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BBC News Cockpit
City of London

The "Cinematographers" Choice

A gyrostabilised gimbal gives the best all round performance for aerial filming. Arena offers the range topping Cineflex HiDEF V14 for both SD & HD shoots. Not to be confused with the basic HD camera fitted to the Robinson News Helicopter, the "84x" V14 can be supplied on either our AS355F2 twin squirrel aircraft for "go-anywhere" filming, or our Robinson R44 Raven II aircraft for budget applications (certain flying restrictions apply). We think our choice of aircraft, technical specifications, experience, knowledge & pricing can't be beaten.

Arena offers 100% reliable HD links & comms, our pictures are professionally colour-balanced and there's none of the wobble associated with some lesser systems. Also bear in mind cameras mounted on the very tip of the nose struggle to film objects on the left or right as you fly past them (as the skids hang in shot). A side-mount, or nose based side-mount allows the aircraft to approach, track past & orbit objects providing a dynamic & flexible result.

Aircraft: The AS355F2 is a well proven twin turbine engine aircraft, that can work lower and much further into a built up area than a single engine aircraft. The R44 Raven II is a proven single piston engine aircraft ideal as an economical cameraship. Both aircraft can carry the Cineflex V14, offer good performance and duration. Both aircraft are available with floats for filming over water.

Camera: We offer a choice of the Sony HDC-1500R or HDC-F950 Cinealta 2/3" FIT 3-CCD camera with full bandwidth 4:4:4 digital RGB processing at a native resolution of 1920x1080. These cameras meet the recommendations of major top end cinematographers where optimum picture quality and colorimetry are critical. Paired with an HDCAM SR deck, data is recorded at a staggering 880Mb/s - about 9 times better than formats like P2-HD. Features include multi-matrix operation, adaptive highlight control, knee saturation, selectable gamma with initial gain adjustment, variable black gamma range and level dependent detail.

Lens: The V14 uses a Fujinon HA42x9.7 BERD HD lens. This gives 9.7mm at the wide end and 407mm fully zoomed in. This increases to 19.4mm to 815mm with the selectable x2 extender. In traditional 35mm photographic terms, that's a range of 36mm to 3,000mm. Shots are rock-ready due to the V14's excellent stabilisation performance.

Field of view: 9.7mm (fully wide) equates to a 52.7 degrees (H) x 31.1 degrees (V) angle of view. 815mm (fully zoomed) equates to 0.7 degrees (H) x 0.4 degrees (V). That's effectively over four times more detail than say a standard ENG lens, like a 21x 7.8mm using a x2 extender. (42x 9.7 x2= 815mm= 0.8 degree diagonal; versus 21x 7.8 x2= 336mm= 1.9 degree diagonal).

SD: Most engineers agree the best SD pictures are obtained via an HD camera. Aerial imagery contains a lot of moving information which is difficult to compress. So a cleaner HD image means the Codec spends less resource compressing unwanted noise than in say an SD picture, and more resource compressing the viewable image. In layman's terms the picture is less blocky and you will see more detail in the moving areas of the image.

HD: The HDC-1500R and HDC-F950 capture in the following formats. 1080/60i, 1080/50i, 1080/30P, 1080/25P, 1080/24P, 540/60P.

VTR: For SD shoots we record onto HD-Cam and then dub onto Digi-beta, DV, P2 or XDCAM, retaining the HD masters on your behalf for future dubs in SD or HD as required. Despite this SD work is still charged at an SD price. For HD shoots we can record on HD-Cam or HD-Cam SR in 4:4:4 at up to 880Mb/s. We also own P2 & XDCAM-EX (which record at 35-100 Mb/s).

Crew: Arena has been operating in the aerial filming market for over 12 years and held various UK news contracts for around 10 years. We have our own CAA AOC and own 6 aircraft. We employ staff pilots, camera operators and broadcast engineers. At Arena we believe we have the most extensive range of expertise available anywhere in the industry.

Value for money: We have always offered clear and easy to understand pricing. There are no hidden extras. Flying is expensive, we want you to come back in the future and recommend us to others, so we make every airborne minute count. Our powerful cameras and skilled crew allow us to get the shots you want quickly and without a drama. Call us for a budgetary price on 01737 821222.