Aerial video footage using inflatables.

I made this short film in which the viewer floats around Charlies Flunstellas Constellation, which is installed in the FACT sculpture hall, as part of the Knowledge Lives Everywhere exhibition.

The installation was designed by Neil Winterburn and students from year 8 & 9 at Weatherhead High School as part of the Flunstellas project.

This film was made by attaching a tiny video camera to a small blimp balloon and steering it as it floats around the installation using fishing wire.

This is a cheap and Lo-Fi way to create smooth video flythoughs, that can be filmed at great heights. The technique involves attaching a lightweight video camera to a helium blimp or balloon and controlling it on the ground using fishing wire. It was based on the excellent Skyfishing video tutorial by Tom Guilmette.

You will need
1.    A blimp or balloon full of helium.
2.    A very lightweight video camera e.g. the 4GB 808 #3 Spy Car Key Hidden Camera Video Camcorder f4 see image below.
3.    Gaffer tape.
4.    Fishing wire.
5.    Lots of headroom.
key cam

How to make
1.    Use Gaffer tape to attach one length of fishing wire to both the front and the back end of the blimp. If you are using a balloon this won’t matter so much as long as the fishing wire is attached to opposite ends. Your fishing wire will need to be as long as you want to go high.


2. Attach your video camera to the underside of the   blimp/balloon(see image). We found that the blimp moved much more smoothly if we draged it ‘sideways’ as opposed to forwards .


3. Turn your camera on, and slowly allow the balloon to rise,   keeping a firm grip of each end of the fishing wire.
4. Make your floating fly through of the Flunstellas Constellation by dragging the blimpcam along using the fishing wire.
5. The blimpcam will tend to swing like an upside down pendulum, we found it better to go with this motion, as opposed to trying to resist it.

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