Video of My Kauai Helicopter Tour

December 9th, 2017

This morning at 3:00am, we got back from a week on Kauai, HI. Besides a catamaran snorkeling trip and several other tours for me, the high point was the 50-minute helicopter tour we took around the island. This is the company we flew with. What made the trip especially awesome was the fact that I got to sit in the front right-hand seat that had no obstructions. So I shot this video with my iPhone 7S.

Wayne Capili reprimanded me last year when we met in San Francisco for not traveling with my DSLR. But ever since I got my iPhone 7S, I’ve been so pleased with the photos and video that the 7S produces, when we travel I leave my DSLRs at home. I could have shot this in 4K but I forgot that I had set it to 1080p video. Wayne is probably right; there are many situations where a DSLR or mirrorless with a zoom lens would get better results, but the 7S does so well for the room it takes!

I shot this handheld and it took me a while to realize that the biggest challenge of shooting inside a plexiglass helicopter windshield is that you have to pay close attention to not have the sun reflecting off the plexiglass.

I clearly have a way to go to get professional results but this was a real kick!

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13 Responses to “Video of My Kauai Helicopter Tour”

  • I’m considering getting myself a 7S for the reasons you mentioned. Amazing video full screen. Thanks for sharing.

  • Looks like a fun trip and the iPhone video is definitely pretty good for YouTube but it hardly compares to a mirrorless or DSLR. What you’re not seeing is how much better your shots would have been if you had used a real camera.

    It seems that you are trending towards cell phone content is good enough. It’s easy to see the improvement in cell phone cameras, they weren’t that good, to begin with, but it’s not like the development of mirrorless and DSLR technology has not kept up or even exceeded the pace of innovation.

    there’s no doubt that the best camera is the one that gets used and there’s certainly a compelling argument to be made for using a cell phone. But even as good as the iPhone 8Plus camera might be it’s still a tiny sensor with a tiny lens and the quality of resolution does not compare.

    Sure, if you want to use a mirrorless or DSLR you might have to pack a bit more equipment and plan your shots ahead of time, its called pre-production and it’s part of what separates professionals from amateurs. I thought the purpose of your blog was to help professional photographers be successful in real estate photography. Granted there are a lot of variables that need to be managed to establish a look and shoot efficiently, but cell phones don’t provide the type of controls necessary to control the nuanced variables that separate the good from the bad and the ugly.

    Any idiot can use a cell phone and every idiot has one. It’s a sad and a bit disturbing to hear you say “…I have a way to go to get professional results but this was a real kick!” Was the fun in the helicopter ride over the beautiful scenery or in using a cell phone?

  • Man i miss Kauai!! looks great! imagine without the plexi it would be stunning! glad you had some fun! thanks for sharing!

  • Nice, but the tour in copter without doors much more exciting and no refelections!

  • WOW! Incredible views, such a vast area, beautiful! Hope to visit one day. Thanks.

  • I agree with leaving the DSLR at home. Cameras on many cell phones are very good with respect to taking vacation pictures. Why spend your vacation lugging around a bulky camera.

  • We shoot a lot of Behind the Scenes video and stills with our iPhone, but have begun noticing that the iPhone takes images almost as good as the DSLR and most of the images don’t really have to be adjusted to be used. Not the end all solution, but a great additional tool to your photography kit.

  • Not sure if one of those custom drones Chuck builds went awry and flew up his behind causing some irritation, but I think he missed the point of Larry being on VACATION! To lug around your system, have to worry about some crook stealing it from your rental car, etc. kind of ruins the the whole point of a vacation where I look to a relaxing carefree experience.

    At my age, the thought of being able to whip out your phone from you pocket and take incredible shots/videos is beyond amazing. Sure, a pro system is going to do better, but sometimes you should just put down the f ing camera and enjoy the moment. Capture the moment if you must on your phone and forever enjoy the memories later that viewing the of the capture reminds you of. The way I look at it, the personal photo/Video is just a trigger for your mind to bring back the feelings, etc. from that time in your life….much more than just a photo.

