This summer, I was commissioned to capture some unique aerial video and images by Bath based architect Nicholas Stubbs for his new venture ‘AQ-Y’.
AQ-Y is a public attraction for the City of Bath, currently at the proposal stage. In essence it’s a revolving glass observation pod which rises to a height of 65m to provide stunning views over Bath and its surroundings.
Having worked as an architect in Bath for over 25 years I well understand the sensitivities of this World Heritage city. Although brilliant, I could not see the London Eye working here, so I wanted to develop something that would offer a similar breath-taking aerial experience, but in a way which was both elegant and unobtrusive. AQ-Y will lift people high enough to enjoy and interpret the city from above, but will be low profile enough to preserve Bath’s traditional views, as AQ-Y’s resting position is down and so doesn’t interrupt the city skyline. It’s also a dynamic work of art in its own right; the future celebrating the past of this wonderful, beautifully innovative city.
Capturing the vision
The nature of the attraction perfectly lends itself to aerial filming, made possible by using advanced multirotor technology. The aim was to elegantly display the views the glass pod will give to its passengers through high definition video and digital photographs.
In order to capture the right shots, there were a number of challenges to overcome. Firstly we needed to obtain permission from the Bath Film Office to perform a series of aerial flights in the centre of Bath, a sensitive area. In order to do this safely, risks were identified during planning and mitigated against accordingly. Due to the weather, we had to reschedule on a number of occasions – the film office staff were extremely helpful and patient.
Secondly we required perfect weather conditions; the city to be bathed in sunlight and calm winds to allow intricate remotely piloted aircraft manoeuvres. The weather is always a challenge for this type of work in this country, but over time, we found appropriate time windows which enabled the resulting assets to be obtained successfully.
Lastly, we had to turn the vision of how the attraction would frame views for onboard passengers into reality. This meant using live telemetry information to ensure accurate altitudes and points along the structure’s flight path, along with live video downlink monitoring to perfectly frame the shots.
Client feedback on this project
For AQ-Y, Jamie’s aerial footage provided the magic ingredient. Lifting up and sweeping over the rooftops gave our promotional film the essential story that Bath has superb treasure in the air and AQ-Y will bring it to life. As Jamie says, the weather hampered us for two and a half weeks, so, with the deadline fast approaching, we grabbed the chance when it finally came and the results are breath taking. — Nicholas Stubbs
Selling the idea
The aerial shots form a crucial part of the project’s promotional film, enabling it to capture people’s imagination and ultimately gain support for the project.
Here is the final film…
More information: aq-y.com
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