Mad Cow's content team led by Justin Hackney and Harry Moore travelled down to Cornwall to capture the action at last week's G7 summit.  Working to a pretty loose documentary approach, they planned on following the build and launch of the 'Listen to The Ocean" campaign. Led by Creative Coalition, 80 Ocean charities have come together with one clear message: our leaders need to "listen to the science" and protect the world's oceans.

From the construction of the billboard, to the potential protests and actions happening on site, the Mad Cow team didn’t exactly know what to expect. The nimble crew, equipped with a drone, was prepared to capture whatever might happen. As expected, it was an eventful trip.  

As one of world’s most secure event, with over 5,000 police and military on site, it became quite obvious that this project wasn’t going to be easy. From jumping through hoops to get  authorisations to film, to overcoming military airspace blockage, to dealing with unexpected reactions to the billboard... here is how it all went down

Harry commented: "It was a pretty impressive operation, building a billboard on a moving sea-going barge is a challenge within itself. It was rocking with the waves as they were trying to cut straight lines with a jigsaw saw. We were on the barge documenting that process. 

 By the time the build was finished, we got a notification from the military that informed us that, for security reasons, the airspace around the bay had been closed until the foreseeable future... that meant we couldn’t fly the drone. 

So, knowing we couldn't get a drone in the air, we had to adapt. One of the hero shots that we wanted was the billboard with the lights shining underneath. We ended up hiring a water taxi and jumping on with the camera. We had the guy sail around the barge, our own personal tracking vehicle!" 

"The next day, as the airspace had reopened, we planned to get the drone flying early.  But, as we approached the billboard we realised that it had been vandalised! Overnight, someone had found their way to the barge, which was 500m away from the shore, and had slashed Boris Johnson’s face. Perhaps they thought it was a pro-government poster? 

After fixing up the billboards, and some complications with the police, we were finally able to fly the drone and complete the shots we needed. Seeing the billboard from the air really put into perspective how big it was: 15m x 4,5m. With all those sailboats in the background, you could really feel the scale and importance of the artwork."

"It was a fun project to be a part of, we hadn't done too many activation pieces before, where all the action centred around one big reveal moment. There were obviously different challenges than just filming a commercial.

The turnaround was a big one, making sure everything falls into place. Things like the police blocking the drone flying or someone vandalising the sign, we couldn't really predict. So there was a lot of rolling with the punches and adapting. We were and flexible and ready to shoot at all times. I really enjoyed this project. "


Agency: Guy Moore + Pete Bracegirdle, Co-Founders, Creative Coalition
Client: Mirella Von Lindenfels, Communications Inc.
Production Company: Mad Cow
Branded Doc Director: Justin Hackney
Photographer : Andy Gallagher/Getty Images
Post Production : Joanne Stubbs
Creative Artworker : Hayley Dixon
Art Buying/Creative Production : Leah Mitchell
Outdoor installation: Creative SD
Printing: SMP Group
Barge: TMS

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