SpaceCam has four gyro-stabilized camera systems which are available on a rental basis for film production anywhere in the world. Due to heavy demand, it is important to book time well in advance of proposed shoot dates. SpaceCam time is reserved on chronological priority basis. The first customer to place a hold on a date has priority over holds placed subsequently.
A customer with a lower priority hold may force the holds of higher priority holders by offering to book the dates. If those customers with higher priority are unable to make a booking after having been given reasonable notice, the customer forcing the hold will be awarded the dates.
A booking will only be considered valid and confirmed upon receipt of a signed contract together with the required deposit and Certificate of Insurance. All dates for which the customer anticipates requiring the SpaceCam should be booked by the customer. These include weather days, travel days, prep, rehearsal and back-up days of any kind. Any days not booked are considered available to other customers.
A 50% deposit on the full estimated rental period is required to book the system (100% for all foreign customers).
The rental charges begin on the day the equipment leaves the SpaceCam office and continue consecutively until and including the day it returns to the office. The customer is responsible for payment for all days, including, but not limited to weather days and delays caused by shipping, helicopter breakdown and customs.
The customer is responsible for all location expenses, such as, but not limited to, storage and hangar fees, security crew accommodations, meals, transportation, freight agent and broker fees, carnets, customs, bonds and import charges relating to helicopter services.
The customer is responsible for all insurance costs for the equipment from the time it leaves SpaceCam to the time it is returned. The policy must specifically cover air travel including use mounted on a helicopter for the purposes of aerial filming. SpaceCam should be insured against loss or damage in the amount of $1,000,000 and against public liability in the amount of $5,000,000. SpaceCam Systems, Inc. should be named as additionally insured and loss payee on the customer’s insurance policy. Auto liability in the amount of $1,000,000 is required when the SpaceCam van is being used as transportation or support vehicle. Proof of insurance coverage must be received prior to the shipment of equipment. All approvals and documentation from government agencies granting permission for shooting must be obtained prior to shooting. Flight situations that, in the opinion of SpaceCam, jeopardize the safety or could lead to the confiscation of equipment will be grounds for termination of any contract, written or verbal.
SpaceCam uses its own 1000′ magazines and requires full loads only. Short ends are not usable. Film can either be delivered to SpaceCam on the prep day or delivered to the rigging location on the rigging day.
SpaceCam makes available a Sony Mini DV playback system aboard the helicopter. Production needs to provide the tapes. The image from the video assist will be reversed left to right. Production’s video personnel needs to make the necessary adjustments.
It is essential that a conference between the SpaceCam crew and Production to discuss technical aspects and requirements of the shoot take place prior to the SpaceCam leaving our facility. When possible, storyboards should be sent. An additional meeting on location is also essential.
Lenses and Filters
The SpaceCam 35mm 4-perf. setup comes standard with an Angenieux HR 10x zoom 25-250mm T3.5 lens or a 20x zoom 23-460mm T8 lens. A standard set of 85 and ND filters is available. Requirements for any other special lenses or filters must be discussed in advance with a SpaceCam camera operator or technician. SpaceCam is compatible with a vast array of Panavision lenses and if needed, the additional lenses must be rented from Panavision on production’s account and the lenses must be delivered to SpaceCam for the in-shop prep day. The interface between lens and camera on the SpaceCam is considerably more complex than on conventional ground cameras. This is due to the requirements for precise balance and electronic control over all lens functions.
SpaceCam must be stored in a safe, clean environment. If it is rigged to a helicopter, it is best to secure the helicopter in a hangar. If this is not possible, a security guard must be provided.
The SpaceCam system can be damaged by debris, loose dirt or gravel. When used with helicopters, remote landing sites must be level and clean. They should be checked beforehand for unsecured objects and equipment. The landing area should have a clear approach path for take-offs and landings, free from power lines, buildings and high trees. It should not be located near schools or hospitals and should not require a low approach over residential areas. Grass, asphalt or cement are the best surfaces.
If close hovering or low flying is required during shooting, only essential personnel should be allowed nearby. All loose objects and equipment must be safely secured. Attention should be given to the damage, which can occur as a result of the powerful rotor wash. The strong wind, which results from the helicopter’s whirling blades, bounces off of the ground and nearby structures and is carried along in the direction of the prevailing wind. Trees and bushes downwind of the helicopter can be blown around quite violently at times.
Good communication between ground and the crew inside the helicopter is essential. Production should arrange with the film pilot for the use of Aeronautical Band ground-to-air radios, intercom systems, helmets and headsets, and/or Motorola type FM radios. A fuel truck should also be provided when the filming location is more than a short distance from the nearest airport.