    The other thing I think that was missed is that most PFRE photos/videos are a short term marketing product that are thrown away after the sale has been made. Does the term “Overkill” resonate with anyone else?

  • @Sharon – Yes, this ride and all the reflections in the plexiglass demonstrated why shooting without doors is so important.

    @Jerry – Yes, exactly. There’s no way I would drag my 5D-MKIV and 24-70mm lens on a trip like this. I used to have a Sony A6300 until I gave it to my oldest grandson to get started in RE photography. An A6xxx would be tolerable on a trip like this but I’d still think long and hard about it because you can’t comfortably slide an A6xxx in your pocket like a 7S. It’s amazing to have so much functionality in such small convenient package!

  • Overkill Ken here. I don’t have a appease kids and other family members when planning vacations so I am usually going places where I want to make photos. I don’t take everything I own, but I do have a backpack that’s mostly camera gear. I’ll also get up very early or stay up late waiting for the perfect light on a scene. Someday I’ll have a mirrorless kit that much more compact but I highly doubt that I will ever be using my phone for images on a regular basis where I would normally have a dedicated camera.

    I don’t just watch my vacations TTL. There are plenty of situations where my camera is in my bag and I’m just another person taking the tour and listening to the guide. I’ve also come across great photo opportunities where I would have been severely disappointed to only have a cell phone.

    Nearly all marketing photos are short term. A car model changes every few years if not every year so those super high end studio photos are useless for marketing two years down the road. Any sort of fashion isn’t going to last more than one season. This year’s Air Jordan’s are going to be replaced by next year’s Air Jordan’s, etc. So where do you draw the line and say that a certain level of photography is “overkill”. A 50mp Canon 5DS could be considered overkill for a middle market home, but if those images are of the model in a large development and the developer is using that same layout in 3 other states plus corporate brochures and there is lots of third party licensing, suddenly having super big files can be an asset. If the “overkill” isn’t changing the time or cost, it’s not a big deal. I don’t deliver the full capability of what my camera is capable of providing but the “overkill” gives me some latitude in shooting and editing and I’ll be updating to something that’s even more “overkill” in 2018.

  • To be clear Ken, I too have from time to time taken a “working vacation” where I will have my gear for any opportunity that arises. Working some of the time, yet still enjoy the location. Since I love what I do, “working” is a relative term. But I get your point, to each their own.

    Your analogy for short term doesn’t fly in the 95% of RE photography. The auto photos generate over 17 million units a year, your bungalow in Tarzana is up for sale for only a couple of months. The Air Jordon shoes generate 2.8 billion for 2016 while your bungalow generated 500,000…..once.

    Where do you draw the line? Where your effort out paces your profit. If you are shooting run of the mill 2,500 sq ft home that list for 500,000 and your fees are set for XXX and you feel like your making good enough profit while staying competitive, great. If you pick up a gig to shoot a resort/hotel, Developer, whatever, that will demand more effort and consequently higher fees than the line moves.

    I agree that if you can justify the better systems to shoot all, high end and low end, then your workflow is much easier and brings down post production time and effort. While I/we have built our business over the years to have the best systems out there for the projects that we do, I would caution newbies to focus on investing in what they need now and see how their adventure works out, rather than put themselves in a deep hole that they might not be able to climb out. I’d be curious as to how many RE photographers fail, 50%, 80%, after a couple of years?

    Bottom line, there is no one answer, it depends on your demographics, cost of doing business and your brand.

  • Stunning scenery Larry.. what a trip! Thanks for posting… a very welcome diversion from the lightless, snowbound gloom which is the UK right now!

  • Larry writes ONE POST about being on vacation and using his phone to make a video….and Chuck Spaulding is already confused about the purpose of the blog…

    “…I thought the purpose of your blog was to help professional photographers be successful in real estate photography…”

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