MDW Live! Magazine UAE

Emirates’ Burj Khalifa stunt: Behind the scenes of the ‘top of the world’ ad shoot

At 828 metres above ground, this marks one of the highest ads ever filmed.

The Emirates ad that features a ‘cabin crew member’ in full uniform standing on the highest point of the Burj Khalifa was filmed without any green screen or special effects, the airline has confirmed.

With this ad, the featured stuntwoman — Nicole Smith-Ludvik, a professional skydiving instructor — has joined only a handful of individuals who have stood at the 828-metre pinnacle of the world’s tallest building.

Ohers on the elite list include Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; and Hollywood legend Tom Cruise.

The 30-second clip opens with a close-up of Nicole holding up message boards in a nod to the famous scene in the 2003 hit ‘Love Actually’. The camera zooms out to show that she is actually standing at the very top of the Burj Khalifa.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video:

The ad was the result of rigorous planning, training, testing and a strict safety protocol. At the pinnacle of the building, the main protagonist had a reduced circumference space of only 1.2 metres at 828 metres high to pull off the stunt.

“A casting call was put out to Emirates’ very own cabin crew team and while there were some willing and capable candidates, a professional skydiving instructor was cast to ensure the highest levels of safety,” the airline said.

Throughout filming and in preparation of the shoot, safety remained the main priority.

“A custom platform with an attached pole was built at the top for the protagonist to stand on. She was attached to the pole as well as two other different points directly to the pinnacle, through a hidden harness under the Emirates uniform.”

Filming started at sunrise to catch the golden hour light. The team began their ascent to the pinnacle before sunrise. The climb took 1 hour and 15 minutes from level 160 of the Burj Khalifa.

They had to scale several tiers and ladders inside a tube to reach the top. The team was at the pinnacle for around five hours. A single drone was used to capture the footage in a continuous take to film the complete sequence.

At 828 metres above ground, this marks one of the highest ads ever filmed and was conceptualised and directed by Emirates’ in-house brand team with the help of Prime Productions AMG, based in Dubai.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, said: “We always look to challenge the norm and push boundaries at Emirates. We do it every day through our innovative services, our best in class product and, of course, through our advertising. The calm and confidence of the cabin crew you see in the ad is an embodiment of our frontline team, serving travellers and ensuring their safety.

“We’re proud to be among a privileged few who have been allowed to film at the top of the Burj Khalifa by Emaar; and even prouder that we get to showcase our beautiful city, Dubai.

The ad will be adapted for several markets across the Emirates network, incorporating relevant messages for different audiences. The first TV campaign will run in the UK.

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