Things really get exciting for us when we can film in iconic locations. The ability to gain that elevated perspective of places which have been seen by millions, very much floats our boat.
Stripe Media got in touch as they were making a film to promote apprenticeships at Olympic Park. They required some ‘hero shots’, showing each of the chosen apprentices working in their realm, then jibbing up and out to show their location within the iconic park.
The project was commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which is responsible for the long-term development, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park and surrounding area after the London 2012 Games.
David Hogg of Horizon Imaging was on board again for this shoot, providing quality piloting skills.
Our first location on the day was the riverside, opposite the Aquatics Centre, and near to the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the UK’s tallest sculpture. We tracked our apprentice Paris, who is a landscape gardener, along the riverside grass banks which he maintains.
After shots around and past the Orbit, we headed into the Aquatics Centre, with its striking wave-shaped roof.
This was a challenging location, as the air was very warm and humid. Bringing the UAV in from the cold weather outside, we had to leave it into a warm but dry area in the building to allow it to acclimatise, without developing condensation on the camera lens, or more importantly, the flight controller circuitry.
Once this was achieved it was into the swimming area. Inside, flying in GPS mode is out of the question. Being surrounded by concrete and steel did not make the flight controller happy, and we had to recalibrate the compass several times. In addition, the humidity of the air can affect the stength of the 2.4GHz control signal, so we had to carry out a range test.
Our apprentice here was Tom, and we were to allow him to walk into frame as he surveys the pool, then jib forwards and up, to reveal the wider view of the space, but keeping Tom in frame. This took a few attempts, but director Paul was very happy with the result.
Whilst we were filming, Olympic diving legend Tom Daley was in the Media room doing interviews. We overran our shoot slot by 3 minutes, which cut into Tom’s training time. This gave me a chance to apologise / have a chat, and I’m pleased to say he was a really nice bloke.
After lunch, it was onto the stadium itself. The amount of work going on here was absolutely astounding – as many people know it’s soon to become West Ham’s new football stadium. A new roof is being installed in order to cover every seat in the house, which is no small job!
Here we performed upward reveals of the Stadium roof with the works going on inside, and also tracked round the stadium to show its context in London – the building staying centre frame while the London skyline changed in the background.
Our final shot involved three apprentices who work within the Stadium complex. It was to be another low-to-high reveal, but we tried to fit more action into the shot. We queued one of the digger drivers to drive across into shot as we tracked back.
Our first attempt flagged one of the classic problems of flying in construction sites – the dust which is kicked up by the propellers. Not to worry, help was close at hand, and one of the construction workers was happy to dampen down our flight path with an industrial hose which was conveniently parked nearby.
Following this it all came out really well, and was the last shot in the video.
As the light started to fade, it was off to the Stadium office to remove PPE, then pack down. A long and tiring day, but we were very pleased with the shots we managed to get of this amazing location.
The video can be seen below. It was premiered at the Mayor’s Office / London City Hall in March, during National Apprenticeships Week 2105.
Click below for the finished video.