Australians Bri Moreau and Chris Vogelzang are revolutionizing surf films one remote control helicopter at a time. In 2010, the duo created Extreme Aerials, a company that uses 19-inch, four-rotored helicopters to capture otherwise costly aerial footage of surf events. The team packs $5,000 worth of the latest camera and lens technology onto the frisbee-sized contraptions and sets them loose during events like the 2011 Rip Curl Pro. I caught up with Moreau to find out how many copters they've lost in the drink.
--Ali Taylor Lange
Outside: How did this all start?
Moreau: About a year ago we took the camera over the ocean for the first time and made a two-minute clip that we posted to the web. No one had ever posted surf footage like that before. We got 140,000 hits and knew we had stumbled upon something pretty good.
What is a quadrocopter?
A quadrocopter has fewer moving parts than a conventional helicopter. It also has active stabilization that allows it to hover in one spot. A traditional helicopter doesn't do that. It tends to drift to a certain direction.
Just how stable is it? And how fast can it fly?
We can fly in winds up to 20 knots (23 mph). The footage will be affected a little, but you would be surprised at the amount of control the pilot has. We were filming $1.6 million motorboats yesterday and were traveling faster than them. We can probably clock about 60 mph if the machine is really moving.