ROMA AIRPORT RUNWAY RESURFACING PROJECT
Some jobs are just special right from the word go. From the first conversation with the client you know it’s going to be epic.
Like when a client calls and says: “….so, this runway in a rural Queensland town is getting resurfaced over 30 days or so but all the work has to be done at night and every morning each night’s work has to seamlessly blend with the existing runway so that the airport can re-open and the runway can operate as per normal each day.
So every night we have to scrape off the top layer of a section, flatten it, seal all the cracks, resurface it, roll it smooth, re paint all line markings and then clear the area of all equipment and debris so the first plane of the day can land. Now we need a film that can capture every stage of the process, filmed at night and feature airport operations during the day and be around the 2 minute mark. What do you think….”
What do I think? I think that sounds epic.
WELCOME TO THE ROMA AIRPORT RESURFACING PROJECT
Client: Cross Copywriting representing both Fulton Hogan and Maranoa Regional Council
Brief: Create an approx. 2 min film showing all aspects of the resurfacing work and the importance of the airport to the regional community.
End use: General marketing material and historical record.
Required: Two trips out to the rural hub of Roma, three-night shifts and two-day shifts (the longest being 18 hours straight), two staff, nine separate cameras including three go pros, 280gb of B-roll footage and 21,000 still frames for time-lapse segments.
Every job presents particular challenges to overcome. The Roma project was particularly interesting. Not only were there the “normal” safety issues of working around some seriously large plant and equipment in constant motion but also the added risks of working around them at night and the technical difficulties of filming and photographing fast moving objects in low light.
During the day our set pieces were relaxed as were shown round the airport by airport manager Ben Stewart and his friendly team. Taking time to work out angles and stage our shots.
The night time job was a completely different story. The Fulton Hogan team were working to incredibly tight deadlines and it was made very politely and equally firmly clear from the start that nothing could be done to interrupt or hold up any work as everyone had a great big clock in their heads counting down the time to the first aircraft coming in to land in the morning…. An operational deadline that could not be held up for anyone.
The answer? Bring loads of cameras and set them up running all round the works area so that at any one time we are filming two or three b-roll pieces, having Go-pros rigged on vehicles capturing driver-eye views of the evening while another three cameras work on static and slider based time-lapse pieces… then throughout the night we run around breaking down and resetting everything for the next set of shots.
For us it was a non-stop, slightly manic job with little down time as the Fulton Hogan team professionally, systematically and efficiently smashed through their work.
But despite all the cameras and gear we had with us, our greatest asset for the job was simply the people we were working with. Namely Philippa Cross of Cross Copywriting whose agency was the central point of contact for managing and matching our work to the desires and needs of the two end clients, Fulton Hogan and Maranoa Regional Council, and of course the attitude of the men and women of the Fulton Hogan and Roma Airport teams.
Yes they were extremely busy and under a great deal of pressure but every one of them was also as helpful as they could be. Ready to assist whenever we needed it and incredibly welcoming to the point that even though we were the interlopers dropping in and buzzing around like annoying mosquitos at a barbeque they instantly made us feel like an integral part of their team. Making a hectic job that much easier.
This job was amazing and memorable in so many ways. Being Brisbane based commercial photographers it’s good to get out and about in regional Queensland. Watching the way the FH team worked liked a well-oiled machine. The incredible logistical challenges of the job for everyone involved and the resulting piece of film that we achieved.
But for me the greatest memories that I take away from this job are the working relationships forged over the project and the wonderfully warm, cohesive team spirit that was shown across the board from everyone involved. Those more than anything else made this job simply epic.