GoPro Flies with Helium Balloon Tutorial


Miniature “Up” zombie film

I looked into purchasing a helicopter to attach my GoPro to for arial shots but they cost around 1 million dollars so I decided I needed something cheaper. I looked into remote control helicopters and I couldn’t find one under $400 that could lift the weight of a GoPro. So I put my thinking cap on and decided to become a superhero to get ariel shots. Realizing I don’t have the legs for tights I decided to try helium balloons.

There are a lot of questions we have to answer before we make this work: How many balloons do we need to lift a GoPro? How do we make sure the camera is steady? How do we make sure the camera doesn’t crash into the moon? Firs off lets get all the supplies you need, a lot of this will be around the house but you will have to buy some unless you work as a balloon animal artist.

Here is what we will need to purchase:

  • 2 helium balloon tanks $39.99
  • 1 styrofoam block $9.99
  • 1 spull of 2-lb. fishing string $4.99
  • 1 bag of 100 balloons $1.99
  • 2 peaces of 12-inch wooded dial 1/8th thick $0.99
  • 1 piece of 1-foot plastic wrap less than $0.99
  • 2 pieces of 6-inch Scotch Tape less than $0.99
  • 1 garbage bag tie less than $0.99

Here is how we put it together:

To make sure the camera consistently pointed in the direction we need to make a mount/case for the GoPro. I used the styrofoam brick for this and cut a hole in the center of it for the size of my Hero2 GoPro with case (2.8″x2.55″x1.8″ Hero2 case dimensions) . Next, take our two 12-inch wooden dials and drill one hole on each end, big enough to put your fishing line through. Then we slowly push the dials through the styrofoam in the center 1-inch from the sides. We have to make sure we don’t go through the hole we made to put the GoPro.

GoPro in flight case, note the holes on the ends of the dial for string

GoPro in styrofoam, the less weight the better

Next we blow up all of the balloons with the helium then tie 3 to 5-foot lines of fishing string to the ends, tie quarter size loops on the other end and place in on a pencil until they are all done.


Fishing line, strong and light

Once we have filled up as many balloons as two helium tanks can fill up we move forward to attaching the balloons to the dials, try to evenly place them on. Once put on, push the string as close to the styrofoam case and use the tape to hold it in place. This is not a long term solution but long enough to outlive the helium and most importantly light.


Tape to ensure the balloons don’t fall off

Grab all of the balloon strings and hold them together, use the garbage bag tie and strap them together. This will keep the GoPro level and not unbalanced.


Keep the balloons center

We have to decide how high up we want to go with this shot. I went up about 25-feet so I made 4 strands of fishing string 30-feet long and tied them off on the ends of the wooden dials. Then you have to either have 4 people hold the other ends or use stakes and put them into the ground. Remember to center your shot at this time.


That’s how we control the balloon unit

Next we place the GoPro in the case and wrap it with the plastic wrap, cut a hole for the lens and we have a lightweight camera strap. remember to point the camera down and turn it on.


Plastic wrap to hold the GoPro, light and reliable

Let your camera fly up into the sky and roll your scene. Remember this is all about saving time because your camera is running the moment you let it into the air. Prepare your actors, give them blocking and if need be rehearse a few times. This scene was used for the opening montage of my new feature film “Chip & Bernie’s Zomance,” it involved zombies eating a victim as he laid on the floor. The shot came out great and enhanced the production value of my opening montage.


Anatomy of a zombie scene

19 Comments on “GoPro Flies with Helium Balloon Tutorial”

      1. For anybody trying to film like this for over 1 day, I recommend you purchase a pump of ultra hi float for around $15.99! That will increase the float time of the balloons by 25 times. If you cannot rent a helium tank from a party store drive over to your nearest store(target/Walmart) and pick up the balloontime helium kit for just around $20. With the hi float and balloon kit combined you can spend less money and have a better float time.

  1. Pingback: Samantha

  2. Pingback: Darrell

    1. Has to do more with the amount of tanks then the balloons. Took 2 tanks and about 60 balloons. :p

  3. I recommend putting your name, address, and CASH REWARD FOR RETURN on the camera in case something happens and your unit floats away!
    Great idea, enjoyed all the instructions. We’re giong to try it. Im going to use a heavier fishing line, though…

  4. Good tip on adding the name and address, you never know when the string can break.
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