Working around aeroplanes, big jets and helicopters demands you have your wits about you and your public liability insurance paid up!
Filming airside is a whole other ball of wax. It's a dangerous environment. We've done a few hundred hours of helicopter aerials in our time, have completed the HUET course, own aviation-grade safety harnesses and have filmed in and around airports, here and abroad.
Locally, we have a great working relationship with Dan Egan and the team from ABC Helicopters and Garry Liehm from Brisbane Executive Helicopters. We've flown with Dan onboard the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and also on the now defunct Chopperline, which used to be owned by former Iron Man Grant Kenny. We've worked extensively with the Westpac chopper on the GC and have spent many hours chewing the fat with Peter Bird who is responsible for building the Carrara operation, which now includes POLAIR.
We've done a lot of trips between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts filming for Queensland's Surf Life Saving Association, including water rescues and all aspects of training. And it's always the pilot that flies the shot. Given our digital budgets, we're mostly hand-held, out the door, and on the skids, although we have experience with gyro mounts.
In terms of the aviation industry, it's not very often you get a chance to work on big productions. An opportunity came our way a few years ago when Airways Aviation needed a film, urgently, to win the training contract for Singapore Airlines. At that point in time, the company was midway through a Gold Coast airport rennovation and had one training plane and a few graduates available. We would have to 'mock' the whole thing up. We wrote the film, cast the students, borrowed the uniforms from the local pilot store and delivered. In time and on budget. It worked. The rest is history.