SPY - SKY1

Spy is a sitcom about an unlikely spy working for the British government, which aired on Sky1. I had already shot the images for series one, and so when series two was being filmed they asked me to come up with some ideas for a publicity campaign.

I sketched out a range of ideas, and we settled on two looks, a set of character shots against a huge Union Flag, really pushing the MI6, Queen and Country, Spy vibe, and a crazily over the top, Mission: Impossible/James Bond inspired shot with Darren Boyd and Rebekah Staton dangling from a helicopter piloted by Robert Lindsay.

The Union Flag shots were straightforward to shoot.

The helicopter idea, however, involved a lot more planning and pre production. I worked up the original thumbnail sketch into a more readable visual, and also started planning how to actually shoot a series of people who are vertically stacked over a large distance.

It wasn't possible to shoot Robert actually in the helicopter, and for obvious reasons we couldn't dangle actors FROM the helicopter, so i worked out how we could shoot the various elements separately from different camera heights using a scaffolding tower for Darren and Rebekah, and combine them into one seamless image.

I then went to shoot the helicopter at an airfield south of London, and took care to record a LOT of measurements of both my position relative to the helicopter and also the dimensions of the helicopter, and the pilot's seat that Robert would be sitting in.

This meant that when we came to shoot the actors in the studio I weas able to build a simple replica of the seat out of plywood so that Robert would be in exactly the right position to drop into the helicopter, and the scaff tower meant that I could shoot Darren and Rebekah from and at the right angle to dangle them from the skid.

It was probably one of the most complex and exacting comp jobs I have done, but in the end it all came together beautifully.