Have you seen our video on DEUS abseil and rescue devices yet? You may well have been impressed with the spectacular filming. Nicole Roth was at the shoot in Sweden. Our Product Marketing Manager has put together her experiences to give you a look behind the scenes.
Together with Myriam Probst, who is head of our Product Development team, I flew to Copenhagen one Monday afternoon. From there, we drove over the impressive Öresund Bridge to Malmö. We arrived with plenty of plans, as well as a kind of uncertainty as to whether or not we would actually be able to achieve everything. After all, it was only ten days since the first ideas had been brought up for our image video for our new DEUS devices. And the sales launch meeting was planned to take place in just two weeks. The video had to be ready by then.
We met up for supper with Niclas Persson, the Training Manager at our Swedish Vertical Rescue College who was to play the lead role in our video over the next few days. He had already been heavily involved in the preparations for the shoot. He had been in touch with a couple of old contacts to help find the best possible locations. It was impressive what Niclas had managed to sort out in just a few days. The list of possible filming locations included:
- The Quality Hotel in Malmö with views over the Öresund Bridge, newly opened this year;
- A military restricted zone somewhere in Sweden, which is used as a training ground for special forces, the armed forces and police;
- A fire training facility with the possibility of simulating rescue exercises involving real fire;
- A high ropes course
- And the highlight: the “Turning Torso” skyscraper, at 190 metres the highest building in Sweden and the second highest in Europe, offering the best views of Malmö, Copenhagen and the coastline.
So it was a great start, even though we were still waiting for permission to film in some places. In spite of the tight schedule, we were feeling optimistic.
1st day of filming: Meeting up with old friends
Our first day of filming began with wonderful sunshine and perfect weather conditions! We started at our offices and training centre in Löddeköpinge. Fredrik Nyberg, a member of the Swedish team of instructors at the Vertical Rescue College came out from Stockholm. He supported us over the next few days with his experience in the police and armed forces. Andreas was there too. He belongs to one of the Swedish special intervention units and brought his own equipment with him. So off we went to the Quality Hotel! We had permission to film there for a short time.
We met up with our film crew at the 18 storey building: Babak Asgari and his camera assistant and Ulf Preising, a drone pilot, had travelled out from Cologne. They are almost like old friends as we had already worked with Babssi Film in 2015 on the promotional film for our IGNITE SERIES.
We received a warm welcome at the Quality Hotel. Two people in charge at the hotel whisked us through the building and up to the roof without any further ado. We were impressed with the views over the Öresund Bridge, the Turning Torso building and Malmö itself and with the setting sun. Now all we had to do was move up a gear and prepare for the first descent. The trainers, Niklas and Fredrik were really in their element.
We wanted to simulate the deployment of a task force. Potential scenario: an attacker had barricaded himself inside the hotel and could not be overpowered from within. So all that remained to be done was launch a surprise attack through a window from the outside of the building. Special units are trained for these kinds of scenarios and can approach the target using the appropriate abseiling equipment. The SKYLOTEC DEUS 3300 is perfectly suited to this kind of use. The exercise was no problem at all for the experienced Andreas. However, the height was already quite a challenge for the entire team. It was difficult to coordinate the required close-up shots with the pictures taken by the drone. It took a bit of time before we had filmed all the takes. And by that time it was 10pm. But nobody grumbled and the teamwork was super slick.
Wonderful panoramic views, idyllic sunset
So the results are there to see: we had some great shots. The idyllic sunset and wonderful panoramic views made their own contribution to the takes. It took more than six hours, when you take into account all the preparations and setting up the equipment. But it really paid off! The first scene was finished.
You can see a couple of impressions from the first day of filming by clicking through the gallery or watching the video:
2nd day of filming: A ghost town is brought to life
The next day began with the best weather. Who would have thought it? Just the weekend before there had been really bad weather in Sweden but now it was all perfect for our filming. We set off early to the military restricted zone and were impressed that we were given access without any problem. We drove over bumpy tracks to our filming location for the morning – a training ground based on a recreated housing estate. There were plenty of buildings, wrecked cars and edges to discover, as you can see for yourselves:
Andreas, the special intervention unit expert was once again our main protagonist. This time he carried out a descent from a lower height building. This meant that we could get some close-ups of the DEUS and a bit of rope action, as we were able to film from several different perspectives. It took a while before we had filmed the scene. The time passed way too quickly but by the afternoon we were done.
