Renting a tall crane to get a high-angle shot could soon be an expense filmmakers can avoid with this Balloon Camera designed to lift a remote control stabilized camera gimbal up to 985 feet in the air.
Developed by the NHK, Japan's equivalent of PBS or the BBC, the miniature blimp is actually best suited for operating heights of around 165 feet where it's most stable. The four axis gimbal is panned, zoomed, and tilted with an RC helicopter remote, but thanks to built-in gyros the rig also independently moves to stabilize the camera as the balloon drifts about.
The rig remains tethered to the ground at all times since the balloon isn't designed to be flown, but in the event the cable snapping a safe landing mechanism ensures the gear its hoisting are immediately and safely returned to the ground.
Its Achilles heel is obviously the wind, as the stabilized gimbal can only compensate for movements in gusts up to 16 miles per hour. So forget about using it to capture dramatic footage of tornados, hurricanes, or monsoons, because once you set it aloft that's probably the last time you'll ever see it. [DigInfo]