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The Cineflex V14 system overview

Helifilms Australia’s “Cineflex” system comprises state-of-the-art HiDEF equipment forming a system comparable to none when photographing rock solid HD images for television and cinema release. The gyrostabilised gimbal has been designed by a team of motion control engineers with a high level of expertise in mechanical, electrical, software and optical engineering. The result is a mount that consistently and reliably produces the steadiest images you may ever see, even at lens focal lengths previously reserved for static ground shots. Primarily designed for use as an aerial mount, the Cineflex can also be mounted on boats, vehicles, cable rigs, tethered blimps or camera cranes with equally outstanding results. The system design incorporates an active high bandwidth stabilisation process which produces absolutely jitter free images. The frame remains correctly oriented regardless of any rough or sudden movement produced by the moving platform to which the Cineflex is attached.

The V14 Gimbal

The Cineflex V14 gimbal is a fully digital 5-axis gyrostabilised turret. It houses the stabilisation control motors, gyros, processors, electronics, zoom lens and CCD block adaptor. At around 14” or 350mm in diameter, the gimbal is small and lightweight enough to fit just about anywhere.

For aerial shooting, the gimbal is usually fitted near the nose of the helicopter onto specially built mounts. Two cables connect to the rest of the system which is placed internally. Its sleek design and small size allows shooting at airspeeds of up to 140 knots. For attachment to other moving platforms, such as vehicles and boats, purpose built mounts are used. The powerful motors enable the gimbal to move dynamically through its impressive range. See the specifications later for details.

Controlling the Cineflex

A single cable is connected to the operator’s Lap Console. The gimbal is accurately moved by a joystick control on the pan, tilt and roll axes with numerous user-defined fine adjustments. The lens’ zoom, focus and iris as well as the camera’s menu settings can all be adjusted at any time from the Lap Console. A Sony remote controller (RM-B750) embedded in the console enables these functions. All of Helifilms Australia’s Cineflex V14 Laptop Consoles have special modifications allowing even more versatility and precision by the operator resulting in perfect and repeatable moves. A separate focus/iris controller can be connected to the console to allow another pair of hands to make adjustments when the operator’s workload is high.

The Aux Box

Housed in a case, which is generally mounted out of the way, is the main body of the camera which is separated from the lens block. Connected by two cables from the gimbal, the Aux(illiary) Box also contains circuitry, cabling, power supplies and power filters. Its purpose is to protect the sensitive equipment whilst providing connections to system components.

Capturing in HiDEF

The key to producing the highest quality, most advanced and versatile HiDEF images is of course, the camera and record.


The Camera

The Helifilms Australia Cineflexes incorporate the Sony HDC 1500 camera. The 1500 offers full bandwidth 4:4:4 digital high definition RGB signal processing and output capability - the central element in achieving image optimisation. Targeting the highest possible picture quality and colour performance for today’s digital motion picture productions, the HDC 1500 meets the expectations and recommendations of major filmmakers and numerous cinematographers as well as those involved in high end television and commercial production, where optimum picture quality and colorimetry are critical priorities. The 1500 is able to capture HiDef at frame rates up to 60p. The camera can also output a 4:2:2 component video signal and composite video signal if required.

The Recorders

Helifilms Australia provides a choice of recorders. The Sony S280 HD CAM portable recorder captures full HD at 4:2:2 and also supports multi frame rate recording up to 30p and playback in 1920 x 1080 active pixel format.



Sony SRW-1 HD recorder

Sony S-280 HD recorder

Ki Pro Recorder

The Sony SRW-1 HDCAM SR portable digital videocassette recorder is paired with the Sony SRPC-1 VTR adaptor. This combination enables simple full bandwidth recording of 4:4:4 RGB or 4:2:2 component video. It provides a variety of video-processing functions including the easy handling of 2-3 pulldown insertions, down conversion and RGB - Y/Pb/Pr colour-space conversion.The recorder supports multi frame rate recording up to 60p and playback in 1920x1080 active pixel format.

