Tag Archive | Filming in Moscow

Ice climbing World Championship in Moscow

On the 14-16 December Moscow welcomed the very best ice climbers across the lead and speed disciplines in 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Combined Championship. 

The competition took place within the Luzhniki stadium area, the home of the opening and closing matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

A crew from Quebec (Canada) came to film the last episode of their show “The Unknown Champions 2” for Channel 5  which show their audience the most fascinating world championships from all around the world. Our Producer/fixer Alyona Pimanova spent time with the crew to coordinate the shooting, translate interviews and arrange transportation.

During these 3 days we were following the Canadian athlete who was one of the competitors. We also got to know a Russian champion athlete from Tymen – Nikolay Kuzhovlev who won this competition. 

In spite of really chilly whether it is a fascinating sport which demands a huge amount of strength and total focus and the cold didn’t diminish the pleasure of meeting so many great sportspeople and see them compete.  

On a Sunday morning (perfect time without traffic and relaxed policemen) we grabbed some beauty shots of Moscow. We were really lucky to get some drone shots of the city and the river. Without a permit it’s not possible but sometimes you get 10-15 minutes before the security guys suddenly appear from nowhere and asks you to stop. Something we don’t advise but if the crew really want to give it a go then they can.

Wild Bears in Kamchatka and facing fears

The end of July is the time when brown bears start hunting fish in the Kurile lake and because of the abundance of food it is safe to get really close to them. The Kurile lake has the highest red salmon population in Asia. 

This time the Japanese crew wanted to film an episode for their TV show on Nippon TV with the very popular Japanese actress Imoto Ayako who was facing her fears. So we first flew to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy from Moscow and then took a helicopter to the wildlife reserve flying over mountains and volcanos. 

There is a house and tourist tents and people book space in this reserve almost a year in advance so we were really lucky that the administration agreed to squeeze our crew into their schedule.

To get closer to the area with bears, we went by speed boat accompanied with an armed and very serious inspector.  We had to move slowly and not get separated from the group, the wild bears are still wild bears after all 🙂  

It is really hard to express what you feel when you see a wild brown bear only in 10 meters away from you, such a mixture of danger and delight that you can only freeze and stare at the them for hours. But we had to get back to the helicopter and fly back to the city for other adventures. 

We met with a Koryak family who keep up old traditions but only on arrival we found that the place was created for tourists, and in order to find the real ones who live according to their old traditions we had to travel further to the North. This is sometimes the issue when working on a show without scouting the locations before the shoot. 

Back in Moscow the host learned some booty dancing and tried the traditional Russian meal “beef stroganoff” in black bread.  We also brought a very unusual hairdresser from Tyumen who cuts hair with an axe and makes an unforgettable show. After he demonstrated his skill on a young woman with long hair, the Japanese cameraman (who has quite long hair) was chosen by the crew to experience an axe hair cut. Accidentally he was really pleased with the result 🙂In Saint-Petersburg we met with two guys who help to overcome fears. Their team came up with using sharp knives, bed of nails, broken glass and a technique to overcome the fear of height.

We also took a roof tour and observed the city from high which is a very unusual experience in St. Petersburg, a cite with very few tall buildings. If you are ever in Saint-Petersburg in summer time it is absolutely recommended as the views are spectacular. 

Here is a backstage video about this filming trip. We want to thank everyone who helped us to organise it.

FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia for Saudi Airlines

In April a crew from Saudi Arabia came to Moscow to film Youtube videos about their journey building up to the FIFA World Cup in order to give their audience a taste of the city, visiting museums, restaurants and places of interest.

We started preparing months before their arrival. The hosts wanted to drive an old American car in the streets of Moscow so we needed to find such an unusual and very rare type of old car in Russia. We tried different options and after a while the choice was made on a 1989 Ford Crown Victoria that we had painted green and added vinyl graphics in Arabic for the show. 

