Flying-Cam was established as a company offering aerial photography hardware to the broadcast and film sectors in 1988 but the concept behind its main product goes back to 1979.
Film student Emmanuel Prévinaire began development of an unmanned, remote controlled Close Range Aerial Camera system as part of his thesis while at the Directors Film School in Belgium. Prévinaire was able to combine his enthusiasm for filmmaking and flying - he flew gliders in his teens and gained his commercial pilot licence in 1979 - in his work on what became the Close Range Aerial Filming system produced by Flying-Cam.
The company's main product is the Flying-Cam 3.0 SARAH, an integrated camera system based on a miniature helicopter that is remotely controlled using proprietary Auto-Pilot CAP (computer assisted piloting) software. With a take-off weight of 25kg, it has a maximum payload of 8kg and a rotor diameter of 2.2 metres. Other features include an AHRS gyro-head (360°, +90°, -110°) and automatic horizon levelling technology. It is able to remain airborne for 30-minutes carrying a load of 5kg; battery recharge time is one hour and batteries can be changed in one minute. There is an all-weather option and the aircraft is claimed to be extremely resistant to wind. Other control software, in addition to the SARAH CAP, is SARAH CAT (computer assisted tele-operation). This is the graphic user interface that controls auto-pilot functions, including the gyro-head.
Prévinaire received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 1995 and in 2014 Flying-Cam was presented with a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.