Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This week we’re dipping into the Aero Film inbox and answering pressing questions from Aero fans…

Dear Aero Film,

Big fan, first time writer.  I have heard a rumor about something called a “Klaus Cam” over there at Aero. What’s it do? Can I get one?

#1 Aero Fan

Dear #1 Aero Fan,

First off, kudos to you for being a fan!  You must be very smart.  VERY SMART.

I'm so glad you asked about the Klaus Cam. In brief summary, the Klaus Cam is a revolutionary gyro-stabilized camera head that hangs below a helicopter on a cable. Aero Film Director/Cinematographer, Klaus Obeymeyer came up with the idea and his grip, Scott Howell from Cinemoves, Inc. made it happen.  

“Why did they invent it?” you ask.  (Great question! You continue to be very smart!)  Klaus is one to push the limits of everything he does and makes his producers and crew be on their toes every second of the day. Klaus was shooting overheads of glaciers and icebergs in Greenland (as you do) and he wanted to have the camera soar between the ice formations and really get in the thick of it—not just superficial overheads that had been done before. Sounds easy enough, why not? Well, the channels are incredibly narrow and helicopters aren’t that nimble… and there are a million safety issues in play. So, da da da daaaaaa! KLAUS CAM! The camera has an unobstructed 360 degree view with tilt, pan and roll, virtually creating an aircraft below an aircraft. You can get into places a helicopter or Ultimate Arm never could. You can capture incredibly close detail shots and then pull out to an extreme wide angle.

Also, you can fly it through fire and explosions without your helicopter pilot needing special under-garments and multiple life-insurance policies. Currently, there is only one in existence so you can’t buy one at B&H quite yet. You’d probably want Klaus’s team to come along with it, though, and they get cranky when you try to ship them in a blister pack.

If you’re shaking your head thinking this sounds unbelievable, I’ll put our video where our mouth is! Or typer is… whatever.  For a much better description and examples of what the Klaus Cam can do, click HERE to see the video showcasing its talents!  It's simply amazing. 

Keep those letters coming! Or emails, tweets, smoke signals, or semaphore.

Till next week,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meet more of our directors!

Welcome to Blog entry #2! I know you’ve been eagerly waiting for it, and quite frankly, I can’t blame you.  Since we last met, I have massaged my ego (with Mallomars-- their medicinal properties are formidable) and am ready to tell you more about our directors who make me look like Dullsie McDullserton.

First up, James Mangold! 

 James is feature director extraordinaire, and luckily for us his ego isn’t as big as the blockbusters he’s shot. (Maybe he eats Mallomars too?)  His movies include: Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, Girl Interrupted, Identity, Cop Land, Heavy… and most recently Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. It’s an action-comedy with ample explosions. Yeah, it’s an understatement to say that James has a bit of a range. Which is great, as the commercial world tends to pigeon-hole people into one specific genre. But not our James, he’s a genre-bucker! (Note: “Genre-bucker” copyright 1/14/2010, Sara E Eolin.)  Take a look at the latest trailer for Knight and Day and you’ll be happy to see Tom Cruise looking cool again without a glimmer of a his former couch-jumping self. 

Next up, Jason Farrand, who is the only Aero director with a faux-hawk. Probably the only one that can pull it off, too.

He’s a delightful Brit (read: good accent) who got his directorial start in commercials and then moved into TV. He directed and EP’ed the series Head Case on Starz with Alexandra Wentworth (so he’s 1 degree separated from Oprah.  OPRAH!!!!) Ali portrayed a therapist to the stars and actual stars would come on the show as themselves and improv 30 minutes of hilarity. If you think it’s easy to direct celebrities to “just be themselves” you’d be incorrect. After all, an actor’s job is to be other people and they usually have writers making them clever. But Jason has magical powers that encourage even the unfunny to be hilarious. (I guess that’s called talent, or maybe it’s the faux hawk? I’m not sure…) He just finished some Chevy work with Howie Long (not sure WHAT you call his hair-do… “alert”?) and has worked with HP on web series featuring Shawn White (“red mane”?) and Mike Rowe (um, “baseball cap.”)

Sam O’Hare is another delightful Brit (you got it, good accent!). He doesn’t have a clever hair-do but the brain underneath that hair is quite extraordinary.

Sam’s a CGI artist, VFX supervisor and director… Basically, it means he knows how to do a lot of math, as well as being creative. (And because he’s English, he calls it “maths.” Plural! So cute!) Anyhoo, he went to school for architecture and decided that building things on the computer was much more exciting and less dusty than dry wall. He has a remarkable eye and his visual creations are just stunning… and you’d never know they weren’t “real.”  (I think he’s part of the Matrix, but that’s unconfirmed.) He recently shot and created the animation for Lunesta with Deutsch NY. Aero Post handled all the VFX in NY with Sam’s team. He’s also an avid photographer that you can follow on Flickr or look for Aero tweets for his “picture of the day.”

Newbie to Aero, Gary McKendry has pretty much the same hair cut as Sam but he mixes it up a bit with an Irish brogue. (Can you tell I bring the estrogen to Aero?)

