasonic DVCPRO P2s

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. is now using Panasonic (opens in new tab) DVCPRO P2 camcorders to capture inflight maneuvers of the company's aircraft.

Michael Neal, supervisor of communications services for Bell, a Fort Worth, Texas manufacturer of helicopters, said that the company had upgraded from earlier camcorder technology and used the P2 to record both sky-high flight shots and ground shots of the company's helicopters and aircraft technology.

"With film, which our teams used in the 1980s, there's a certain look when it comes to capturing aircraft," Neal said. "The shutter speed handles the look of the rotor with a more natural appearance. Panasonic's P2 brought me back to that film look for the first time. With 24p, I am able to capture the aircraft much closer to how your eye perceives the images than with 30 or 60 fps, which tends to stop the blade and produces a much broader edge."

Neal said that due to the size and maneuverability of Panasonic's SPX800 and HVX200, they were used to advantage for taping within small aircraft cabins and for various maneuvers involved with air-to-air shooting techniques.

"One of the most challenging aircraft shooting techniques is shooting at a three-fourths-degree angle. This is usually the best shot to get as it captures the full view of the 'photo' aircraft in the air, but maneuvering the camera without hitting anything would be a challenge" Neal said. "But the SPX800 and the HVX200 are compact and lightweight enough to use in the tight space and the Anton Bauer battery is so small that weight is significantly reduced."