Seeking out new ways to fly is pretty commonplace for skydivers Jeff Provenzano and Amy Chmelecki. Still, their recent aerial dance pushed the borders of what is possible, both visually and physically. After Dark, their latest video release, combines choreographed flying, NYC-inspired lighting effects and an underlit wind tunnel.
We caught up with Provenzano on the eve of the release to get the inside scoop from the man himself. Here’s what he revealed about one of the most mind-bending clips we’ve ever seen.
What inspired the creation of this video?
I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. My creative background was most likely part of the inspiration of this video. NYC itself was also an inspiration. The night life, the city lights and the endless energy of the city was something I wanted to incorporate into a project for a long time. When iFly opened up its wind tunnel in Yonkers, it was the perfect opportunity for the NYC After Hours theme to come to life in a tunnel video.
You have over 17,000 jumps logged. What’s different about the wind tunnel?
You can enjoy the feeling of free fall without the risks of skydiving. In the tunnel, anyone can fly, and unlike skydiving where there is one minute to play before opening a parachute, the tunnel allows you to fly as long as you want.
Talk about the lighting you used on your suit and in the room.
The light on our suits are LED lights and our helmets were made with an electro-luminescent paint where the paint itself lights up when turned on. The lighting in the tunnel was mostly bottom lit, coming from under the net. Most of the other lights in the building were blacked out or turned off.
To your average viewer, the movements don’t seem too complicated. What does it take to control your body in a high-speed wind tunnel?
It might not seem too complicated, but it takes dedication to be able to fly like this – each position, movement, transition and trick. I have thousands of hours flying and I am still learning every time I fly.
You had Chmelecki join you in the wind tunnel. How well did you two mesh together?
Amy and I mesh perfectly in the air together. Beyond team-mates, we are best friends. We actually started skydiving together back in the day and been flying together ever since. Amy and I also train and fly on a regular basis at iFly facilities around the country.
Jumping out of plane strapped to a living room set, wingsuit flying over Manhattan and now this. What’s next?
What’s next? Well, I can’t tell you exactly because that would ruin the surprise. But I want to show the diversity of the sport that I am so passionate about. I have many ideas, some of them I’ve been dreaming about for a long time and, hopefully, one day I can share them all.