Services > Aerial Unit > Large Format





What's large format? Well, the frame from the film below on the left comes from 35mm which is what you would see on a cinema screen. Whereas, the frame from the film below on the right comes from Imax 70mm - we call this giant frame Large Format. Big isn't it!

The other large formats are iWERKS, VistaVision and Showscan. Large Format is crystal clear to watch, it's played on screens that are sometimes up to ten storeys high - it's the most immersive film experience you will ever find.

Even the cameras are huge but, over the years we've developed the expertise to use them, and particularly the mounting equipment to use them in the air.

We first worked on Large Format in 1990 when we shot the Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium for one of the most successful Imax films to date, Stones at the Max.

In 1992 we collaborated with Nick Phillips to build the Megamount. We wanted a way to get a Showscan 70mm camera into the air and it had to be capable of rolling and tilting at the same time.

Sometimes desperate measures are called for ... In order to get a CP 65 Camera into an aircraft we had to chop the nose off the jet and rebuild it around the camera -  the result is the Jetmount.  We used this to shoot "Dogfight", which you can see on our motion ride film page.

In 1996 we wanted to give visitors to The Commonwealth Institute in London the opportunity to experience what it's really like to fly between the twin towers of the tallest building in the world - The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. For this we commissioned the rebuild of a VistaVision camera and we projected the images on to a huge 120 degree screen that was curved in both directions.  The audience still gasp as we squeeze through the gap.  It's just as if you're really there.

Two of our large format films can be seen at The Printworks in Manchester UK. Although not strictly large format "The Deep" and "Cloudscape" are being projected onto a 28 metre virtual ceiling (which we reckon counts as quite large!) It's the first virtual ceiling in Europe and has to be seen to be believed.  We're very proud they chose us to make their launch films. 

Shooting 3D films is complex and we rely heavily on the skills of Peter Parks at Image Quest 3D (  He ought to know what he's talking about after winning two Academy Awards for technical excellence! If you're interested in learning more about the subject you should definitely visit the Image Quest 3D website.

Helifilms is a member of the Giant Screen Cinema Association ( whose website is a particularly good resource for researching every large format film produced and available for international licencing.