Nik’s Camera Helmet 2021

Nik’s camera set up shown with a Sony 7r III and GoPro Hero 9.

Just over 5 years ago Nik posted an article called “The Greatest and Best Camera Helmet in the World“, in which he shared the ins and outs of his camera flying helmet. Nik’s opinion still stands today as he continues using his Cookie Fuel. However, camera technology has advanced significantly over the years and it is time for an update to the old post.

If you are in the market for new cameras and are looking for great side-by-side comparisons and tear downs, check out Trunk’s latest blog posts. These explain why I upgraded to the Hero9 and will be skipping the newly released Hero10.

Making the switch from Canon to Sony with a new arsenal of cameras and lenses. All safely tucked away in a travel friendly Pelican 1510 Case.

Firstly, Nik has made a complete switch from Canon to Sony. This was mainly due to the smaller and lighter Sony a6000, which was able to take better pictures than the Canon 7d. This was an upgrade in both picture quality and shedding some weight from the helmet. However, not soon after playing around with the a6000, Nik upgraded to the Sony 7r III. This again increased the overall weight of the helmet, but is totally worth it given the quality it produces.

Sony a7r III size comparison with a6000

Nik uses both cameras depending on what the job calls for. Below you can see a weight comparison between the two different set ups using a luggage measuring scale.

The weight of Nik’s camera helmet with the Sony a6000 and GoPro 9 is just over 4lbs.
The weight is significantly higher with the 7r III and bigger lens, just around 6lbs. FE 4 / 12-24 G for freefall, and FE 2.8 / 24-70 GM for air-to-air under canopy.

When video is the priority, such as during a competition, the set up featured below works quite nicely. The GoPro functions strictly as a back up, but it can also be used to take stills. Setting the GoPro to a wider shooting angle than the camcorder ensures that no grips go out of frame during a formation competition – especially during exit.

Helmet outfitted with a Sony FDR-AX700 4K HDR and a GoPro Hero 9.

The picture quality and image stabilization are quite good. In addition, the camcorder has some really cool slow motion features that can record up to 960fps.

Brianne Thompson doing a little head down carving over Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Shot with Sony FDR-AX700 4K HDR

Nik played around with various angles when mounting his articulating ring sight. The image below shows how the ring sight is configured and attached behind the GoPro.

The ring sight’s orientation is unobtrusive to shooting with either camera.

Because the action camera is located in his field of view, Nik does not use a plug in indicator light. However if you wish to use one, check out the latest and greatest from Hypoxic – BLU2PRO

Visually verifying the camera’s status with its built-in indicator light and rear screen.

Other great additions to the kit over the past few years.

Custom sunglass case by Levity

Gatorz Magnum Sunglasses

PIG High Altitude Glove (HAG) – also available in white for competitors and instructors.

Black Rapid camera strap for shooting on the ground.

Cookie Multitool

Below are examples of some recent work that was shot using the above cameras and gear:

Echoes in Time Parachutist Center Fold

To check out more of Nik’s work, please visit his photography website: https://niklasdaniel.photography

2021 Chicks Rock Boogie recap

On September 30th – October 3rd, Skydive Elsinore hosted its annual Chicks Rock Boogie. 2021 marked the event’s 20th anniversary, which had a space odyssey theme. Over the weekend Brianne and Nik of AXIS Fight School organized a variety of jumps including belly, free-fly, tracking, angle flying, canopy flocking, and even an 11-way hybrid with an orbiting wing-suiter. Jumping form Caravans, Otters, and a Skyvan, there was something for everyone. At night there were festivities, live music, and many opportunities to socialize. Brianne and Nik also participated in the night swoops event. Check out the recap video below. Looking forward to next year!

Sunset Canopy Flocking Jump by Brianne Thompson.

OEW Wind Tunnel Training 2021

Kevin and Jonathon just completed flying with AXIS Flight School at the Skyventure AZ tunnel. Having flown 3.5 hours each over the course of three days, Kevin and Jonathon are part of the January 2021 Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive class (a veteran-founded nonprofit organization). The goal of this training camp was to best prepare Kevin and Jonathon for eventual AFF and skydive training in the near future; aiming for the beginning of next year. Both excelled at learning body-flight in the tunnel and exceeded their own expectations. Before jump training can commence, there are still a few equipment hurdles that need to be taken care of. AXIS Flight School instructors Brianne and Nik feel confident that Kevin and Jonathon will take to the sky without hesitation and are happy to welcome them to the skydiving community.

During their visit, Todd Love was in town to get recurrent and jump, but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. Todd joined the gang in the tunnel and was able to provide some valuable insights to Jonathon via demonstration, since they have a similar body compositions.

Nik, Kevin, Brianne, Todd and Jonathon in front of the Skyventure Arizona wind tunnel at Skydive Arizona.
Photo by Emily Quinn

SKYHOOK Video

Check out our latest YouTube video where we deep dive the differences between a regular RSL (reserve static line) and a Skyhook equipped RSL. Brianne interviews UPT rep/rigger Greg Rau in the AXIS Flight School studio, as well as enjoying a weekend of intensional cutaways.

Greg Rau: “In an emergency there is a lot of other things involved, and the lower you take it, you’re just buttering up your disaster cake.”

Niklas Daniel Photography

 

AXIS Decennial at Skydive AZ!

November 2020 marks AXIS Flight School‘s 10 year anniversary at Skydive Arizona!

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In celebration of our ‘tin anniversary‘, we reflect on some of our favorite highlights and exploits over the past decade and give thanks to our Students, Sponsors, Team Mates, and Skydive Arizona. Without you, we would not be living the dream.