The result was amazing and the car attracted lots of attention on the streets of Moscow and people could not avoid taking pictures of it. It became one of the heroes of the show in its own right.

During the first week of filming we filmed in the museum of surreal art and cosmonaut museum at VDNHa as well as saw a very unusual cat performance in the famous Cat’s theatre and got to see military tanks and jet fighters in Victory park.

We also had some staged scenes and hired a number of extras to play different characters. Alyona, our fixer/producer, played a referee during a football scene when the Arab hosts had a match with Russian footballers. Pavel, our assistant producer and our “baby driver”  played a brilliant role of a gangster. All our extras quickly got their nick names among the crew, such as “old babushka” and “an envelope guy” and became a real asset to this production.

We want to thank our very favourite producer from Lebanon, Mohammad, who is always pleasure to work with. 

We also recorded a podcast with him about filmmaking and production in Russia and other countries. You can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/user-139007163/ep-1-mohammad-saad

The second filming with the same crew from Saudi Arabia and 4 brilliant hosts (Instagram influencers) happened during the World Cup in June where they visited some games and soaked up the atmosphere of Russia during this event. 

 

 

Air Crash Investigation for National Geographic

Sometimes we are lucky enough to get to work on projects that we enjoy watching ourselves and which are our favorite shows that we never miss when they are on TV.

In this case “Air crash investigation” that we have already worked on before as last year we were asked to get access to the Russian investigation committee on a case that happened with the Russian plane. We hit a brick wall quite quickly as this was very recent crash and we could not get any of the Russian officials on board. The investigation was still in process and they could not give any comment until the investigation was complete and the accident report had been published.

This year we got involved in research of two air disasters for different episodes and so made contact with different Russian organisations including the Minister of Transportation, Aviation Committee and Minister of Emergency situations. We also conducted interviews on the phone with pilots who were telling us some incredible details about the cases we were working on and aviation in general.

It was fascinating learning what it’s like to be a pilot and some of the different technical features of aeroplanes meant we have some very interesting days of research. Although reading the crash reports and hearing firsthand accounts was a sobering reminder of the huge loss of life in these catastrophes.

For one of the cases that we were working on moved from research into production as we organised and filmed an interview.  This episode focused on the crash of the Sukhoi Superjet in Indonesia in 2012. It was a demonstration tour called “Welcome to Asia” in which the plane was showcased to the potential customers.

We were able to find a Russian journalist who was on this demonstration tour to report on how well the Sukhoi was being received throughout Asia. On this particular day in Indonesia, he didn’t take the second flight preferring to take photos of the plane taking off.  This was the flight that turned into disaster where his colleagues and other people on board were killed.

Alyona our producer conducted the interview with Aleksandr.

Interviewing is always hard work but it’s also the most interesting and exciting part of filming with people when you discover firsthand their personal stories and you start to feel very close to them.

We are very happy to work on the Russia parts of this show and have seen for ourselves the meticulous work that goes into the research.

Filming for the most popular Japanese TV show

In October we had a pleasure of working with a Japanese crew and 4 Japanese comedians who came to film an episode of their famous show “Let’s challenge the world” in Russia.  This is a  very popular travel show broadcasted by NTV Japan for 10 years reaching a viewing audience of 20 million people per episode.

The Japanese celebrities usually find for their show some really interesting and unusual activities that they can do in each country.

In Moscow they experienced Russian traditional dancing with Beryozka dance team and tried speed climbing with the Russian Olympic champion Anna Tsyganova.

They also wanted to meet with special people from the country who have unusual talents. So we brought to Moscow from his home by the Black Sea the shawarma chef who mixes martial arts with the preparation of shawarma in a show of knifes and a blur of actions as he moves so fast. We found and took over for a morning a great little café location for filming him.

We also contacted Sadvakasovs family and brought 10 year old speed boxer Evnika with her father to Moscow so we could film a part of the show about Evnika’s unique boxing skill. It was  really lovely to meet this young lady and to see her in action is incredible.

