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Behind the Scenes: Photographing the Viral Domino’s JetPack Pizza Delivery at Glastonbury Festival

Published Aug 2, 2023

In case you somehow missed it, last month Domino’s Pizza blew up across social media for a PR stunt they pulled at the iconic Glastonbury festival.

The stunt saw a crowd of ‘festival goers’ going about their business, when suddenly a jetpack clad domino’s delivery driver dropped out of the sky to deliver a pizza right into their midst. The stunt was awesome, and incredibly effective, getting coverage from media outlets around the world, as well as superstars like Elton John who shared it on his socials.

We caught up with Morgan Cartlidge from Tin and Copper, the photographer who captured the stills from the day to hear first hand about what went on.

How did the day start?

We had quite an early start with the first location being at an actual Domino’s store in Glastonbury. We’d managed to get a travel lodge that was literally next door, but had arrived pretty late the night before so hadn’t had a chance to do a proper reccy. At about 7 in the morning, we went outside to eye up the shots and to do some walkthroughs with the Gravity Industry guys and the video team from Here, Now Films as well as the creative team from Jam Press and One Green Bean who were the master marketers behind the stunt. 

We were only going to get a couple of cracks at the shot and the jetpack could only be in there air for about a minute. So understanding exactly what was going to happen, where the jetpack was going to take off, fly to, and come back to was super important. We walked through that a number of times before getting ready to shoot the first flight.

Talk us through capturing the first flight scene.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous for the first shot. We were all bunged up with foam ear plugs as we were told the jetpack was incredibly loud up close, looking around hearing nothing but muffled sounds waiting for the jetpack to take off was a bit surreal. I’d asked the pilot to hover in front of the Domino’s branding outside their shop when he started but I only had a couple of seconds to nail that shot before having to scramble out the way to let the guys from Here, Now Films get their flying and landing video shots. The Domino’s shop was also right next door to a Subway and a Travelodge, so framing out their branding whilst lining up the perfect shot was a bit of a challenge. As we only had two flights here, there were a lot of moving parts at once. I had to make sure I stayed out of shot of the several film cameras set up and the drone in the air, obviously all whilst getting the all important image.

What was it like being up close and personal with the jetpack?

First off, they weren’t kidding. It was ear splittingly loud under there and secondly hotter than you can imagine. Sitting a few feet away from the pilot, waiting for him to take off, I couldn’t shake the image of my lens just melting as soon as he pointed the jets at me. Safe to say, it was super hot, but my camera and lens remained intact. As soon as he took off instinct took over. From the walkthroughs I knew exactly where he was going and positioned myself to get the shot.

What were you shooting on and why?

I shoot pretty much everything on a Canon R5. It’s an absolute beast of a camera and I’ve not found anything yet that it can’t handle. In this situation it was perfect for a bunch of reasons. It’s got a 45MP sensor so you can shoot a bit wider than you need and crop in if things go off-script. It’s also got a wicked autofocus with tracking that sticks like glue to whatever you set it on. For glass, I had on the Canon RF 24-70 f2.8, I find it to be almost as sharp as a prime but with so much more flexibility. I couldn’t really move around too much because of the other cameras so having that zoom to reframe and change composition with was a godsend.

What was the next scene?

After shooting the interior pizza handover shot and the first flying sequence, we hopped in the cars and made our way to the actual festival site. What we wanted here was a compression shot with the iconic pyramid stage in the background and the jetpack flying across the field in the foreground. That turned out to be a bit trickier than we’d hoped.

What was the issue and how did you sort it out?

We hadn’t had a chance to reccy the site before hand, but Doug, the creative director from Jam Press, knew exactly what kind of shot he was after. The hill we were on was quite a bit higher than the festival in the distance which posed a number of problems. We’d have to find the right spot for the jetpack to take off from for the pyramid stage to be visible in the background, the festival site to not be obscured by the tree line, the hill not too steep that the jetpack couldn’t take off, and not too low down that he couldn’t hover high enough to frame everything up. It took way longer than we’d planned to find the right spot but eventually it all came together!

How did that scene go?

Once he was up and flying the scene went great! I put on the Canon EF 70-200 F2.8 II to get some compression but I needed to be closer to the jetpack than the film team who were using an extender for their A cam. That meant that again I had to ask the pilot to hover so I could get the perfect compression shot with the stage in the background before literally running back behind the film cameras to get out of their shot. The pilot gave me 10 seconds. The first attempt didn’t turn out that well but fortunately we had another crack at it and it came out epic!

How did you make sure you nailed the shot with only 10 seconds to get it?

A couple of things. First, I shot it on aperture priority. A lot of pros put shooting manual all the time on a pedestal, and on the whole I think having total control of the image is best, but when you’re in a situation like this with moving clouds, sun poking through, changing background colours, and a moving subject that sometimes has you pointing at the sun and sometimes away from it, you simply don’t have the time to be messing around with settings. I knew I wanted a decently wide aperture to get good separation and other than that I let the R5 take over and do its thing. Secondly, I set the autofocus to a large square area in the centre of the frame. I knew that’s roughly where the jetpack was going to be but as he was moving all the time I couldn’t say for sure. Again, I put my faith in the R5 and it didn’t disappoint.

What was the last scene?

The final scene was the actual pizza delivery shot. We had about 10 tents and 20 models on hand to make the shot look like a buzzing festival. The only way to do it was to line the tents up in a column pointing towards the festival stages in the distance and shoot with a decent crop to frame out the empty fields at the side. I kept the 70-200 on and we put about half the tents further down the field to make it look like a proper camping area.

What was the turnaround for the photos like?

As with most PR stuff, they needed the photos pretty much as soon as I’d pressed the shutter. I’d been backing everything up to a portable SSD and my laptop throughout the day so almost everything was already imported into Lightroom by the time we finished the final scene. As soon as we were done I sat down in the boot of the car with the creative director to pick out the shots for editing and then got to work. I’ve got a few presets for PR style shoots like this that have a ton of pop and saturated colours. I started by applying that to all the final images and tweaking them from there. A couple needed retouching in photoshop, there were a few logos that needed to be removed and an insta 360 camera on the jetpack that needed to be edited out of the compression shots. Once that was done it was time to handover!

Favorite shot?

Weirdly enough my favourite shots aren’t the actual flying jetpack ones, although I think they did turn out pretty epic! My favourite is actually the shots of the jetpack pilot in full Domino’s delivery uniform posing outside the shop. I asked him to channel his inner 90s rap star and give me as much smug attitude as he could muster. I think they’re badass!

Final thoughts and tips for others?

All in all it was a wicked production to be a part of, I’ve done a lot of PR shoots where timings were tight and I only had one crack at the shot but nothing quite so high profile as this. I’d say that knowing exactly what is going to be happening when the action starts is absolutely paramount. Doing a heap of walkthroughs before the actual flights was a lifesaver and meant that I could anticipate the movements and line shots up rather than having to react on the cuff and risk missing the right moment.

Make sure to check out the film the guys from Here, Now Films put together from the day!

POSTED BY

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