A brand-new camera stabilizing rig was created solely to capture the majesty of the Saab Gripen fighter jet cutting open the ice cold air above Sweden. Worth it? Take a look for yourself!
What you’re seeing is the work of action adventure cameraman Peter Degerfeldt running a Red Dragon 6K camera with a Canon 30-300m lens; selected for its “short snout.”
The proportions were important because the camera would be mounted on a five-axis gyro attached to another jet where a missile might normally be. A longer lens would be harder to balance and every millimeter counts at 300 knots and 2.5 g’s.
Degerfeldt watched what the camera was looking at remotely from the back seat of the coolest camera car ever: another fighter jet. The setup would have cost as much as a nice new Mercedes, before you add the camera-coddling gyro (called a “gimbal” in filmspeak) to the bill.
Blue Sky Aerial, the outfit Degerfeldt works for which created this video, says air-vehicle mounted gyros have previously only been used on helicopters at speeds of up to 135 knots. That’s still quick at 155 MPH in relative groundspeed, but the absolutely breathtaking visuals you’re watching here were recorded at about double that pace.
The next evolution of the Saab Gripen is supposed to offer air forces a balance between “power, flexibility, efficiency” and be something of an all-purposes airborne peacekeeper.
We’ll hear more about the jet when it’s officially released on May 18th. Until then, I’m going to go ahead and rewatch that video with the music on mute and this cranked way up in another window.