Harcourt’s Coastal Agent Tolemy Stevens – voted Queensland’s No 1 in 2017 – wanted to do a profile with a difference; reporting on all his beachfront sales, from the front seat of a helicopter. It was an idea that posed a number of serious challenges for a budget of $6,500. Half of which would be burnt in air-time, as we’d need to do at least two runs from Coolangatta down to Main Beach. One focusing on Tolemy and his commentary, and the other, on his point-of-view. This would involve taking off the doors and doing the run at 15′ or 20′ above sea level. Private drones just can’t do this stuff. It’s illegal.

  1. AUDIO. We’d need to plug straight into the avionics so we could record realistic commentary. Doing a voice-over and adding helicopter SFX just wouldn’t cut it. We settled on two solutions. Record to an independent audio unit and also back up on an i-phone. The local pilot’s store on aviation row at the Gold Coast airport sold both the adaptors we needed. Then we plugged into ABC Helicopter‘s EC120 to do some audio tests on the ground.
  2. The next challenge was how to mount an Epic W on the plexiglass, shooting back on Tolemy. And also picking the right time of the day when the morning light would shine through the sunroof and illuminate his face, when heading North.
  3. Here’s the test: https://embed.showcache.io/idgEnF9kEMO
  4. The shoot itself involved weather planning then a 3am start to rig the chopper and GoPro’s. We made two runs in perfect weather.
  5. The final stage was sourcing all the UAV shots we’d done of buildings Tolemy was referring to and also sending up our own drones to fill in any gaps.

It was a complex project with pre-production, production and post production spanning two weeks, and drawing on years of archival footage. Tolemy: “It’s solidified my exisiting listings and won me a few more.”

Special thanks to camera assistant Steven Grevis for all his prep work and ABC Helicopters.

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Published by Brett Clements