At the closing ceremony of every WorldSkills competition a video is broadcast to give the competitors, family members and delegates a taste of what to expect two years later. It's a tricky video to produce. On the one hand your audience is tired, by this stage in the closing ceremony they have sat through several hours of medal ceremonies, but on the other they have considerable expectations. Everyone is on a high at the end of the competition, there is anticipation of the farewell party that is about to start and there is a sense of excitement about what will follow in two years.
So it was with some nervousness that I embarked on producing the video for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi. It was not the easiest of tasks. The timeframe was short (I only joined WSAD in mid-July), we were putting the video together from scratch during Ramadan (when office hours are shortened) and it was the height of the summer (when most sensible people are away to avoid the 45-50ºC temperatures of the Gulf). After a lot of calls, some lucky breaks and the considerable support of two government entities we managed to secure some outstanding footage.
With the video we wanted to provide much more than a tourist video - yes, viewers should have a sense of what the emirate looks like and what they can expect when they come to Abu Dhabi in 2017 (or before!). But I also wanted to open people's eyes to the importance of heritage in the national narrative; to the world class events that are held in Abu Dhabi (such as the Grand Prix); to the dynamism of the economy here, as well as the place that economic diversification and skills development have in the government's strategy. These are embodied in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and in the UAE Vision 2021.
All of that in a fun manner in less than two minutes (the requirement of the closing ceremony organisers).
Of course to do this successfully we needed strong, engaging visual material. The most notable footage is the time lapses that you see throughout the video. These were shot by a spectacular talent: Beno Saradzic an Emmy-nominated time lapse cinematographer, photographer and visual artist who is based in the UAE. His film Abu Dhabi: The Capital, which was commissioned by the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, is an excellent piece of filmmaking that is well worth a watch.
Time lapse is a mainstay of the corporate video and often seems hackneyed, but in the hands of a creative genius like Beno familiar vistas are surprising. His cityscapes are full of life and his industrial footage was particularly useful for the video that we were trying to produce.
If like me you are something of a geek when it comes to all things visual do check out Beno's description of how he produced timelapses for the BBC series "Wild Arabia".
In addition to the footage from the Executive Council other strong material was obtained from our national skills organisation, EmiratesSkills, as well as the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and the production house which edited the video, Navigation Films.
Finally, huge credit must go to Mobeen Akhtar from Navigation who edited the video - he has a great eye and managed to produce visual drama from the disparate footage we had. He was also a pleasure to work with!
Tell me what you think about the WorldSkills Abu Dhabi video.
Did we tell the story well?
What did we miss?
And what would you like to see in future videos?
P.S. The cover photo for this website was taken by Beno Saradzic and is titled "Burj" or tower (the most prominent building in the picture is the 'Burj Mohamed Bin Rashid', Abu Dhabi's tallest skyscraper).