After a year in the making I was really pleased to get the Eiger Safety promo video signed off last Friday.
The making of this musical-short promo video
The brief for this promo video was very simple…. Create a 3-minute video, cut to music, that visually represents the range of services and products offered by Eiger Safety – which will be used as the opening audience-settler within sales presentations. That sounds easy enough on paper – as does most other promo video briefs – but there were a couple of unusual challenges with this job.
Firstly, the very nature of Eiger Safety’s work would mean that I’d have to film pretty much wherever they work. Whilst I’ve never knowingly suffered from vertigo I wasn’t absolutely sure how I would handle filming under these conditions. I knew it would be safe, but it was clear I’d have to film over the edge of some pretty impressive buildings and structures.
The second challenge was picking the right locations and activities that would accurately convey what Eiger Safety do. Whilst some of their work involves regular testing and certification of height-safety systems (such as window cleaning eye bolts, latchways, roof hand & guard rails and abseiling points), the really impressive stuff is usually one-off installations and annual inspections. This meant we were never going to be able to shoot this in one hit but rather spread the filming out to capture a typical year of Eiger Safety’s work.
Costing the Promo Video
Whilst we had a plan of around six sites and projects that Eiger Safety MD, Paul Jaffe, wanted to include he also knew there would be other projects that would come up over the year that he would just have to have captured on film. However, by the time we had it in the can we’d covered fourteen different locations, some of which were visited more than once.
Corporate and business-based films are never easy to cost but this one was almost impossible to give an accurate total cost from day one. To overcome this we agreed a daily filming rate along with an understanding that each filming day would increase post production time too. We also agreed a significant initial payment with interim invoices to be issued when needed. This worked for both of us – giving him control over the budget and keeping me in pocket whilst the project progressed.
Location, location, location
One thing I have learnt over the past year is that Eiger Safety get to see things from a very different point of view – literally. There are very few people who have access to the parts on buildings that they have to access in order to do the things they do. Sometimes they are working in places that have not been accessed for many years – sometimes since the building or structure was first constructed.
Whilst we are all at the mercy of the weather, when it came to filming this project we was more reliant on good conditions than others. There were some locations where we were prohibited to work if there was strong winds or icy conditions atop the structure. The wind conditions are especially important and as we all know these can change quite rapidly and are almost impossible to predict. This did result in a couple of abandoned filming days – in particular the footage shot on the Clifton Suspension Bridge. When we did actually get to film there we had a brilliant couple of days but still had to constantly check wind speeds to make sure we were operating within the bridge authority’s regulations.
Whilst Clifton Suspension Bridge was certainly the most dramatic location, some of the most spectacular views for me were those that the guys at Eiger Safety get to see almost every day. As the regular rope access company for many of London’s top hotels, office developments and structures, they get a view of our capital city like nobody else. There were some locations where I could have spent a whole lot more time just taking it all in.
Feet back on solid ground
With the short musical promo video now complete I’ll be turning my attention to a longer-form documentary version based around a studio interview I’ve filmed with Paul that will give the viewer a much better understanding of what they do and the requirements of those working on rope access. This wasn’t part of the original brief but I think it’s a story that needs to be told and maybe of interest to a much wider audience. I hope to get this out there in the next month.
But this is definitely not the end of my video work with Paul and the guys at Eiger Safety. There will be other must-have projects they’ll need filming in the coming years – and I’m also certain they’ll want alternate-edit versions of the video to match the needs of prospective clients. I’m also helping them to set up a new website with a blog and vlog to capture and share the more unusual views they experience. I’m sure this will be something that will get a good social network following from those interested in views from height.
So…. not the end – not even the beginning of the end – but perhaps the end of the beginning of my work for Eiger Safety. A big thanks to Paul and his main men, Illya (L) and Nasco (R), for putting up with me and my numerous retakes! Thanks chaps – it’s been a privilege working with you.