What constitutes a day in the life of a Helios producer? Adventure!
To say the position of a Helios producer can take you to new heights is an understatement. Literally. In order to bring Jets and Giants fans a brand new kind of experience at MetLife Stadium, we’re taking fans on a virtual reality journey over Manhattan through the eyes of one of the world’s most beloved airships: the MetLife blimp.
Shooting from a blimp involves myriad considerations, for example, what equipment can be used with space for only four seats total and which setup allows us to get the best shots without needing to mount cameras? After a few conversations with the Airship team and additional quality assurance testing on our equipment, we were able to devise a virtual reality rig that satisfied the asks of the pilots, crew, and client.
Besides staying light and nimble with our crew and equipment, safety measures and flying regulations were top priority. The blimp’s flying elevation, flying speed, and permission from ground control to fly by airports and cover certain areas were subject to safety first, creativity second. And for good reason! With our stellar pilot’s 25 years experience, we felt as safe on that blimp as we would on a commercial plane. Nevertheless, since we could not plan for every scenario, we had to approach much of the shooting script with ad-hoc decision making – especially when it came to dealing with weather.
A slew of storms grounded our blimp for so many days that a second blimp was eventually commandeered to take its place out of concern we’d miss our last viable shoot date. Fate was on our side, however, and the results were absolutely breathtaking. Not only did the shoot itself lead to a truly awesome VR experience, but I can now say that I have seen Central Park in all its glory from one of the world’s coolest dirigibles. I will never forget the sight of the two airships riding side-by-side across New York and breathing in the stratospheric splendor of it all. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to putting on the Oculus and revisiting the journey first-hand — twists and turns and all.
Hooking up the cameras
Making sure camera position meets flight regulations
Filming take-off of “Snoopy 2”
“Snoopy 2” in flight
The wilds of New Jersey
Heading to NYC!
Coordinating shots between the two blimps
Senior Airship Captain Terry Dillard
Finally, MetLife Stadium
Our camera taking it all in