Fighter jets are exciting, able to cruise through the sky at Mach speeds, but this makes it hard to capture truly stable video of them in flight. Despite this, Saab has been able to capture some incredibly smooth footage of their Gripen Jet fighter courtesy of a gyro-stabilized camera system developed by a Gyro-Stabilized Systems (GSS) at the behest of the Swedish firm, Blue Sky.
Blue Sky commissioned GSS to construct the stabilizer as their own client, Saab Defense, and Security required high-quality still and motion captures of their Gripen jet fighter in action. Most stabilization systems that are available on the market are only usable on helicopters and at speeds of up to 125 knots, which was insufficient for these jets. The result of GSS’ hard work was a 5-axis gimbal upon which Blue Sky attached a Red Dragon 6K mounted with a Canon 30-300m lens, the entire assembly then connected to a weapon bay on a fighter jet. The system required no cable connectivity between the cockpit and the camera and Aerial DP Peter Degerfeldt, who was in the back seat of a Saab 105 was capable of operating the gyro system using a modem.
Degerfeldt stated, after the first flight that “It was a dream come true.” “It couldn’t have gone better, no problem what so ever at those speeds, both in panning or even looking straight down,” he said. During the first test flight, he was capable of zooming in at 300mm and it remained stable despite traveling at 300 knots in temperatures as low as -20 C. It was even capable of standing up to their attempts to unsettle the system, including high-speed banks and turns, pulling 2.5Gs and even rolling.
The footage itself is almost surreal in how smooth and stable it is as if you are right there on the jet. It really makes you wonder if Top Gun 2 will look this good if it ever materializes.