Pursuit Aviation publically unveiled the groundbreaking JETCAM platform earlier this year, and since that time it has been stunning some of the biggest names in the aerial cinematography business.
In April, Pursuit Aviation hosted several industry leaders for test flights at the Van Nuys facility, and they all came away impressed by the game-changing technology.
“I don’t think there’s anything else that I know of that can fly a camera this fast,” said Sam Nicholson, CEO and founder of Stargate Studios. “You’re shooting the world in a new way and in much higher resolution and moving cameras through the air in a way that nobody else ever has.”
The JETCAM system, developed by Pursuit Aviation in conjunction with SHOTOVER, allows camera operators to capture stabilized images at speeds in excess of 400 mph and at high G forces. This control and trackablity, even while experiencing turbulence, was especially impressive to Nicholson, who described it as “brilliant” and “solid as a rock.”
Nick Schrunk, executive creative director at Red Bull Media House also came away impressed.
“Everything from reveals to tilt-ups just had a lot more snap to them, so an incredible ability to really isolate a subject and really just build this whole story around the follow,” Shrunk said. “When you think about a key emotional moment, you could really come up with some impactful shots.”
Pursuit Aviation put together a team of skilled mechanics, custom fabricators, camera technicians and pilots to develop the pioneering technology behind JETCAM. The result was an advanced, gyro-stabilized gimbal, modified specifically to be outfitted on a fighter jet. The system can shoot in up to 8K at unprecedented speeds, allowing creatives to explore a new dimension of imagery.
The first commercial use of JETCAM can be seen in 2018’s “First Man” starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. The film, which tells the story of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo program, was nominated for four Academy Awards and took home the prize for visual effects.
The platform has also been used for filming formation flights during the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation annual training event, which pairs historic warbirds with the most advanced fighters in America’s arsenal. The capabilities of the JETCAM resulted in incredible footage of fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
"What I’ve seen here is just completely extraordinary,” said Doug Trumbull, a pioneer in the visual effects industry.“The level of engineering is so refined and so stable and so optically perfect, it’s just unbeatable. I don’t know of anything else like it.”
Often considered a “one-stop-shop” for aerial productions around the world, Pursuit Aviation offers all of the equipment needed, while also providing backup systems for redundancy should there be any issues, thus avoiding unnecessary and costly production delays. The company’s team of skilled pilots and aerial coordinators can seamlessly handle all aspects of an aerial production, start to finish. It is home to one of the largest aircraft fleets in the aerial cinematography industry, including many rare vintage warbirds from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Pursuit Aviation’s available fleet includes two camera helicopters, four picture helicopters, seaplanes, corporate jets and dozens of warbird aircraft, including the P-51 Mustang, F-86 Sabre, P-38 Lightning, F8F Bearcat, F6F Hellcat, F4U Corsair, P47 Thunderbolt, Supermarine Spitfires, a F7F Tigercat, a P40 Warhawk and A1 Skyraider.