We were contacted by the leading Irish public school, St Columba’s College, after they saw our film for Yarm School. They were so impressed and were hoping we could promote their school in a similar way. We asked the client to film a walking tour of the site on their phone, paying particular attention to key features and any aerial hazards. This formed the basis of our recce and our shot list. We worked closely with the school to create a schedule for the right pupils to be in the right places at the right time.
There were many challenges to overcome prior to the shoot. Firstly, we needed to gain approval from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) a completely separate body to the UK CAA. They are particularly strict about who can operate in the republic and it was a rigorous process. Another challenge is how to get the batteries for the drone out to Ireland. Flights to Ireland these days are cheap, but carrying batteries on a flight with a small team is logistically challenging. Therefore, we decided to travel by ferry. We could also then drive in our crew van, and we could sleep on the ferry on the way out and the way back – so the vessel was more like our moving hotel! The final challenge – always the biggy – weather! We had to cancel one trip as the weather changed from full fat sun to rain practically overnight! Close cooperation was required with the air traffic control tower at Dublin Airport who proved to be incredibly cooperative and accommodating.
Filming around children is always an extra challenge. They must all be briefed and be under the pilot’s control if they are within 50m of the drone. They are also fascinated by it and have a habit of staring and pointing at the worst possible time. But good briefing in advance helped us overcome these challenges.
Having studied long range weather forecasts in great detail, permission from the IAA and ferry booked, we set off. Our client in Ireland was very organised and had prepared the pupils for all the shots we needed, to make full use of the day. He even had a handheld megaphone to direct from a distance – perfect! The weather was glorious. As everything was planned in such detail, all went very smoothly – from the early morning shot on their school golf course to music groups playing guitar on the lawns.
The success of this film was due to the detailed planning. The outcome exceeded our expectations. The choice of music was superb, and fitted perfectly – even having a gap in the sound when the golf ball was hit. The film went down a storm on social media with lovely comments from around the world. It’s had almost 9,000 views on YouTube.
St Columbas said “Top class quality. Excellent value for money. The response to the film and the reach of it have made it the best value-for-money marketing we have done. The video shows off our campus in a way no other medium can do, so we are maximising one of our biggest selling points in a way we have not done before.”