18 September 2023

XM2 takes Shogun to the skies to capture aerial scenes

Hollywood-based XM2, who specialise in aerial cinematography, capture spectacular footage using the Atomos Shogun 7 as part of their workflow. Find out how it helps them work more productively when flying at great heights.

By Atomos

The team at XM2 have built a unique reputation as leading aerial and remote technology specialists. Their impressive work has featured on many renowned productions including Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Fast and the Furious and James Bond.

Founder and CEO of XM2 Stephen Oh, credits the success of XM2 to the problem-solving skills he learned as an engineer. From his perspective, the company performs a unique role, operating as a hybrid camera unit and grip support in high pressure environments.

“What’s critical in preparing for a shoot of any size is reliability of equipment. We work with so many components on a project, that every component needs to work,” Stephen said.

The helicopters used to capture footage require monitors in all areas; one at the front for the pilot, a monitor at the back for camera operator and an additional one on board for the director. The Shogun 7 performs an essential role for the team; the SDI connection is just one of the features the team rely on to obtain their shots. “The Shogun 7 is perfect for our application, it’s a very versatile piece of kit. It’s rugged, it can be powered by batteries or wired into mains power.”

“SDI connection is like a main artery, it feeds the image from the camera to any monitor or any DIT unit or video village.”

The team are often working in a confined space at great heights, so using the compact Shogun 7 proves beneficial for all on board. It offers easy-to-use touchscreen controls for the aerial film pilot and includes a 3000 nits bright screen which renders images visible even in extreme sunlight.

Playback of footage can often present itself as an issue when recording thousands of feet in the air. “Many times, the camera is on the nose of the helicopter, so if we want to rewatch a scene or show it to production, we have to land the helicopter, pull the card and review the footage,” explains Shotover Technician Tucker Costello.

The Shogun 7’s built-in playback features enable the team to review footage directly from the monitor. “I can remove it, take it to production or the director and say, ‘this is what we shot’,” adds Tucker. “If a device is hard to access and touch, you use it less. The Shogun 7 is so easy and accurate that it is a part of me now,” concluded Stephen.

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