“It sure beats working for a living.” That’s how I describe Chopperguy, our aerial video business. We shoot HD aerial video with a gyro-stabilized lens mounted on the nose of our Robinson R44 Newscopter helicopter, and the bread-and-butter for our crew is flying 80 hours a month shooting television news for KTVK-TV 3 and CBS 5 in Phoenix, Ariz.
When we purchased our R44 helicopter, we installed the Marshall Electronics V-LCD90MD 9-inch high-resolution camera-top monitor. We are using the V-LCD90MD for our laptop controller, which operates the gyro-stabilized camera we nicknamed Elvis. Operating the laptop controller is similar to playing a video game with a joystick and the key is seeing a great image of what you’re shooting. The Marshall has a bright, crisp image for focusing the nose-mounted lens. The monitor has other important features such as a wide gamut for selecting proper exposure, a histogram overlay for exposure, focus assist and peaking to indicate whether we are crushing blacks or blowing out whites.
Our helicopter is really just an expensive tripod. I’m a photographer at heart and demand the best from our equipment. Daily TV news requires tools that are simple and reliable. All of the great attributes of the V-LCD90MD monitor allow us to concentrate on what is really important: shot composition.
Bruce Haffner is owner, pilot and cameraman at Chopperguy Aerial Video in Scottsdale, Ariz.