Taking Off … the movie.

My first aerial shoot over Montreal. I took the opportunity to shoot some footage and incorporate some personal shots.

I flew out of St-Hubert with my pilot (Philippe Landes) in a Hughes 300 CBi helicopter. The cockpit is very small – imagine the front of a compact car, minus the dash board, and the glass in front going all the way to your feet. A great view! I had originally been told that they would remove my whole door so that I could take my photos. I have to admit, that freaked me out a little, so I was very relieved to find out that, instead of this, my door featured a large zippered window which allowed me pretty much full access from which to shoot. 

After a 10 minute safety briefing from my pilot, which included emergency procedures that I would need to complete if ever he was indisposed (huh?!!?), we took off and flew into Montreal via the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Airspace is very controlled. We were either under control from the St-Hubert or Dorval control towers. We arrived at our first shooting location, only to be told a few minutes later that we needed to clear the airspace for a while.  They sent us to the north end of the mountain, and allowed us to return about 10 minutes later. We circled each location several times at the minimum 1000′ altitude, flying at approx 30 knots, allowing me to capture many images as we went around the sites. The best (scariest) part was when I told my pilot that I needed a direct overhead view of the site. He completely caught me off guard when he tipped the helicopter onto its side, allowing me to shoot almost straight down!

All in all, we were flying for about an hour. It seemed like only a few minutes! What a blast. I highly recommend trying it one day if you get the opportunity.

Taking Off from Mario C Melillo on Vimeo.


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