Due to the complex nature of the SpaceCam system, all people who operate it must be trained and approved by SpaceCam Systems, Inc. Efficient and cost-effective SpaceCam operation demands teamwork. An experienced team of camera operator, camera assistant/technician and film pilot will reduce safety risks, provide the best results and save expensive helicopter time. SpaceCam has an approved list of in-house and free-lance operators. Camera assistant/technicians are employed directly by SpaceCam Systems, Inc. Crew rates are listed on SpaceCam’s standard rate sheet.
The remote operational characteristics of SpaceCam require a period of training so that the operator can familiarize him/herself with the unique capabilities of the system. SpaceCam maintains roster of approved operators includes only personnel with the highest level of technical and creative expertise.
The sophisticated electronics and mechanics of SpaceCam require monitoring by a technician with a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of the system. The technician maintains and fine tunes the system, serving as the primary troubleshooter. The same individual works as the camera assistant during filming. The AC can operate the follow focus. This allows the operator to primarily concern him/herself with composing the shot using the steering and zoom controls. The division of responsibilities between two experienced crewmembers allows for smooth execution of complex camera moves.
SpaceCam requires the use of an experienced film pilot for two major reasons. The first is safety. Flying with SpaceCam requires different skills than normal flying. It would be imprudent and possibly dangerous to begin a pilot’s experience in the environment of filming. Secondly, film experience and savvy and efficient communications are required if the best results are to be obtained. SpaceCam can make recommendations for experienced film pilots. Before contracting with a helicopter company it is recommended that you consult a specialized film pilot to discuss proposed flight patterns, FAA approvals, safety considerations, permits, etc.
System carries full approval for U.S., Canada and the European community. It has flown with governmental approval in dozens of countries around the world.
Installation and rigging of the SpaceCam to aircraft must be accomplished in accordance with several federal aviation regulations. Paperwork required to be in the aircraft prior to commencement of the flight operation includes:
- A copy of FAA form 337 (Major Repair and Modification)
- A copy of the valid STC (Supplementary Type Certificate) or 8110-3 must be attached or referenced in the 337 or the 337 must have an FAA field approval stamp in the correct box on the form.
- The Flight Manual Supplement.
- The change sheet to the helicopter weight and balance record.
- The official helicopter logbook must be available to sign off the installation.
In the event that the installation is approved under an 8110-3 only and if it is the first time SpaceCam has been fitted to the specific helicopter, FAA approval may be required prior to flight. Production must schedule sufficient time for this to be done; at least one full weekday unless special weekend arrangements can be made. If the flying is to take place outside of the U.S. or Canada, further time may be necessary to obtain the proper airworthiness approvals. In all cases, the local Aviation Authority and the helicopter operator in the country concerned should be consulted well in advance to avoid delays.
EASA/ European Approvals
The Spacecam RAMS system has full EASA approval. It travels with Form 8130‐3 and inspection logs for continued airworthiness.
Standard 35mm SpaceCam System Package
- 4 Perf. Camera (In-House Mitchell Mark II Movement)
- Camera speeds 1-120 FPS Crystal Controlled
- 1,000′ Magazines (2)
- SpaceCam Stabilized Mounting System
- Standard Mounting Bracketry
- Speed Aperture Control
|Camera Formats||Lens Options||Shoot||W/T/H*||Weekly|
or Super 35
(In-House Camera Incl.)
10x Zoom 25-250mm T3.5
or 20x Zoom 23-460mm T8
(In-House Camera Incl.)
|Set of Nikkor Primes
35mm T1.4, 50mm T1.2, 85mm T1.4
or additional lenses below
(35mm 4-Perf & 8-Perf)
(In-House Cameras Incl.)
|See Lenses Above
for 35mm 4-Perf &
|SpaceCam 3D Rig
|Camera and Lenses
|Camera and Lenses
(In-House Camera Incl.)
|Prime and Zoom Lenses
|Camera and Lenses
(In house Camera Incl.)
