Seraph Production: 2010 Highlights and Insights

2010 was certainly an eventful year for us: Jumping from a height into an orange foam pit in Dubai Mall, dodging Sheikhs’ parachutes in Dubai Marina, being broadcast on a 100 metre screen at the Meydan launch.

Jumping from a height into an orange foam pit in Dubai Mall, dodging Sheikhs’ parachutes in Dubai Marina, being broadcast on a 100 metre screen at the Meydan launch… 2010 was certainly an eventful year for us. As we enter 2011 we look back.

2010 was our busiest year ever with a number of new clients coming onboard including Samsung, Reckitt Benckiser, The Al Fajer Group, Emirates Cement, Nestle and the Al Habtoor Group.

We also cemented our ongoing relationship with AVP by moving our edit suite into their state of the art post production facility in TECOM. Having editors, animators and a sound studio on our doorstep has allowed us to expand and take on more projects.

And then there is Charlotte, our fantastic production manager, who came onboard in April. I am not sure how we ever managed without her!

We worked with a couple of Dubai’s best loved personalities last year, which was a real pleasure.

In April we produced a “Day in the Life” style documentary about Khalaf Al Habtoor for the Al Habtoor Group’s 40th anniversary.

Read the full story here

See the film here

Another highlight was working with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher Al Maktoum, Group President of the Al Fajer Group, producing a promotional film for Al Fajer Properties. We don’t normally work directly with the big boss, but Sheikh Maktoum was very hands on and wanted to be personally involved in the film making process.  It’s always great when clients are enthusiastic and have ideas to contribute.  Such a team effort often results in a better film.

There were a few surprises during the production process which spanned a few months.

We advise clients not to film outside during the summer as it is tough filming in 45 degrees and the sky is often grey and hazy during the summer months, not exactly what you want to see in a glossy promotional film!  We sometimes don’t have an option though.  Can you believe that we filmed for Al Fajer Properties on a beautiful clear July day when the sky was deep blue?  Neither could we!

Unfortunately the same good fortune can’t be attributed to our aerial shoot in September which was a case of third time lucky.

Day 1 we got off to a good start with clear visibility and a blue sky, and then we were merrily filming the Burj Khalifa on the way down to Jumeirah Lakes Towers when air traffic control suddenly told us to turn back.  Even though we had clearance for our shoot one of the Dubai Royal Family had decided to do a parachute jump and the air space had been closed to accommodate them!

The shoot was rescheduled and Day 2 arrived.  Jumping out of bed at 0600 and raring to go I peered behind the curtain only to see a thick blanket of yucky Dubai fog.  Ever the optimist I headed to the airport all the same. It was going to clear, yes it was!  But traffic control did not agree. The visibility was so poor we were not even allowed to take off.  Oops.

Day 3 arrived with good weather and more news of sheikhs and parachutes. Ahhhh. Fortunately our pilot, Andreas, managed to work some magic with air traffic control and we finally made it to Jumeirah Lake Towers for our shoot.  Mind you, we did have to avoid a few parachutes in Dubai Marina!

I think just 3 aerial shots went into the final film. That’s how it goes with filming.  You put in a huge amount of effort for just a few seconds of on-screen footage.

Check out the film here

Perhaps the wackiest job we did last year was producing a documentary about the “Making of” a TV commercial for Rani Float.  The commercial involved bikers, jumpers and boarders throwing themselves off the first floor of Dubai Mall via a ramp into a specially constructed orange foam pit on the ground floor. What a lot of fun that was!

The crew and cast were among the largest Dubai has ever seen and the commercial had to be shot overnight when Dubai Mall was closed to the public. It was directed by the Hollywood based Bandito Brothers and was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II.  

It was interesting to be part of such a large shoot and to chat to the Bandito Brothers about their take on the latest filming techniques.

Check out the commercial here

Check out our “Making of” documentary here

Finally, on the underwater side, we have been busy too.

In January we filmed a reconstruction of a pearl diving expedition which was one of a series of films played on a 100 metre screen at the official Meydan launch.

The filming involved a surface shoot, using a traditional dhow and local Emirati actors in costume, and an underwater shoot in Khor Fakkan.

Being the middle of winter the water was freezing and I felt so sorry for the pearl diver who wasn’t wearing a thick wetsuit like me and had to free dive up and down for multiple takes while I sat comfortably on the bottom with my scuba tank.  He did an amazing job!

Another underwater highlight was a shoot in Atlantis Aquarium.  This involved a point of view swim through the Lost Chambers, used to introduce a documentary broadcast on France 3 about how French expats fared during the economic crisis.

Unlike Dubai Aquarium at Dubai Mall (which we know well) the tank is open air and the sunlight streams in, making it a very pleasurable dive indeed.   It is really lovely to get close to so many different species that you would be hard pushed to see in the wild.  There was a very large shoal of eagle rays, for example, that kept swimming back and forth and I had to dodge each time! The fish become somewhat tame in the tank.  One little boxfish just would not leave me alone. He kept banging into my mask, he was so curious!  My buddy had to shoo him away as he was messing up my shot!  Oh, the joys of filming underwater.

To find out more about shark dive packages at Atlantis click here

On that note, we’d like to wish all our clients and partners a very Happy New Year!

We’re looking forward to many more interesting corporate, documentary and underwater projects this year.   Do get in touch if we can help with yours!

Jana