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Black Widow | 2021

What was the Brief?

We were required to shoot VFX and live action plates in Norway, Svalbard, Tangier (Morocco) and the UK. We used our specialist 6 camera aerial array, the Typhon, involving 6 Red Helium and 21mm Zeiss CP.3 XD lenses to give a massive field of vision that is ideal for use in VFX driven productions.


The other element we integrated, for shooting with the Typhon in Norway, was the use of a focus and iris control via remote control on each lens. There were 6 iris motors and 6 focus motors (one for each body). This enabled us to calibrate each lens individually to counter any mechanical difference in the scales of the focus and iris. We used a single, hand-control unit in the helicopter cabin to control all 12 motors: This solution was an 'Aerial filming first'. 


To protect our kit from the wind force, a carbon fibre cowling was designed and fabricated to protect the lenses within the Typhon, and act as an aerodynamic cover. We used clear optical flats or ND filters to protect the lenses. 


The second part of the brief was to film helicopter VFX plates over Ministry of Defense land in the UK and in Norwegian Fjords and mountains, plus, a live action sequence with a drone in Tangier. For the drone work, we needed a reliable and stable platform, so we used the Aerigon Drone, carrying a RED Helium on the MOVI pro gimbal. Filming the VFX plates themselves was not a challenge, but to be able to give the length of shot required, we had to maintain effective lens control and video downlink over a long distance. As such, we used a directional patch antenna on our video downlink, and RT Motion lens control. 


Helicopter filming in Norway was up in the mountains, working with Stunt doubles who were ferried to the top by the filming helicopter, and recovered back down: the ever-changing weather meant they were left up there for some time on occasion!


Giles Dumper was our film pilot with Aerial DoP Jeremy Braben in the Airbus H125 Astar. The Svalbard elements are always exciting - and a logistical challenge - but working with Jason Roberts from PolarX makes it easy. The helicopter was positioned to and from Svalbard on a research vessel.


During filming in the UK, it was noted that the high power consumption of the RED Helium camera necessitated battery changes on the gimbal every flight. Our experts devised a new battery solution for the gimbal before next shooting with the RED, thus overcoming those challenges. 


Drone filming in Tangier presented a range of issues, from difficulties transporting the equipment up small, winding staircases to the rooftops, to flying around the rooftops of a busy Moroccan town, complete with all the obstructions of everyday life, such as TV aerials, scaffolding and washing lines. To aid our pilot, the Aerigon Drone was fitted with a pilot camera, allowing the pilot to plan the route effectively and navigate any obstacles more easily. It is illegal to fly drones in Morocco, so Tangier, as a location, may have been a problem. However, we have long standing experience and a good reputation for filming in this beautiful country, and received all necessary permissions working in close contact with our local production fixers, allowing us to continue our work unhindered. 




  • Typhon 6 Camera Array with RED Helium/ Zeiss 

  • Shotover F1 Sony Venice/Fujinon Premista



  • Shotover K1 Sony Venice/Fujinon Premista



  • Shotover K1 Sony Venice/Fujinon Premista, 



  • Typhon 6 Camera Array

  • Shotover F1 Sony Venice/Fujinon Premista, 

  • Aerigon Drone RED Helium, with MOVI pro gimbal



  • Aerigon Drone RED Helium, with MOVI pro gimbal

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HFS Heli in front of Glacier, Svalbard.jpg
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