Blimps are basically small helium-filled airships although there is some experimentation with cheaper hydrogen. They are typically have polyurethane envelopes, several motors and multi-channel radio-control electronics. Blimps are available in countless sizes and can be used for advertising as well as aerial photography in either a tethered or untethered mode. Some types are suitable only for indoor uses such as in conference or exhibition halls. Others are suitable for outdoor use in light wind conditions. They have the advantage of being able to operate at lower altitudes than helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft, particularly in built-up areas.
Radio-controlled (R/C) blimps can be used to position a camera with reasonable precision to obtain close-up shots with unusual perspective. However they are suitable for use only in calm weather conditions, and up to a height of about 1,000 feet subject to local air-traffic regulations and the range of the radio-control equipment. Craft of this type have good lifting capacity, obviously dependent upon volume, and are quite manoeuvrable in suitable conditions. Their operation is highly specialized and the required equipment is expensive.
Image by kind permission of Eagle Eye Photography.