This video is actually part of a project called To Catch a Bike Thief — which is trying to raise awareness about and, of course, prevent bike theft. This particular experiment was their way of doing some “aerial surveillance” of the area on a budget, but regardless of whether they achieved that goal, they did get some awesome aerial footage using only some wood, balloons and a fishing line rated at 20lbs. Viewers be advised that there is a little bit of cursing towards the beginning of the video.
To capture “portraits of the sun” and to illustrate its power, General Electric filled 20 weather balloons with hydrogen and helium, surrounded them with 24 Canon DSLR cameras (18 7Ds and 6 60Ds), and shot the balloons exploding Matrix-style.
Cinematographer Tom Guilmette has a simple way you can shoot your own aerial shots if flying kites or RC planes/helicopters isn’t for you: fill up a large number of helium balloons, attach a camera to them, and send it high into the air attached to a fishing pole. Guilmette attached a GoPro HD camera to 30 balloons, and was able to get some remarkably smooth footage from 400+ feet in the air. Be warned though… doing this in high winds or near trees can be risky business.
A few guys in Los Angeles recently convinced their friend to let them borrow his new iPhone 4 (that he waited 4.5 in line for), and got onto a rooftop with the help of another friend. Using some large helium balloons, they attached the iPhone and started recording 720p video of downtown LA as it rose up to 1000 feet into the air on the end of a kite string. They also made a fun behind-the-scenes video of their project.
This setup is definitely cheaper than an RC plane or helicopter, and somewhat safer and more stable than a kite.