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October 24 2014 was Senior night at SVHS and I had been planning on doing an aerial shot of the field. For over a year I have been researching the how to and what ifs of helium and hydrogen ballooning systems. I researched payload builds; helium displacement needs, lift potential, helium leak rate, and a slew of other items such as tie off procedures, mounting and activation systems as well as which camera to use. The result of this work is viewable below.
How it all works:
I used a total of 6 balloons, a pretty stout lifting platform, (2) Sony HDR-AS 515 cameras; one for Full HD and the other for 5 second interval shots (thus the clicking you here). At an altitude of 250 feet I was able to capture some amazing footage. I was concerned about it being a disturbance, but alas it was so far above the lights that no one saw it. This means, I could have let more line out to center onto the field, but lesson learned. The first balloon I filled was not filled enough and hindered the rest of the balloons, I used multiple balloons to keep the payload from gyrating and spinning out of control. it takes 2 balloons to keep it from spinning, and three to keep it from gyrating, I used 6 balloons to keep it as steady as I possibly could. I used 100 gram weather balloons and at first had good climbing carabiners, for anchor points and to keep all 6 balloons tied, then and quickly realized that additional weight really affected performance, so i chose a much smaller carabiner s hook design that I have and it reduced the weight significantly. Then the guy-line i used was much too heavy, so once i replaced that line, the system took off. I had to recalculate the tensile strength of my new line and realized, that i over compensated dramatically and did not need that sort of comfort zone. I ran out of line at 400 feet on my spool and calculated with the slope of the line my altitude was 250-275 feet above my ground level point, which is 6 feet above the playing field. A slight breeze kept the balloons flying over the Stadium for about 20 minutes until the winds changed and blew the unit the other direction.
Gathering nearly 600 stills and 30 minutes of video, I then took the good shots; (it seemed every other one was blurry), and cropped out the junk, then rotated it 180 degrees to make it viewable. On the video side, I took pieces of the video out and made the clip below. What you do not see is the climb, the decent and the drifting of the system floating above ground. The first image below is the Cardinal Football team entering the field, the second is opening kickoff.
First I’d like to thank AIRGAS USA Branch N023 905 Belden Ave. S.E. Canton, OH 44707 for their help. They helped me with some math and the regulator as well as the helium. The Sandy Valley High School, I have been part of the filming team for football for 5 years now, and thanks to Administration, coaches and officials, they allowed me to film in this manner. I DO NOT suggest you film over such an event without doing your homework on clearances and such and you MUST take the safety of the participants and audience alike foremost. Thank you for your time and viewing the film. If you have questions or comments, please call the number at the bottom of the page.
Arial Coverage before drones