 Gary can and has done it all. He started his career as an agency art director, and was a storyboard artist as well. Needless to say, his shooting boards are pretty kick-ass. His work can make you laugh (Ikea, Budweiser) or tug at your emotions and make you cry (Barnardos). He’s a genre-bucker too! (NOTE AGAIN: copyright 2010 Sara E Eolin) He’s shot monologue, dialogue, visual storytelling, short films, and has a feature in the works.  He’s also quite adept at making snowmen, and is the hit of the neighborhood teens as said snowmen come complete holding a can of beer. You can take the boy out of Belfast, but you can’t take Belfast out of the boy….

Stay tuned for the next blog entry when we feature… (drum roll…) The Klaus Cam!! Imagine if Klaus were a camera, and that pretty much sums it up, but I don’t want to give away all our secrets yet. In the meantime, I’m going to work on the paperwork for that copyright…

Friday, January 8, 2010

Aero Film has joined the blogosphere!

Who am I? What am I doing? Perhaps I’m just procrastinating from my usual day to day activities at Aero… Nah, that couldn’t possibly be! I’m starting the company blog!! That’s a very valid activity!  This takes creativity and focus! And a chocolate mint mocha…  hold please…

Oh, much better. So Aero Film is my place of employment, but better yet, I like to think as my daytime family who happen to pay me. Lord knows my “for real” family doesn’t pay me and I didn’t even get to choose them! But I digress. Back to the first question:  Who am I?  I am Sara Eolin, an executive producer with Aero in the NYC office. I’ve been with the Aero Family for a little over a year. Up until then I worked as an agency producer for, well… ahem-cough-cough… long enough. I was at Grey NY back in the day when people were afraid to hold the elevator door for people as that was a fireable offense from the CEO. (Not kidding, folks.) After that I was at Merkley and Partners where I met most of my closest friends in the business and got to know waaaay more about horse racing, cars and cholesterol lowering medications than I ever thought I would. From there I was off to Lowe NY, where I moved up the ranks to head of production. I really enjoyed it, but I wanted to focus on the nuts and bolts of production and to play a more creative role in the process. So off I went into the wild blue production yonder. I had wonderful plans of taking months off to find myself… but I got so incredibly bored I thought I was going to go insane. I was like a sheep dog without a task. Miserable. Drooling a bit. Not so much with the shedding… but you get the point. I’d been friends with the Aero boys for years, and when they asked me to come aboard, it was a bit of a no-brainer. I’d shot with Klaus Obermeyer and Lance O’Connor in 2003 and we remained close friends even though they almost killed me on a boat in Tahiti.  As the boat leaned perilously on its side and Klaus jumped into shark infested water to save another boat, I knew then we’d either be friends forever or tied up in litigation forever.  As you can tell, I did indeed survive, the friendship stuck and I realized that sea sickness can be an excellent diet aide. (I KID!)

Okay, enough about me and more about how I’m by far the most uninteresting person at the company. (Oh, that’s still about me…) Well, for starters, I can’t fly. No, we don’t have Peter Pan on staff, but for the most part, all our directors and producers can fly a plane and/or helicopter—hence the name Aero Film. The main office in California is at the Santa Monica airport, pretty much directly on the runway albeit safely tucked to one side. We house the Aero Jet and Helicopter in our hanger around the corner. Oh sure, this sounds extravagant, but I have to say, if you’ve ever done a tech scout in CA for 10 different locations in a 15-passenger van, you’ll know the benefit of having a small plane that can pop from Bakersfield to San Diego without looking at the 405. (Shudder!) So truly, they’re production tools first and foremost.

Obviously our directors are our pride and joy at Aero. Klaus is one of the founders of Aero and one of the most energetic people I’ve ever met in my life. He’s a Tai Kwon Do master, expert skier, surfer, wind surfer and spears lobsters in his spare time. He’s also great friends with a myriad of base jumpers and incredibly talented (and possibly crazy) stuntmen. When their daring-dos need to be shot, there’s Klaus figuring out the best (and safest!) way to do it. But there’s also a side to Klaus that is amazingly calm and connected to nature in ways that make Snow White seem like an Exxon executive. He can free dive with a camera for almost 2 minutes, which allows him to capture footage of sea life that few others can shoot. Apparently, most sea creatures are scared of the bubbles from SCUBAs and not the person itself. (Who knew?!)

Then there is Ken Arlidge, director/cameraman extraordinaire who’s been with Aero since day 1. He was a feature DP for years and made the transition to directing. He was working on the set of The Crow when Brandon Lee was shot, and helped figure out the series of events that lead to the great tragedy. So don’t shoot anyone around Ken and think you’ll get away with it. (You won’t.) But, it will be captured on film (or to a digital hard drive actually) beautifully. He’s very innovative in his use of new camera systems and has made the Canon 5D Mark II his camera of choice. He’s added on a lot of his own whizbangs (highly technical term) to make it professional grade, but its revolutionized set up times, and ease of shooting dialogue without mag changes. And who needs a technocrane when you can tie the camera to a $18 painters pole? It is a very nice painter’s pole, mind you.

Ok, I must go leaving you wanting more! Conference calls are looming and someone has to type in the host code, you know.  Stay tuned for more Aero news, anecdotes and stories of our other directors: James Mangold, Jason Farrand and our mini-Irish Mafia of Gary McKendry and Sam O’Hare. If you’re aching for more, check out our official Aero Film website, join our Fan Page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter


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