It is ironic that in 1998, we would document with time-lapse the building of a Fairchild-Donier aircraft when, Sherman Mills Fairchild got his start in the aviation industry by designing his own aerial cameras. His outstanding contributions to the aviation industry began after WW1 with the development of a remarkable between-the-lens shutter aerial camera. It later became the standard for the army and navy and was the true beginning of the aerial mapping industry when he formed Fairchild Aerial surveys. He soon realized that his biplanes are inadequate for accurate mapping and forms Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing corporation to develop a better plane. Over the next 50 years his contributions to aeronautics and astronautics through his various companies include everything from, midget submarines, jet powered helicopters, missile jet engines, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine missiles to meteoroid detection satellites for NASA and cameras that provide the first precise photography of the moon's surface on the Apollo missions.
In 1996 Fairchild Aerospace acquired Donrnier Luftfahrt GmbH to form Fairchild Dornier. The Fairchild-Dornier 328JET is a commuter airliner based upon the turboprop-powered Dornier 328. A market survey of 50 regional airlines worldwide was launched which confirmed their customer driven preference for jet equipment. Armed with this information, Fairchild launched the 328JET in February 1997. The 328JET is a jet-engined development of the Dornier 328 turboprop. While the Dornier 328 turboprop and the Fairchild-Dornier 328Jet share the same cabin layout, the 328Jet is equipped with two P&s;W 306B turbofan engines. Used as a regional aircraft, the 328Jet can fly 32-34 passengers up to 1000 miles.
Beginning in September of 1998, TimeFilx documented one 328Jet's progress from a bare fuselage through the complete build at the Fairchild Dornier Airplane factory in Munich, Germany. It was a challenging project that meant flying to Muinch at least once a month to move the camera to its next location and shoot and ground footage (short-time time-lapse) while there....and hope that someone did not move the camera before we could get back.
The language barrier made for some potentially disastrous mistakes when the workers thought the camera was set up to spy on them. They turned the camera away from the plane which essentially set us back one month. Fortunately, there was another plane in the assembly line and we were able to pick up the footage, something that would not be possible on construction of a building.
Another potential problem was shooting inside the paint booth. Not only could overspray ruin our camera equipment, but because paint is highly flammable, any spark from static could, in theory, cause a large explosion endangering everyone involved.
Solving issues like these and getting the job done are what makes us experts. No time-lapse job is the same and each carries it's own set of problems. We learn from every project and that experience gives us better judgement on how to work out the next set of problems on your job.