Decided last minute to go see the Red Arrows @ Fowey Regatta Week and thought I’d take the 550D down to capture their show on my new Canon 24-105mm lens. We setup on the Polruan side of the river which I was told was the best viewing point as you’re literally at eye-level with the pilots as they dive down into the harbour. It was unfortunately a dull overcast evening and I was hoping for blue sky and ‘magic-hour’ sunlight to get that Top-Gun feel to my footage. I hadn’t filmed planes before so I had no idea how the footage would turn out. I decided to shoot from my Vinten Vison Blue tripod as I though handheld would be too difficult. I was not wrong.
The speed of the planes is so immense it was so hard to track them accurately when zoomed into the full 105 end of the lens, even with the tripod! I experimented with OIS turned on and off and it seemed that when it was off even the slightest knock or pressure from me panning the tripod quickly would make the image wobble. With OIS on sometimes panning too fast would cause the lens to get confused and compensate, glitching the image in an unwanted way. Keeping the aircraft in focus when they are hurtling towards you at 800 or so mph is very hard but this was probably due to the light conditions being low and me having to open up the aperture as a result. My cousin Josh also filmed with his 550D and 30mm sigma f1.8 handheld. I’ve used a few shots of his in my film too but most of it was too shaky to use really but thanks to him for taking some great snaps on the night.
The display lasted for about 10 minutes which was enough for me to experiment and get a few half decent shots to pull together this short film. I think next year I’ll have another go, hopefully with a new camera, probably a Canon 5d mk3 which should help with light sensitivity & motion jello issues. I’ll have a 70-200mm lens by then so we’ll be able to see right into the cockpit!