A couple of snapshots from our time at the training ground:
Fire and smoke
On we went to the next filming location, a fire training facility. That was exciting! Using real fire and smoke, we simulated use of the DEUS 3300 by a fire department. We were able to use the entire facility and even a fire engine, which had been specially arranged. Niclas was in his element here as he used to be a fireman. So the role in our video suited him down to the ground. He abseiled down from the cage of the telescopic mast to a burning building and rescued a person trapped by the fire – complete with protective clothing and breathing apparatus. It was quite hard work for Niclas but did we hear any complaints? Not a word!
We filmed from many different perspectives and also filmed in the smoke-filled building. We wanted the atmosphere in the film to seem as genuine as possible. The other firemen on site were also super motivated. They helped us wherever they could, without even having to be asked. It was great teamwork! That’s how we managed to stick to the schedule in the hot weather.
So we had completed a full day of filming and already ticked off half the filming locations. But there was still a lot to come. After all, we still had to film the other two devices, the DEUS 3700 and DEUS 7300. If it didn’t work, we would have missed our target. After all, what would a DEUS film be if some essential elements were missing?
In the evening we had a drink to celebrate Myriam’s birthday. Afterwards, we went to bed exhausted, complete with sunburn and a smile on our faces.
3rd day of filming: Two worlds collide
The third day was a day full of contrasts: part of the day was spent at a high ropes course in the forest to demonstrate the use of the great DEUS 7300. This is used as a permanent abseiling device in the leisure industry. Also on the programme was the longed for descent of the Turning Torso in the late morning. We were excited about that. At the same time, we were a little uneasy when we thought about filming on the 190 metre high tower.
The operators of the high ropes course in the forest were very relaxed. We were able to set up a course and install the device. That takes a while of course, giving us time to find some volunteers to take part in the filming of that particular scene. A little later, I found myself in front of the camera as the main presenter: I was “allowed” to be part of the action and daringly allowed myself to fall in the device. It works brilliantly, I can only recommend it. Ulf took a couple of panoramic shots using the drone and Babak prepared for shooting the scene from various perspectives.
To get me right in front of the lens, our film director and his equipment also had to be taken up. Our MILAN abseiling and rescue equipment could be used as a lift, that was the easy part. But Babak hadn’t thought about how he was going to get back down. There was only one option. Just like me, he had to use the DEUS 7300. That caused a few problems for him but he had to go through with it. Niclas had to help Babak get through it….
We set off on the return journey and stopped off at the Löddeköpinge SKYLOTEC site again before the last leg. Madeleine, who coordinates our training programmes in Sweden, was waiting there with a little surprise for Myriam – another belated birthday cake.
Up to the 54th floor – and even higher
Well fortified, we went on to the Turning Torso. Over the past few days, we had constantly been catching sight of the building from the distance, as its size means you can see it from everywhere. But now, as we were standing right in front of it, it was even more impressive. The entire crew simply could not get over it. I can now say for sure that it was definitely the highlight of our filming trip.
Björn Svaerd, another VRC trainer, joined us and brought his son with him too. The entire team climbed up to the roof. Well, to be honest we took the lift up to the 54th floor. We were allowed to climb up to the highest roof level via a stairway, which is normally kept locked. Unfortunately the weather was mixed and put us to the test. The views were overwhelming, but the weather was suddenly freezing. Those few rays of sun in the adventure forest were washed away by the wind and rain at the skyscraper. But we managed to deal with that too. The main actor didn’t make it obvious at all but us girls were hiding in our thick jumpers.
Our plan was to start by filming a scene from above. In the film, two maintenance mechanics are preparing to carry out some repair work on the outside of the building. One of them climbs over the edge of the building. The breathtaking panorama had to provide the emotional highlight for our video. That was clear to us right from the start.
