Cabin crew are used to high places, but this is ridiculous.
A recently released Emirates ad (below) appears to show a flight attendant at the very top of Dubai’s 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building — before flying a drone all the way up to capture the extraordinary spectacle.
And just to be clear, when we say “the very top,” we’re not talking about the viewing deck open to paying customers that isn’t even particularly close to the skyscraper’s highest point. We’re talking about the very top. The tip. The tip of the top.
The ad highlights the U.K.’s decision to relax coronavirus-related travel rules with the United Arab Emirates.
Emirates said that although a casting call to its cabin crew resulted in a number of eager responses, the ad’s producers ended up going with Nicole Smith-Ludvik, a professional skydiving instructor.
Prior to taking up her position at the top of the enormous structure, Smith-Ludvik underwent rigorous training to ensure that all of the necessary safety harnesses (concealed, of course) would be firmly fixed in place during her elevated adventure. No, not even Tom Cruise went out without a safety kit when he performed the same stunt during filming of Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol in 2011.
Once in position, a drone was flown all the way up to meet Smith-Ludvik, recording a close-up of her face before pulling away to reveal her true, rather terrifying location. While a helicopter also could have been used to film the shot, you could never have flown that close to the actor without whipping up a disruptive wind, while a telephoto lens would’ve ruined the natural-looking scene captured at the start that offers no clue as to her extraordinary location.
Afterwards, the skydiver said the experience was “without a doubt, one of the most amazing and exciting stunts I’ve ever done.”
Responding to those questioning whether the footage was real, Emirates said, “The ad was filmed without any green screen or special effects and was the result of rigorous planning, training, testing, and a strict safety protocol.”
Another video released by Emirates shows some behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot.
The climb to the top from Burj Khalifa’s 160th level took 75 minutes, with the team having to scale several tiers and ladders inside a tube to reach the highest point.
“A single drone was used to capture the footage in a continuous take to film the complete sequence,” the company said, adding that at 828 meters above the ground, this must surely be one of the highest ads ever filmed.
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