Air-to-Air Photography // Behind the Scenes
By: Taking Off
Have you ever wondered how the photographs of our fleet in flight are created? What about the video above? This type of imagery is known as air-to-air photography. Meet Pouya Dianat, the master mind behind our air-to-air footage and learn how he captures these mesmerizing moments.
1. How long have you been a photographer and when did you start capturing air-to-air photographs?
I’ve been a photographer for about a decade now working for various newspapers, magazines and clients along the way. When we started working with Delta, I knew this would be the best way to share the wonder of flight with our travelers. A lot of folks thought these images and footage were done in CGI (computer generated imagery), but this is very much a real photo shoot, requiring planning and coordination by a team of 20 people. From four pilots, two producers, two photographers, a cinematographer, a digital tech, air traffic control personnel, Boeing, Delta’s marketing team and myself as the director, all trying to figure out how to get a helicopter and a Learjet up in the air to document the new Boeing plane.
2. What’s your favorite aspect of capturing air-to-air photography?
I marvel at planes and flying – I still think it represents what human innovation is capable of doing. Aircraft floating through the skies never ceases to amaze me. Photographs of planes on the ground always have felt like grounded birds. I want to see them soaring in the air.
3. What’s the biggest challenge of capturing air-to-air photography?
There’s a lot of coordination and safety details involved in a shoot of this nature. Working with our aerial consultant/photographer counterpart, Mike Isler and the talented crew at Wolfe Air in Los Angeles. We had several meetings to run through our shot list. Each shot required that our pilots, the 737-900 pilots, the cinematographer, photographer and myself were ready to capture a shot with coordinated movements between the cameras and planes all at once.
4. What kind of aircraft are you typically in when you shoot this type of footage?
We used a Learjet and helicopter to capture the footage seen above. The still images were being captured by a robotic arm mounted on the wing and controlled from inside the plane by Mike. At the same time, we were also directing two periscopes mounted on the bottom and top of our Learjet. The movements of our plane, the Delta 737-900, and the still and video images all had to be coordinated in unison.
5. What’s your favorite part about working for Delta?
As a director, I love to see coordination happen at it’s finest. I like seeing different parts of a complex process come together seamlessly. Air-to-air shoots require the same coordination that Delta’s thousands of flights need.
Stay tuned for more air-to-air footage from Pouya!
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