Specialist in aerial filming on LUMIX BGH1
Exceptional video shots from the air or on the ground: Digicopter specialises in aerial photography and filming. This German team consist of Martin Rinderknecht, Johannes Heine and Nikolaj Georgiew. They shoot footage for music videos, commercials, TV series and films. They recently put the LUMIX BGH1 through its paces and were blown away by the results. ‘This camera is a workhorse. You don’t have to worry about anything, it simply gets the job done. It’s lightweight, compact and robust, and the image quality is amazing.’
Martin founded DIGICOPTER® eleven years ago. The company is based in Hannover, but the team works all over the world. Martin is the pilot and CEO. Johannes and Nikolaj are the cameramen. ‘Boys with toys’ is an apt description of the team. They build their own camera set ups, suitable for every situation. Whether shooting on the ground or in the air, their array of robotic rigs and devices – ranging from a Segway and heavy-duty drones to a helicopter – ensure they always get the best shots.
The Panasonic LUMIX DC-BGH1 is a ‘box-style’ Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera designed for mobile videography. It has a 10.2MP Micro Four Thirds sensor with Dual Native ISO technology, the same as the very popular LUMIX GH5s, which Digicopter worked with before the BGH1. ‘The GH5s is amazing. Yet it still combines both functions: photography and filming. The LUMIX BGH1 is the perfect choice for filming, as it no longer has any unnecessary photo functions.
We were eager to put this camera to the test from the moment it was launched. It’s lightweight, compact and robust, made for action or aerial filming, and can be used in many different set ups. Those features, combined with the same image quality, sounded like music to our ears.’
‘This camera has many advantages. Of course, thanks to the GH5s sensor, the image quality is great, and so is the low-light (high ISO) video quality. Customers are always surprised when we take out our gear at night. Can you do night shots with that camera? But even up to ISO 5000, the image quality is good, there’s almost no noise in the footage.’
The 10-bit internal recording ensures rich data and smooth gradation for post-production and has the option of simultaneous live output over HDMI or 3G-SDI connections. The BGH1 supports Anamorphic recording and monitoring, Genlock IN, Timecode IN/OUT and unlimited video recording on all settings. Control of multi BGH1 cameras remotely is possible via Ethernet with LUMIX Tether App, while powering them all via PoE+. You can control the camera with the app as well as with a software development kit, which is also available via USB-C. The heat-dispersal system allows for unlimited recording time and optimum sensor performance.
The Digicopter creative team used the LUMIX BGH1 to shoot material for commercials and the new Til Schweiger film ‘Die Rettung der uns bekannten Welt’. It took them a while to get used to a camera without a screen. ‘However, this camera works really intuitively. And not having a screen means saving energy that can be used for filming. We tried different modes to get the best shots, with the right atmosphere. The creative mode works best for us. In this mode, the camera remembers all of your personal settings. That really saves a lot of time and helps to prevent any mistakes on set or during production.’ More and more full-frame cameras are appearing on the market. Still, Digicopter chose to use a Micro Four Thirds camera. Why? ‘We don’t need a full frame camera to shoot our footage.
As mentioned earlier, the image quality is great, and the image size is more than enough for films. ‘The recent approval of the BGH1 as a primary camera by the Netflix Post Technology Alliance is proof of that. This approval makes the BHG1 the first Micro Four Thirds camera to be accepted for filming a Netflix production, a major honour, as many other video cameras haven’t been approved for producing Netflix Originals shows. To be accepted for distribution, at least 90% of the shots for these Netflix Originals productions have to be made using one of the approved cameras and settings. This little camera does the trick and delivers the requested future-proof quality: that makes it even more desirable. Moreover, it’s amazing that a camera in this price range can compete or be integrated with the much more expensive cinema gear.’
Thanks to their many years of experience, Hannover-based DIGICOPTER® is one of the best in the field of professional aerial recordings for film, cinema and TV. They create high-quality cinematic aerial footage for international films, videos, commercials and documentaries at locations all around the globe. The Digicopter team consists of pilot and CEO Martin Rinderknecht and cameramen Johannes Heine and Nikolaj Georgiew. In the past 10 years they have participated in more than 300 feature films for clients like Action Concept, Baerfoot, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Polyphonic, Bavaria Film, Network Movie, Pantaleon Film, Studio Hamburg, ARD, ZDF, NDR, RTL and many more.