Columbus air show puts new Sony solid-state camcorder to the test

Director and cameraman Jody Eldred mounted the new XDCAM EX solid-state memory camcorder with a fisheye lens inside the cockpit of an aerobatic plane to capture 12 minutes of POV footage.
Director and cameraman Jody Eldred and his crew shot footage of the “Gathering of Mustangs & Legends” air show from the back of a military C-130 with the Sony XDCAM HD camcorder.

Capturing aerial footage of vintage World War II airplanes and world-class aerobatic aircraft required a unique set of production tools.

Director and cameraman Jody Eldred used a combination of Sony XDCAM HD optical camcorders and the new XDCAM EX solid-state memory camcorder to stand up to high speeds, extreme gravity pulls, wind, turbulence and tight spaces.

The event was the “Gathering of Mustangs & Legends” air show in Columbus, OH, which brought together a collection of more than 50 legendary World War II fighter pilots and one of the largest gatherings of P-51 Mustangs since the end of the war.

The crowd was treated to a stunning aerial demonstration of historic P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft, current U.S. Air Force aircraft and aerobatic demonstrations by world-famous pilots, including the world champion woman aerobatics pilot Patty Wagstaff.

Eldred had four crews shooting throughout the four-day event using the PDW-F350, the new PDW-F355 and the new PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX camcorders. Each camera was chosen for a specific application, according to Eldred, because there was a range of different shots and environments he was trying to capture.

Footage shot with the optical disc cameras and the solid-state SxS ExpressCard media used in the PMW-EX1 seamlessly matched and cut together well during post production, Eldred said.

The crews used the PDW-F350 and F355 camcorders primarily as the A cameras to capture the beauty shots and fly-bys, Eldred said. The PDW-F355 also was used to document more than 20 hours of interviews with some of the most famous P-51 fighter pilots in the world.

Some of most dramatic footage was captured using a fisheye lens adaptor with the XDCAM-EX1 and mounting it inside the cramped cockpit of Wagstaff’s plane, inches behind her head. The camera provided HD POV documentation of her 12-minute demonstration, sometimes at 10Gs.

A military C-130 cargo aircraft was used as an aerial camera platform for most of the air-to-air footage. Using both XDCAM camcorders, Eldred and his team shot footage straight out the back of the plane.

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