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Kayak | Trigger Happy | Bjorn Charpentier


In June 2015 we headed to the Isle of Skye for a shoot with international travel Search Engine Company KAYAK and German Production Company Trigger Happy.

The advert – shot for European TV – was for KAYAK’s newest app, and required a four-day shoot with a fantastic cast and crew on the island, as well as an accompanying advertising stills shoot. Skye is fast becoming our second home as we’ve shot around 10 projects there this year alone. 

So how did we manage the location? The Quiraing is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), which means there are extra considerations when filming there. Knowing the area so well definitely gives us a wee production advantage. We worked closely with Senior Agricultural Officers from the Government and with Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure that all filming was inline with the guidelines set out and that everyone was happy.

There are a number of sensitive habitats and so extra location management was required to monitor the volume of sheep and crew, being careful not to disturb the ground too much or have too many animals, people or equipment concentrated to one area.

Who worked on the project? The DOP was Bjorn Charpentier, an immensely talented cinematographer who has worked on commercials for clients including Samsonite, Nike and Coca Cola. He won two awards at the 2015 Cannes Lions; the Gold Lion in Film Craft for Best Cinematography and the Grand Prix for Film/Television.

On KAYAK, Bjorn shot primarily with a RED Dragon, with steadicam and drones used for the more general sweeping, aerial shots (N.B. we had to keep all drones within 1km of the Quiraing car park so as not to disturb the eagles!) It was a pleasure to work with Bjorn and his team!

“You were the rock that everything else was built on.”

Mark Ash

First Assistant Director

What did we need to get? For this particular job we sourced a lot of sheep, spending time studying farming patterns and finding the best kind for the job (80 cheviot sheep, 1 black sheep and a goat, just FYI…). We dressed them in costumes and let them “run wild” on the slopes of the Quirang (with experienced animal handlers present, of course).

As well as sheep casting we helped with real people casting, too. Street castings were held in Skye and Inverness, with daily social media shout-outs and three studio castings in Glasgow, Manchester and London. We reached out via radio and to local contacts, businesses and groups and posted on over 30 sites. From the hundreds put forward, one main cast member plus eighteen featured extras were chosen. These were all locals to the area; we happily assist client agencies with casting in remote areas and by enlisting helpful locals.

Due to its far-reaching reputation as a prime holiday spot and its incredible landscape, Skye is immensely popular with tourists in the summer. However, with our contacts and knowledge of the local area we were able to find practical options for accommodating our cast, clients and 100-strong crew. When self-catered cottages were used we supplied our clients with a lovely little care package of toiletries, cosy towels and – most importantly – caffeine! For our visiting German clients, the experience of shooting in amongst the beauty of Skye is an experience that they will never forget.

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