Main actor takes it to the limit
In the meantime, our trainers had decided not to make the full descent of the building using one length of rope. We therefore filmed it bit by bit so the scenes from the top of the building seem really short. Ulf, our drone pilot, also filmed everything from various perspectives of course and so he managed to capture the emotional content for the video. Then we went on to level 14. That’s where the actual descent was filmed from. I must admit that we did use a few tricks. The viewer later gets the impression that Niclas climbed down the full height of the building. And of course the DEUS would be capable of doing that. But that would have thrown our timetable out the window as we would have had to keep lowering down the 200 metre long rope.
Also, we couldn’t have expected our main character to do that. Niclas was already being pushed to his limits with his performance. The rest of the team also showed total commitment: all our colleagues who were responsible for carrying out partner checks, double backups and material tests were 100 percent on board. They weren’t at all put off by us or by the camera crew. They all knew that they couldn’t make any mistakes. For example, it would have been fatal if the emerging routine made up of individual manoeuvres had meant that an important knot was forgotten or there was a sudden lapse of concentration. Everyone was aware of that. I was impressed with the level of professionalism, even if this is absolutely vital for safety and is a matter of course for our team.
Expectations were high. In spite of this, we mastered the last big shoot with flying colours. Everyone was in high spirits and delighted to have successfully completed our work at the Turning Torso:
There was even a little time left over to catch the sunset at the port with the Öresund Bridge in the background. Back at the hotel, we said goodbye to Madeleine and Fredrik; the film crew was exhausted. However, Myriam, Niclas and I were still keen to go out in Malmö. We enjoyed the late summer’s day with a lovely meal outside. Of course we looked back over the past few days with all the highlights, big and small. After all, they were nothing like our normal working days. We concluded that everything had gone really well! On Monday we had hardly dared hope that that would be the case. And now we were looking forward to seeing our colleagues’ faces when they saw the results.
Day of departure: One last take
After four days in Malmö, our Swedish colleagues took us to the airport in Copenhagen the next day. The hour of departure was drawing closer. But Ulf couldn’t resist stopping off for one last shot filmed by the drone. His vision was to make the Öresund Bridge a recurring element in the video – by day, by sunset, by night. So Ulf needed a shot taken in the sunshine. Which is what he got, great! Because of the camera equipment, we went back to Cologne with excess luggage after a busy and exiting week. Everyone was completely wiped out after the hard work of the shoot but we were all satisfied. Now all that was left to do was wait for the first rough cut. And just a few days later it arrived.
And here is the result….
Haven’t seen the results yet? Watch the film now if you haven’t already, preferably with the sound:
If you would like to find out more about the variety of applications for which DEUS abseil and self-rescue equipment can be used, you can find plenty of additional information on our website. It’s worth taking a look!
The sales meeting: Presentation to colleagues
Of course we don’t want to deprive you of finding out how we presented the video to our colleagues. Two weeks after our Sweden trip, the video was ready – just in time for our Europe Sales Meeting. We chose a barn in a farmyard for the venue for our first presentation. Our Managing Director, Kai Rinklake, and our Sales Director, Alexander Merl, headed up our colleagues at the scene of the presentation.
Myriam had put a lot of thought into planning the evening in advance and her plan finally came together: the video was shown on a screen with the right soundtrack and then the curtain came down. The fog set in, a fire ignited and then it happened: from a mobile lifting platform, which was invisible to the audience, three figures wearing three new DEUS devices abseiled down. A fireman with a DEUS 3300, an industrial climber with the DEUS 3700 and an amateur sports climber with the DEUX 7300. Take a look for yourselves.
To conclude, we would once again like to thank the entire Swedish crew from the bottom of our hearts. Without them, we would not have had access to the variety of locations and the diverse abseiling actions would (certainly) not have been possible:
- Niclas Persson
- Fredrik Nyberg
- Björn Svaerd
- Madeleine Johansson and
- Andreas (special intervention unit) and Niclas (fireman)
And of course we also couldn’t have managed without our flexible and professional cameramen, Babak Asgari from Babssi Film & Media production and Ulf Preising for the aerial shots. Without them, we would not have been able to complete the project within such a tight time frame. Huge thanks to them!