San Francisco-based food innovator JUST has a bold vision for the future of food. To highlight this, they flew more than 7,000 miles to film in a remote and challenging location that embodies their mission to help everyone, everywhere eat well. Watch the ad (powered by Freefly’s Alta-8) and learn more about JUST’s efforts to combat micronutrient deficiency in Liberia in this story from industry journal Food Dive, which ran Monday.
The concept for JUST’s ad was simple. They wanted to show the world a place where people live hard but joyful lives with an unparalleled sense of pride, purpose and community. Getting the shot wasn’t so simple. That place was West Point, one of the most crowded, chaotic areas in Monrovia, Liberia.
So JUST’s resident filmmaker enlisted a four-person crew who — with limited time, resources and on-the-ground knowledge — packed their bags and passports for an exhilarating and emotional adventure they’d never forget. The filmmaker told the team what they wanted to accomplish and discussed various ways to execute it. They eventually settled on using a drone that would deliver the camera into a camera operator’s hands who then finished the shot on the ground.
Enter Freefly’s Alta-8, a large eight-rotor drone — perfect for smooth, precise, and dynamic control of camera movement. One crew-member was a pro at operating remote controlled camera rigs in unpredictable conditions and this time he’d have to deal with the hot sun, sweeping crosswinds and dive-bombing birds of prey. Another crew-member operated the camera during the flight and a third was the reluctant drone “catcher” who carried the camera (with the drone still attached) for the final leg of the single, seamless and stunning shot. A fourth served as first assistant camera, managing the 40lb. drone-camera’s focus and aperture from the ground.
Everyone on the team had to be mindful of the sizeable crowds of locals, mostly throngs of excited children, who poured into narrow streets and passageways to gawk at the spectacle. Over the course of several days, JUST’s Liberian colleagues, local community leaders and police kept the peace and ensured that inhabitants of the bustling neighborhood could go about their daily routines with such unexpected visitors present.
The resident filmmaker directed the shoot and ensured the team got everything they needed – height (200 feet), distance (300 feet), performance, staging, etc. as well as editing, sound design and music. He spent an entire day recording natural sound at different heights or altitudes across Monrovia for this shot. In the end, the entire shoot took more than a dozen takes and a fraction of the crew and equipment that would have typically been necessary to pull off such a cinematic feat.