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AXIS Flight School® Sponsors

We also want to give a special shout out to the various skydiving magazines who have spent many hours editing and publishing our work with the community.

Here is to the next 10 years of Awesomeness!

November 2010AXIS Flight School® sets up shop at Skydive Arizona.

April 2011 – AXIS published its first Foundations of Flight article in Parachutist Magazine.

July 2011 – Nik performs his first canopy burn for the music video 4 years by Kid Savant.

September 2011 – AXIS organizes at MOAB.

October 2011 – Nik makes an appearance in the ESPN Body issue with his team mates on Arizona Arsenal.

March 2012 – Nik wins the 10th Annual Freefly Money Meet.

April 2012 – AXIS coaches and organizes at the Skydive Expo in Deland Florida.

May 2012 – AXIS offers canopy flocking courses at Skydive Arizona.

August 2012 – AXIS coaches and organizes in Europe during the summer. Several more trips follow in the future.

June 2013 – AXIS trains the first Operation Enduring Warrior AFF student Todd Love. Many more wounded veterans join the program to receive their USPA A-License and go beyond.

July 2013 – AXIS releases its first version of a free online DrawGenerator for formation skydiving disciplines. More performance tools are added over the years.

September 2013 – AXIS Flight School’s swoop and slide footage airs on VH1’s 40 greatest viral videos.

September 2013 – Nik wins his first US National title in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

December 2013 – Nik is the primary videographer for the Women’s Vertical World Record 63-way over Skydive Arizona.

December 2013 – Nik performs “The Huckleberry”.

February 2014 – AXIS jumps with Cory Remsburg during the Tee it up for the Troops golf outing in Scottsdale, Arizona.

June 2014 – AXIS skydiving video is featured on the TV show Jeopardy.

September 2014 – Nik wins silver at the 21st FAI World Formation Skydiving Championships in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

September 2014 – Nik wins his second US National title in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

September 2014 Arizona X-FORCE competes at its first USPA Nationals at Skydive Chicago. The team went on to compete and medal (2 silver, 3 bronze) at five consecutive USPA Nationals, in addition to medaling at several indoor skydiving competitions (bronze at USIS). AZ X-FORCE participated in two FAI World Cups, earning bronze in 2019. Peak performances for outdoor included: 17.8 average, 24points single highest scoring round. Peak performances for indoor included: 26.1 average, 46points single highest scoring round.

March 2015 Brianne receives the Chesley H. Judy USPA Safety Award.

March 2015 – AXIS Swoop ‘N Slide video footage is featured on GoPro, and is featured on 60minutes.

March 2015 – AXIS releases YouTube video “A Case of the Mondays”.

July 2015 – Nik captures epic video footage with a RED camera for Rockhouse Motion.

September 2015 – Ben Lowe joins AXIS Flight School under the label X-Ratings to offer rating courses.

October 2015 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USPA Nationals.

November 2015 Brianne’s burning parachute jump video goes viral, reaching more than 1M views.

April 2016 PD’s the Dream of Flight campaign.

April 2016 First 3-way XRW night jump over Skydive Arizona.

May 2016 Performance Designs releases the one-year anniversary Valkyrie ad featuring Brianne swooping her canopy through a wall of fire.

August 2016 – Brianne receives the USPA Regional Achievement Award for her involvement in Operation Enduring Warrior.

October 2016 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USPA Nationals.

December 2016 – Skydive Mag publishes Nik’s Body-flight Theory paper in four installments.

February 2017 – Nik’s aerial photography is featured on FOX 10 News.

March 2017 – Nik receives the Chesley H. Judy USPA Safety Award.

April 2017 – AXIS installs a personal weather station as Skydive Arizona and broadcast info online for locals.

April 2017 – AXIS coaches placed 3rd with their player coach team X-Defy at the iFly Virginia Beach Indoor Nationals in 4-way Formation Skydiving.

August 2017 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 4th at the 21st FAI World Cup in Germany.

September 2017 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

September 2017 – Brianne sets World Female Performance Record, as well as North American Female Competition and Performance Records in Speed Skydiving.

February 2018 – Brianne and Nik receive their pilots license (ASEL).

March 2018 – AXIS collaborates with the IBA to produce video tutorials.

March 2018 – Nik receives his IBA Trainer Level 4 sign off.

September 2018 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

January 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USIS Nationals.

July 2019 – AXIS published its 100th Foundations of Flight in Parachutist Magazine.

August 2019 – AXIS introduces its Merit System.

September 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

October 2019 – Brianne is the first American to medal in FS and VFS at the same World level competition.

October 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the 22nd FAI World Cup in Eloy.

December 2019 – AXIS collaborates with Good Goblin Games to produce the AXIS Skydiving App.

September 2020 – AXIS hosts its first Crucible Indoor Tournament.

October 2020 – AXIS builds a home studio to produce high quality educational videos.

November 2020 – AXIS continues to support the OEW Skydiving project.

Skyhook Deployment Video

I would like to thank UPT‘s Riley Marshall, and Lesley Gale at SkydiveMag for showing off some of my photos and videos in a feature article about the Skyhook (MARD). To learn more about the Main-Assisted Reserve Deployment system, and how it differs from a Reserve Static Line (RSL), check out the full article MARDginal Analysis.

Brianne Thompson cuts away with the Skyhook, filmed by Niklas Daniel over Skydive Arizona, Video by AXIS Flight School.

https://niklasdaniel.photography