Monday, November 9, 2009

Coney Island: One Last Time From The Air

Did you ever wonder how tv shows or films get those awesome aerial views of Manhattan? Those helicopter rides must get expensive. Unless of course you're not using full size helicopters, but radio control toy size copters with cameras attached. Upon stumbling upon the video above, we wanted to kmow more about how it was shot, and whether or not the NYPD tried to shoot the camera out of the sky from a SkyWatch tower.

Jason Lam, founder of New York City based, wrote via email that he shot the video using an AeriCam. With the redevelopment of Coney Island moving along, Lam wanted to capture the park in an aerial video, for posterity'sake.'s site states:
We specialize in Low Altitude and Close Range Aerial Photography. Simply put, we film where cranes and jibs are out of reach and full-scale helicopters are not permitted and unsafe for filming purposes.
Jason told NYC The Blog this is not a new idea, and in fact has been used by Hollywood for about 25 years. Fascinated with radio controlled planes and helicopters since his youth, Jason started experimenting by strapping his cell phone on an RC helicopter – with results that left more to be desired. As he started to purchase commercially available aerial systems from different companies, he became frustrated with high prices for poor design that was often heavy and aesthetically unappealing. So he did what any of us would do. He made his own AeriCam: "without any of the compromises of the current products on market."

Seeing as we've run into our problems on occasion while lawfully taking photos or video, our next question asked him about any run-ins he might have had while filming New York City in an AeriCam. "I have not have any problems with NYPD," Jason wrote. "They are most interested in the AeriCam than want to give me troubles."

You can see more aerial videos featuring New York City and San Francisco on Jason's Vimeo page.

And if you'd like to try out some of your own aerial video or photography, you can always get some helium balloons and try it yourself. Here's a step by step how-to.
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