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HomeCraftsCameraTeam5 Debuts Shotover Hydra, Six Camera, Gyrostabilized System

Team5 Debuts Shotover Hydra, Six Camera, Gyrostabilized System


Team5 Aerial Systems HydraTeam5, an L.A.-based aerial production and rental company, announced the debut of the Shotover Hydra, an advanced, gyrostabilized imaging platform designed for the visual effects industry. Developed in partnership with Shotover, the Hydra synchronizes six Red Dragon 6K cinema cameras to enable motion picture productions to capture panoramic images of the highest dynamic range and quality. Warner Bros.’ upcoming film Tarzan is the first to utilize the new system.

The Shotover Hydra addresses the costly and time consuming process of creating background plates used for digital compositing. By capturing 36K of images with a greater than 150 degree field of view, the Hydra allows aerial units to shoot panoramic backgrounds that can be seamlessly matched to foreground images by visual effects supervisors. These virtually distortion-free images are recorded alongside platform metadata that includes GPS positioning as well as the heading and camera angles of each discreet frame.

Via a long line stand developed by ACS France and Team5, the Hydra as well the single camera Shotover K1 can be suspended from 50 to 150 feet below a production’s camera helicopter. The Shotover Hydra can also be mounted on cranes and camera cars.

Team5 Aerial Systems Hydra Suspended“Creating background plates has traditionally been an incredibly time-consuming, imprecise and expensive practice with aerial units flying multiple passes to try to exactly match the angle of view, lighting and other variables of the foreground shots,” said Shotover president Alan Purwin. “With the Shotover Hydra, we’re not just improving upon the single camera method of shooting plates, we’re raising the bar in terms of what producers can demand from multi-camera systems, offering a single source solution through Team5 for productions to get the Hydra, all six cameras and all associated lenses.”

The Shotover Hydra will initially be available through Team5 Aerial Systems, a newly launched aerial production and rental company serving the motion picture and advertising industries. For the Tarzan shoot, currently filming in Gabon, Africa, Team5 is providing comprehensive aerial services in addition to capturing background plates.

“Working with the Shotover Hydra, we’ve not only been able to shave days off our shooting schedule in Gabon, we’re able to deliver background plates of unprecedented quality in even the most demanding environments,” said Fred North, aerial coordinator for Tarzan. “The system raises the bar for what visual effects supervisors will be able to achieve in assembling the most realistic and lifelike aerial sequences. David Yates, the director on Tarzan, has been extremely pleased with the footage we have shot.”

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