We had the unique opportunity to produce the first series of aerial library shots at Eurotunnel’s UK site in Folkestone.
Published: November 2016
Eurotunnel is responsible for operating the 31.4 miles of train track connecting Great Britain with the Continent, commonly known as the Channel Tunnel. It opened in 1994 but until now they have never owned any aerial video or photography of the site.
This was a project that opened up many possibilities to create stunning aerial visuals of the site, but how do you turn that in to reality?
Our Producer toured the entire site for a location recce, a staggering 350 acres. That includes check-in facilities, terminal buildings, customs, the maintenance yard and the eight train platforms. Finally we visited the tunnel entrances and exits, an area known as ‘The Portal’.
It’s difficult to fully appreciate the vast scale of this transport operation from the ground, which is why our client was keen to get a birds eye view.
Aerial filming with drones has become increasingly popular in recent years. Fast establishing itself as a great way to obtain some breathtaking shots, that previously would have been unthinkable without the expense of hiring a helicopter.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Making sure both crew and the drone remained at a safe distance from the trains, tracks and power lines was crucial for our risk assessment. We identified safe take-off and landing sites for each filming location. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidelines dictate that commercial drone pilots are fully licensed. Our pilot holds a light aircraft license, which meant we could fly within 30 metres of members of the general public.
The recce was enabled us to produce a filming schedule for the production, planned around daylight hours and the position of the sun so we wouldn’t get the shadow of the drone in our shots.
On a crisp Autumn morning our crew arrived at the site. Our crew consisted of a Drone Pilot, a Director of Photography to operate the drone camera on a 360 degree gimbal, our Producer Director and a Camera Assistant. Filming with a 4K camera we shot in S-Log, a format that provides a ‘digital negative’. This gives us the most flexibility in post-production.
We also went off-site, up to the nearby Cheriton Hill, home of the Shepway White Horse. This enabled us to get a wider perspective of the whole Eurotunnel site. At the end of the day we backed up all the footage across hard drives and travelled back to our offices in Tunbridge Wells, ready to start post-production.
With the rushes loaded into our edit suite, the logging of shots can begin; identifying the best takes. Earlier this year we started editing and grading in DaVinci Resolve, a powerful editing package which coupled with the latest industry hardware means we produce the highest quality of work.
The video shots will be made available for broadcast programmes, so we chose a classic grade that’s too stylistic. This allows plenty of scope for future productions to grade the footage to match their own style. Filming in 4K enables us to produce a video library that is future-proofed for at least the next 5 to 10 years.