'Leaving No Stone Untunred'

Updated: May 20




In October 2020 Dark Drone Visuals (DDV) were approached by national outdoor space specialist, Marshalls, to capture the re-construction of a run-down area behind Grimsby minster. The £1.5 million project involved transforming a tired looking piece of land into a family friendly space with a brand-new paving scheme, replanting of trees, new lighting and CCTV and renovation of the famous Fisherman’s memorial statue.

The brief from Marshalls was to capture the work at various stages, from its inception in the stone factory, right up until the opening to the public in May 2021. They wanted DDV to concentrate on presenting their stonework in the best possible light, whilst also incorporating the location highlights, thus creating a story for both their company needs in showcasing its products, and also showing its close partnership with the local council. Both facets were needed to allow them to demonstrate to future clients how such community projects would both look and feel.

They were particularly keen to use a drone to showcase this imagery, both as an alternative to traditional stills, but also recognising the potential for social media traffic increases when using bespoke video captured from unique angles and perspectives.

From our perspective, we recognised this task would involve several visits to a live site over many months, and considered the following points before actually starting the job;

· The challenge of working in an inner- city environment

· The need to ensure the safety of all workers on the site with proper briefings before flying

· How to avoid the local wildlife that seemed to be nesting nearby

· How to capture both the stonework and the adjacent minster, ticking both the client and council box

We recognised very early on that to ensure the best possible imagery, we would have to work closely with the site contractors, and also use an early morning start to resolve most of our safety issues. Our first visit to site was in late Oct 2020, and we captured the first few stones being laid in the centre of the labyrinth circle, the main focus point of the project. Using a variety of flight techniques, we were then able to offer Marshals several different angles of the initial construction, so they could choose their best option when producing their promotional video.

We returned to site in early May, several months later than planned mostly down to the January Covid lockdown, in order to capture the final product before the site opened to the public in late May. Again, we started at first light and proceeded to capture every detail of the project over several hours of flying. Again, we decided to ‘overload’ the amount of video imagery captured for the client, but this allowed Marshalls to pick exactly what they’d like in the final video cut, using one of our company mantras of ‘better to be looking at it, than for it’. In addition to the video imagery, we also took scores of high-definition stills, with the intention of capturing all the unique engraving, stonework and focal points for the client.

Our final task was to produce an edited video for Marshalls, including soundtrack, enabling them to showcase the project and how it knitted in seamlessly with the historic minster. We delivered this a few days later, together with all the raw footage we had captured, in case their media department wanted to create something else in the future.

When we approached our main contacts at Marshalls, Steve Hook (commercial manager) and Dave Stanger (Trading Director) for some feedback, this is what the latter told us;

“We were fairly nervous at the outset about using drones, as they were a new concept to us, and we weren’t sure how it would pan out. With regards to the final footage, we were absolutely delighted and thought it showcased our hard work and unique product brilliantly. It also enables us to use the imagery when tendering for future work, as the aerial imagery gives you a real feeling of what the project was about and how it fits into the local area. DDV were great right from the start, super flexible with regards site visits, and able to suggest lots of different picture perspectives which we wouldn’t have thought of. I found them really professional and impressed at how seriously they took things surrounding the aviation rules, none of which I was aware of beforehand. I would definitely use them again in a heartbeat, as I find the company and its use of new technology to be very much where we want to go in the future”.

#photography #stonework #grimsby #fisherman #memorial #renovation #marshalls #creatingbetterspaces

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