|Set of Hasselblad Lenses
40mm, 50mm, 80mm
Or additional lenses below
|SpaceCam Crew – based on a 10 hour day
(10+hrs = rate x 1.5) (12+hrs = rate x 2) (holidays = rate x 2)
|Second Assistant (Required for Long Line, Descender, pre-rig & de-rig jobs)||$300|
|Holiday/Weekend/Night Time Rate||$350|
|After Hours / Weekend Open Door Fee||$150|
|Standard 85 & ND Filter Set||$120||$60||$480|
|Video Recorder with Mini DVPlayback Capability||$150||$75||$600|
|Panavision Special Lenses (35mm 4-perf and 8-perf)||Quoted Separately|
|65mm-15 perf Lenses (30, 110, 150, 250mm)||$100||N/C||$400|
|In House Anamorphic 10x Zoom||$200||$100||$800|
|Helicopter Nose Mount Bracketry||$400||$100||$1600|
|SpaceCam RAMS Nose Mount Bracketry||$600||$300||$2,400|
|Laser Auto Focus System||$200||$10||$800|
|SpaceCam Motion Record||$200||N/C||$800|
|Long Line or Underslung||$500||$250||$2,000|
|Descender/Cable Rig (sled, microwave, remote)||$1,250||$625||$5,000|
|Wireless Remote Control Data Link||$250||$125||$1,000|
|Vista Vision Lenses 18, 20, 24, 28, 105mm||$100||N/C||$400|
|Vista Vision Zoom Lens 50-300mm||$200||N/C||$800|
|Support Van for Local Transport (Mileage Extra)||$200||$200||$800|
|Shipping, airfare, hotel, per diem, rental car||Quoted Separately|
*W/T/H = Weather, Travel, Hold
Transportation & Availability
SpaceCam has four camera systems; based at our headquarters in Westlake Village, California (45 miles north of Los Angeles). However at any given time the camera systems may be in different locations working on other projects. Depending on these locations and the availability, the shipping for your particular job may originate outside of their normal base location.
Crew is all based in the Los Angeles area however as is the case with the equipment, crew members may be in different locations on other jobs and be required to travel directly to your shooting location. Airline tickets would need to be purchased accordingly by production. If needed, SpaceCam can help coordinate the transportation of the crew, if so we will invoice production for all costs incurred.
Since equipment charges are billed on a daily basis and the demand for the equipment is often very high, it’s critical that all shipping logistics are carefully thought out and followed through with. SpaceCam works very closely with the top film industry freight forwarders. We are glad to coordinate the shipping of the equipment directly with our freight forwarder, if so they will bill production directly for the shipping charges.
Due to the unique dimensions and overall size and weight of the equipment, it’s important that Production discusses shipping arrangements with SpaceCam prior to any freight bookings. The standard SpaceCam equipment package is 12 cases, 1600 lbs. Depending on special shooting and rigging requirements this can change. After consulting with Production on the specific needs of the shoot, SpaceCam will provide an exact shipping list.
For projects in the Los Angeles area and reasonably distanced locations such as Northern California and parts of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, SpaceCam can provide its cargo van for transporting the equipment. To many of these locations, SpaceCam’s technician can also do the driving as part of his 10-hour day. Production may also supply a vehicle and driver and pick up the equipment from SpaceCam’s shop. If so, the vehicle must be a sufficiently sized cube van or truck.
United States and parts of Mexico and Canada
There are basically two ways to efficiently and cost effectively ship the SpaceCam equipment: For major cities with major airports that have frequent direct flights, commercial air freight works best. Ground transportation and sufficient delivery time is needed at both ends of the shipment which means that in most cases a shipment will take a full day if not a day and a half to two days. Airfreight should be marked as priority to insure prompt delivery. Otherwise it is common for the airlines to bump the equipment, therefore causing delays in shipping and additional rental charges.
For more remote locations with smaller airports, a small cargo plane works best and is much faster. A shipment can be done in a matter of hours and in some cases shooting can even be done on a travel day. Travel time is much quicker as there is less ground transportation and delivery time needed and the equipment travels in a semi-assembled state, which reduces the prep time on location. In most cases the cargo plane can fly directly to the helicopter location for immediate rigging. The crew can also fly in the cargo plane, which makes travel and prep that much quicker.
To many locations not serviced by major airports, a dedicated truck is the best option. Please contact us to find out how many travel days are required to get to your location.
No matter what method of shipping your production chooses, it is very important that the shipment is handled by a freight forwarder who is familiar with the SpaceCam equipment, and understands that the longer it takes the more money it is costing you! If needed, we are glad to help coordinate your shipment directly with our freight forwarder. If so, they will bill your production directly for all shipping charges.
For international shipping, commercial airfreight is the only feasible method. Advanced time and money needs to be budgeted for customs and delays which are often unavoidable. SpaceCam works very closely with top film industry freight forwarders, please ask for recommendations.