Top Gear Test Drive Hovercam


Hovercam were contacted to work on some new ideas for Top Gear back in January 2009. The production team were keen on trying new ideas to put a different perspective on the cars that are tested for performance around their test track at Dunsfold, Surrey.

Typically the program has featured two-dimensional imagery of super cars, so the idea was to bring a dynamic aerial view to not only the car but the track. After a few discussions with the team over the phone the production team were ready to bring Hovercam to location for testing. So on a grey day in the middle of March the team travelled up to Surrey and met with the busy Top Gear crew and enthusiastic Aussie Film Director Owen Trevor. It was then we learnt that we were going head to head with the new Mercedes SL65 AMG Black. In true Top Gear style this is how Hovercam matched up to the super car.

Specification Mercedes SL65 Black Hovercam

Length 4.6 m 2.0 m
Width 2.0 m 1.8 m
Height 1.3 m 0.7 m
Weight 2,100 kg 10 kg

Engine 6 litre V12 6 kW Gas Turbine
Top Speed 199 mph (limited) 60 mph
0-60mph 3.85 secs 10 secs
Fuel Super Plus Unleaded Jet A1 Fuel
BHP 670 8
Torque 1000 Nm 70 Nm
MPG 14 15

Clearly we were going to have a job to keep up with the Mercedes, but at least running a remote controlled helicopter is kinder to the environment.


Working with Hovercam

Most producers or directors that have not worked with Hovercam before are slightly sceptical and/or apprehensive as to what can be achieved with a remote controlled helicopter with a camera onboard. However, the Top Gear team really seemed excited about the possibilities.

The Hovercam crew always arrive prior to call time to conduct a risk assessment of the area they will be operating in and set-up equipment. After meeting the crew on location and going through the brief and any modifications, a risk assessment will be conducted. In this case, the brief from the director was “Show us what you can do!”

Once a risk assessment is completed the Hovercam crew will conduct a flight safety briefing for all at the location. This is to ensure that safe operating areas are maintained and all are clear on what to do in the event of failure. In essence the Hovercam is a machine in the air and it is possible that it might fail, therefore every precaution possible must be taken in the air and on the ground.

With our attention to detail at each location we have successfully maintained a 100% safety record over the past 20 years.


Ready for action

With a pretty loose brief we quickly decided that the best approach for the day was for both the driver of the Mercedes and Hovercam was to freestyle. Communication was set-up between the Director, Hovercam and the driver which supported safety on the day.

Hovercam come as a self contained filming unit and provide a microwave link to ground so that images that are being captured from the flying camera can be viewed live from our support vehicle via a clam shell monitor. This allows the director to see what is being captured and modify the action as required in the air and ground.

The driver (which may or may not have been Mr. Clarkson – I’m afraid we can’t give anything away!) was briefed to drive without consideration for the flying camera unless instructed otherwise. This meant we could effectively play chicken with a car going at speeds around 100 mph to get a shot.

The whole shoot took around 4 hours and as time went on the director was getting the feel as to what can be done with our machine and subsequently wanted to really push the boundaries. The Hovercam crew ended up using pretty much every shot in their repertoire on the day, which included head to head, swooping and peeking in the window shots to name a few. As you can imagine the Top Gear experience had left the Hovercam crew fully pumped with testosterone and eager to do more. Everybody on the ground seemed really happy with the way the day went and Owen Trevor, the director, made a point of thanking the team. Job done!


The results

It took a while to get some feedback from the BBC because our footage was in post backlog as the first of the new series of Top Gear was looming for the editors. However we got some feedback a couple of weeks later and the production team were really happy with what we had captured.

Some of the shots taken by Hovercam can be seen on BBC iplayer Series 13 episode 3 and is currently being used in some of the trailers for the Series.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00lnd97/Top_Gear_Series_13_Episode_3_(new_series)/


Hovercam Ltd. are industry leading specialists and have a team with over 20 years of experience in aerial filming and photography.

Tags: iss032 | hovercam | top gear | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Articles
Grading BBC Sounds
Simone Grattarola

The BBC has launched its new personalised music, radio and podcast app with a campaign that follows one listener’s journey from meeting Kylie Minogue in a lift to Idris Elba on a bus. 

BBC Sounds offers a single home for the BBC’s thousands of hours of audio content, including live and on-demand shows and special music mixes curated by artists.

BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative division, took the brief to agency Riff Raff Films and Megaforce directing duo of Charles Brisgand and Raphaël Rodriguez who in turn brought on board regular collaborators Time Based Arts.

Tags: iss135 | bbc | grading | bbc sounds | davinici | resolve | blackmagic | editing | Simone Grattarola
Contributing Author Simone Grattarola Click to read or download PDF
Switching to Internet Based Distribution
Chris Clark

"An IP status check for the broadcast industry", "Resistance is futile", "IP points the way forward for the broadcast industry"...

Yes, we've read the headlines too. But rather than force you into submission, scare you, or leave you feeling like you have no other choice, we want to give you the information that helps you to make a sensible decision about Internet-based distribution.

So what’s stopping you from making the switch right now?

Tags: iss135 | ip | internet | distribution | cerberus | Chris Clark
Contributing Author Chris Clark Click to read or download PDF
The making of The Heist
Tom Hutchings Shine TV has never been one to shy away from a challenge, be that in terms of using new technologies, filming ideas or overall formats: we pride ourselves on being ambitious and risk-takers.
Tags: iss135 | liveu | heist | streaming | cellular | mobile | connectivity | Tom Hutchings
Contributing Author Tom Hutchings Click to read or download PDF
Test, Measurement and Standards
Alan Wheable The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), is a non-profit trade alliance that fosters the adoption of one set of common, ubiquitous, standards-based protocols for interoperability over IP in the media and entertainment, and professional audio/video industries.
Tags: iss135 | omnitek | aims | SNMP | hdr | ai | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Your two week editing future
Alex Macleod

So here we are - January again! Usually a good time to reflect on the year just gone by, and a good time to look forward to the coming months as the new year begins.

When I was reflecting on my 2018, and when thinking about what to write for my first article for Kit Plus - I kept coming back to one theme - organisation.

Tags: iss135 | editing | mediacity training | premiere pro | dit | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF