Eric Cheng spent over 10 years mastering underwater photography before deciding to try his hand at aerial videography. Now he’s already turning the industry on its head with a new innovation that allows photographers to capture above-ground footage without the massive expense of a helicopter.

Aerial footage of surfers at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz (DJI Phantom) from Eric Cheng on Vimeo.

Aerial footage of surfers at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California. July 21, 2013. Footage taken with a DJI Phantom quadcopter, GoPro HERO3 Black edition camera, Rotorpixel HERO3 gimbal (, ReadyMadeRC FPV transmitter, receiver, and remote monitor, and modified DJI Phantom radio. Footage captured and edited by Eric Cheng ( Special thanks to George Krieger, David Merrill, and Jeff Honda for hanging out for the morning!

Full information about the setup is here:

Music: “May” by Marcel Pequel (

Edited in about an hour using Final Cut Pro X with Magic Bullet Looks.

With a background in computer science, and having been the previous Director of Photography at Lytro, Eric has a deep investment in the progression of both photography and technology. For his aerial work Eric experimented with an ordinary radio controlled drone and a simple GoPro Hero. The electronic gimbal (attachment) he created with a friend is what keeps every shot flawless, unaffected by the wind, and absolutely stunning.

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Aerial image of a whale shark (Rhincodon typus), Isla Mujeres, Mexico
©2012 Eric Cheng


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The S/Y Bella Principessa in Port Maurelle, Vava’u ©2012 Eric Cheng

If you’re interested in learning more about Eric Cheng and his incredible aerial photography, he’ll be hosting a webinar with our friends over at PhotoShelter tomorrow afternoon. In this webinar we’ll talk to Eric about this incredible alternative to the traditional aerial photography methods, his work both underwater and above ground, and what gear is involved.

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Join PhotoShelter and Eric Cheng on Wednesday Oct. 16th, 4pm ET to learn:

  • How Eric got into aerial photography
  • FAA rules and regulations you should watch out for
  • How to create your own drone videography on a low, medium or high budget
  • His plans for future projects


This blog has been re-posted with permission from PhotoShelter.