With 20 years specialising in aerial and vehicle-based stabilised remote head filming equipment – from leading industry commercial drones to high speed camera tracking vehicles and electric quad all-terrain vehicles – BeyondHD know the market inside out. Their world exclusive Cavalon Pro Gyrocopter is making history in the creative industry: as the world’s only modern day certified gyroplane, it is rewriting the rules of aircraft capabilities. CEO Keith Harding speaks to TCC about the Cavalon Pro and gives an overview of some of their other innovative products to show what they’re capable of.
BeyondHD have been working in high end TV productions for more than 15 years with credits spanning a wide range of genres including sport, wildlife, music, drama and commercials. Despite the variety of productions we work on, the project workflow tends to be similar for each discipline. Ground based work tends to start with a storyboard where we assist the production in matching the vehicle and/or gimbal to the shots required. After this, it’s about the lens and camera solutions, the filming style and the budgets; aspects that are discussed with the DoP and line producers. When aerials are involved, the communication with the location managers must be absolute. This is because it’s critical to ensure all the necessary suitability checks on specific locations can be achieved with the drones or our manned aircraft, the Cavalon Pro.
Our revolutionary Cavalon Pro Gyrocopter is the world’s only modern day certified gyroplane and is recognised for a higher degree of safety, quality and reliability for operators. With its price point, the lines between drone usage and gyrocopter are becoming increasingly interchangeable from a budgeting perspective which enables new shooting perspectives at a reasonable rate. Once on location, the critical part of our equipment is the ability to quickly deploy and to monitor effectively.
Monitoring is critical so we have our own film carts, containing wired and wireless monitoring for video village, focus puller and engineering. Our concept of being self-contained but easily integrated with the rest of the production is what feeds our repeat business.
Location restrictions, particularly with aerials, are probably the biggest difficulty that we encounter which is why we implement such in depth pre-planning before going on shoot. Whether it’s our gyrocopter or cine drones, the aerial permissions are becoming more of a challenge due to the unfortunate publicity of incidents involving consumer drones flown by amateurs. We also see this creeping into the industry whereby some camera operators consider purchasing a drone to open new avenues and don’t consider the scale of the investment. The base cost of a drone is around £40-50,000 but this is just the beginning. Thereafter, additional factors such as control, monitoring, support vehicles, cameras, lenses and experienced crew of TV pilots and gimbal operators must also be considered. Our crews can fly the aircrafts safely and within the law on every production but not many UK operators take on the substantial investment of drones which can impact the safety aspects of aerial filming.
BeyondHD and German manufacturer Dynamic Perspective teamed up to produce the CavalonPRO DynaX5 3 years ago. The idea came when we recognised an opportunity to launch a new genre of commercial aircraft for aerial filming and surveying type applications. The lightweight nature of the aircraft meant we had to find a high quality 5 axis gimbal that was both a top end stabilisation but weighed less than 20kg. We found an Austrian company that was building an axis that possessed both of these qualities and as a result, the weight and price point are around a third of its predecessors with the stabilisation either equal or better. The combination of the Cavalon Pro and DynaX5 provides incredibly stabilised shots with long zoom lenses so we are exceptionally happy with the result. The gyrocopter also has significant operational cost savings, a uniquely safe low speed and low altitude operation meaning we offer leading aerials for a fraction of the price of helicopter shots – about a fifth of the price.
It is capable of up to three hours between refuelling (using unleaded petrol) and airspeeds from 25kts to around 100kts, making the gyrocopter the ideal solution; as drones are restricted by regulation and helicopters by budget.
All Terrain Vehicles
BeyondHD also provide vehicle filming services with cars, a remote tracking vehicle and even segways. With the right choice of quality gimbals it is easy to move between drones and aircrafts to ground based vehicles and mounts. You can mount the gimbals on our electric quad bike for stunning all-terrain tracking shots. It’s great for wildlife productions, having been used on Planet Earth II due to its advanced vibration and inertia dampening system along with the quiet and smooth acceleration. The gimbals are used in a variety of handheld configurations with the support of rigs, such as the ExoSkeleton or SteadiSeg, which are capable of taking the operator and stabilised gimbal over many terrains for up to 12 miles – much less work than a track and dolly system!
Keeping it Green
The move towards reducing the carbon footprint of the aircraft and vehicles is important to us at BeyondHD and is also considered by producers. Drones are battery powered but we have invested in advanced charging solutions for up to 30% more efficiency to make them even more environmentally friendly. Our flagship of fuel efficiency is the electric quad which produces zero emissions and provides quiet operation to lessen the impact on wildlife for both sound and emissions pollution. The gyrocopter, although petrol operated, is undoubtedly one of the most fuel efficient rotary-wing filming aircraft in the world. By considering our carbon footprint carefully throughout the design process of these vehicles, we are confident that we are leading the way to a more environmentally conscious way of working.
Integration is key for us and it is our goal to create unique camera movement. We are currently in talks with LED lighting companies about super-efficient low weight and low power fixtures to provide up to 30 minutes of 800w HMI drone mounted cine-lighting. We are also keen to introduce tethered drones to fly them in previously prohibited areas and also consider sporting events such as football matches and marathons without the need to land in order to change batteries at risk of losing wireless video transmission.
To see more of BeyondHD’s filming equipment, visit their website to see their full range of camera vehicles and aerial products.