For the final day of filming we organised a photoshoot with Stepan, a Russian bear who is known as a very friendly and gentle bear which is very hard to believe when you first see this huge frightening animal. We found a great forest location on the outskirts of Moscow which was perfect for the shoot.

We were all so excited to meet this lovely bear that after the filming was wrapped we all took selfies with him.

You can watch behind the scenes video HERE 

This shoot was hard work but also great fun and we love challenges like these, working under pressure when you need to find a solution whatever the cost.

 

Filming Empire Builders in Russia

We have just finished another project with London based production company Pilot. We headed to Saint-Petersburg on Easter Day for the new TV series “Empire Builders” which looks into the achievements of mighty Empires through its iconic buildings.

Not only is this our third project with the same production company, but also with British cameraman Nigel Kinnings. We have already shot Tough Trains and Ottomans Vs Christians together and shared some adventures.

This time in Saint-Petersburg we filmed two of the most magnificent buildings, the Winter Palace and the Catherine Palace. Then we headed to Moscow where we filmed St. Basils Cathedral and The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

In Saint-Petersburg we interviewed art historian and Professor Aleksey Lepork who was a real pleasure to work with. He has so much useful knowledge and a good understating of film processes which is a great help.

We filmed in The Winter Palace on a Monday which is when the museum is closed to the public. This gave us a very unique opportunity to use the space without the rush of tourists. We had this experience last summer when filming “Ottomans Vs Christians”, trying to capture the atmosphere of these majestic rooms with crowds of tourists passing through is hard work. Keeping them back to get a shot is often impossible, so to shoot there when it is just the crew, a few members of staff and some cleaners is a pleasure like no other. It’s a strange feeling to walk through these sumptuous imperial hallways alone, you can almost capture the emotion of what it must have been like when they were the homes of the Russian Emperors.

Our favourite team member in Saint-Petersburg Igor assisted us with moving equipment because in the Hermitage/Winter Palace they don’t let crews use their trolleys. The space is so vast to move from one room to another with a lot of equipment it can be very challenging. So having another good pair of hands made it really quick and convenient.

4 hours by Sapsan train brought us back to Moscow quick and easy to shoot the Cathedrals, then a morning of B Roll of the Kremlin and the cameraman and director were on a flight back to the UK.

Music Videos to Promote Lenovo

September and October we worked on a project for Lenovo. We filmed two videos for YouTube to promote their new #Goodweird products.

One video was a music clip for EeOneguy – Russian vlogger with over 4 million subscribers to his channel. Having a dream to make a really cool music video, he wrote the lyrics to the music composed by our American colleagues.

It was decided that it will be represented in the style of a K-pop music video, so we used lots of cool and weird costumes and make up with the help of our costumer and make-up stylist. We also found a great choreographer and dancers to help bring the video to life.

Lenovo GoodWeird 3 Munro Productions

We filmed in some really exciting locations for the various scenes in the clip: in a sauna and the famous Bunker 42 at Taganskaya. The Bunker is now a museum of the cold war which is 65 meters deep underground.

The second video was an international video of a “dance off” between 3 vloggers and was shoot in America, India and Russia. In Russia we filmed the dancing scene on the Central square of VDNH – The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy. It is one of the most popular public places in the Russian capital and represents many different elements of Russia with its famous buildings.

Lenovo GoodWeird 4 Munro Productions

The dance was a mixture of 3 different cultures, so we had the Russian gymnasts and guys in bear outfits as well as big Russian beardy men in American cheerleading costumes and our dancers in Indian sarees. Although it was snowing a lot on the day we shot at VDNH, it was really fun and our Green Truck was a busy but warm place to escape the cold.

Lenovo GoodWeird 5 Munro Productions

There was a lot of equipment and crew involved in the filming of these two clips which we supplied, including: cameras, Steadicam, crane, lighting and sound. Editing was made in California by our American colleagues.

Lenovo GoodWeird 1 Munro Productions