‘The City of Possible’

We recently finished a ten day commercial shoot for Dubai Tourism.


This project conceived by BBDO with production by Radical Media and on location servicing by New Blood Films.


The Director was Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Mirror Mirror, Selfless etc) and the DOP was Colin Watkinson. A really great team to work with!


Burj Khalifa Twilight


We took 130 Kg of equipment in 10 bags – why so much ? – because you never really know what you are going to face on jobs like this.



The Director can change his mind at a moments notice and present you with the need for equipment you might have left behind so we take the whole range.



It was a real privilege for us to plug-in to this production as the time/hyperlapse unit and we had the chance to shoot from some great locations in and around Dubai.

Tarsem is a very visual Director and had clear ideas of the sort of work he wanted us to produce. He was very keen on us using long hyperlapse moves to spin the Dubai architecture around.

This proved to be a bit of a challenge as there are very few buildings in Dubai where you can easily move all around them. Of course the ultimate building to rotate is the Burj Khalifa, and after some location research we worked out two ways to achieve this shot from different distances and with completely different techniques and end effects. I believe this may be the first time the Burj Khalifa has been hyperlapsed as a rotation in this way so we are hoping that one of the versions will make it into the final edit.


We used hyperzoom to start the day to night transition of the Burj Khalifa looking down on the footbridge across the pool in 4k and seamlessly zooming back into the fisheye transition into night. Thanks to Promote Control . You can see some still frame grabs from the sequence below.







We also shot in the desert where the brief was to catch the sun setting and carry-on into the starry night.


geoff in desert     geoff and liz in desert



Even though we were way out in the desert the night scene was still subject to light pollution from several sources over the horizon. The scene also clouded over as the night proceeded.







On a different day we were doing a reverse hyperlapse starting inside Jumerah Mosque looking vertically up into the chandelier than proceeding backwards across the interior of the mosque, out through the front door down the steps and across the road to reveal the whole Mosque from outside.


The move was nearly bought to a halt by a felled tree which dropped in the wrong direction and landed about two feet away from me as I was proceeding backwards.

jumeira mosque tree felling


Working on a big budget project like this can involve a bit of waiting around as the guys behind the scenes try to get all the needed permissions in place. Often we could use this extra time for post production of HD dailies for Tarsem and Colin. Final delivery on this job was 4k 4.4.4 prores and we managed to get 90% completed whilst still on location. I only had a few bits of extra stabilization and the hyperzoom pullback from the Bridge in front of the Burj Khalifa (see above) to finish when we got back.

geoff waiting in set


This huge project –  80+ on-location staff , Helicopters, Sky Divers, Underwater team, Drone Team, Actors, Wardrobe etc etc and of course the Timelapse Team  – resulted in over 40 hours of footage that will eventually be edited down to a 90 second advert.


I don’t envy the editors job.