Providing expert aerial filming


HELIMEDIA is an aerial filming company formed in Cape Town in 2007.
Founding members Chris Bohnenn, a filming pilot, and Emmy Award-winning cameraman Skip Margetts worked together for a number of years before identifying that the South African market needed the latest aerial equipment.
With this in mind, they purchased two Cineflex HD stabilised systems. The market readily accepted these systems when their capabilities and reliability became apparent.

HELIMEDIA has a third member – camera operator and technician Jonathan Genis. He brings 20 years of broadcast experience to the team.
“Our aim is to provide the highest service for each job through top crews and equipment. When the client is smiling after the shoot, our job is done,’ Bohnenn says.

“We own camera equipment and we lease the helicopter. The largest line item in any aerial quote is the helicopter, so we source the correct machine closest to the location to save any undue flying. These savings are passed onto the client. “Dead leg’ flying is a killer for production companies. We drive in our equipment, with a refuelling facility and spares and have access to 26 certified and proven machines dotted around southern Africa.’

HELIMEDIA owns an assortment of cameras, helicopter mounts and ancillaries to support any filming requirement. One of the two Cineflex HD camera systems is stationed in Cape Town with the other in Johannesburg.

Stabilised heads include a Gyron “Compact’ Stab C – Nettmann and HD slip-ring compliant head which was utilised for the London 2012 Olympics.

Other equipment includes HD monitors for operator, director, client and pilot, certified mounts for industry-standard filming helicopters and a Uni-Mount that fits on all helicopters and aircraft to provide a solution for all scenarios.

“HELIMEDIA has the same set-up as any major aerial film provider worldwide,’ continues Bohnenn. “We fly 400 hours per annum filming within southern Africa which is above industry norms. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was my highlight. When the director informs you that you are live to two billion people it really is a heart stopping moment and there’s no room for error.’

The company was selected to provide the aerial filming for the 2010 FIFA World Cup over three other major players worldwide.

“We employed five helicopters, six filming pilots, six camera operators and amassed 420 flying hours in 32 days. In addition we enjoyed the privilege of being the only civilian aircraft allowed over stadiums throughout the tournament.

“Skip and I flew 19 games, including the opening and closing ceremonies. We were fortunate enough to capture the only goal by Spain which was used on the global replay,’ concludes Bohnenn.

Later this year HELIMEDIA takes delivery of a twin-engine, “film-friendly’ helicopter that will be rigged 24/7.

By Andy Stead

Screen Africa magazine – August 2012


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