Cineflex lenses

A gyrostabilised mount which is as remarkably stable as the Cineflex V14 can easily service long zoom lenses. Helifilms Australia’s Cineflex comes with two lenses. Both are manufactured by Fujinon who are leading the way with HD lenses and setting new benchmarks.

- The shorter zoom is the Fujinon HA 13x4.5BE: 4.5mm -59mm
- The longer zoom is the Fujinon HA 42x9.7BERD: 9.7mm - 410mm

For those with a background in film, multiplying the mm’s by 2.5 will give the 35mm motion picture camera equivalents. Both lenses are fitted with optical doublers which can be operated at any time with a switch on the Laptop Console. A built-in digital doubler in the Cineflex allows up to 4 x magnification providing 1640mm or 4100mm in 35mm equivalent terms and all rock solid.

Monitoring proceedings

The Cineflex V14 HiDEF Camera System can provide simply the bare minimum of the Operator’s HD monitor or a series of HD monitors. All screens are LCD flat screen high definition monitors varying in size from 15” to 7” sourced from Panasonic, Astro, Marshall and Boland.

Mounting the gimbal

To do an effective job a mount system needs to feature two important elements. The first is an "isolator" to seperate the camera from the many high frequency vibrations generated within any filming platform. The second is a damping system that removes the many low fequency movements experienced in the air. These might come from air turbulence, rotation of the blades, or ham-fisted pilots and operators.

Helicopter camera mounts tend to be divided into three types; Nose mounts, Side mounts, and Gyro balls. Each has advantages and disadvantages which are too complex to cover here in detail. The choice is very much a story of horses for courses and is influenced both by the shots to be achieved and by the type of helicopteror fixed wing being used.

Helifilms Australia provides mounts for helicopters, fixed wingt aircraft, cranes, boats, tracking vehicles, cable rigs and tethered blimps. In fact, just about anything can have the Cineflex attached to it. For helicopter aerial work, mounts are available for AS350 and AS355 (Squirrel), B206 and 407 (Bell) and EC120 (Eurocopter). A Unimount can also allow installation into other helicopter types. Additionally, a “Moy” fitting is available for attachment to virtually all camera cranes and grips’ rigging gear. Helifilms Australia prides itself in solving all the tough questions when it comes to putting a Cineflex out into the field on what ever filming platform is required. Just ask us! There’s not a lot we haven’t done.

AS350/355 Pole Mount

Bell 206/407 Nose Mount

EC120 Side Mount

For further information on mounting brackets and specifc helicopter suitability as a platform for filming, click here.


Whenever one of the Cineflex V14 HiDEF Camera Systems goes into production, a Helifilms Australia-supplied technician will accompany it. For the installation, the technician will bring all tools, cabling, mounts, manuals and documentation needed to rig the Cineflex and have it legally approved.

The Specs

V14 Cineflex Gimbal

Stabilisation: 5–Axis Gyrostabilised, Fully Digital Servo and Control System.
Field Of Regard: Automatic and Steer-able
Pan (Azimuth): 360° continuous
Tilt (Elevation): Upwards, +20° to Downwards -195°
Roll:+/- 45°
Maximum Slew Rate: >55°/second
Maximum Slew Acceleration: >100°/sec²
Position Resolution: .001°
Electronics: High Speed 32bit DSP
Communication Links: Bi-Directional RS 422 and RS232
Electrical Input Voltage: 28vDc ± 10%
Operating Temperature: -20°c to +45°c

Sony HDC 1500 camera

Pick-up Device: 3 CCD 2/3 inch type 16:9, 1080 (V) x 1920 (H) active pixels.
Capture Formats:
- Progressive: 1080/23.98PsF, 1080/24PsF, 1080/25PsF, 1080/29.97PsF, 1080/50p, 1080/59.94p, 720/50p, 720/59.94p (Recorder dependant)
- Interlaced: 1080/50i, 1080/59.94i
Sensitivity: High Sensitivity f10 @ 2000 LUX
Signal To Noise Ratio: 54db (typical)
Output: 4:4:4 RGB HD SDI (Dual Stream), 4:2:2 Y/Pb/Pr HD SDI, SD SDI and