Once grey morning, Niky and Ryan’s lives were turned upside down, as any parents’ worst nightmare became a reality. Their four-year-old daughter, Jasmine, had stopped breathing. She was unconscious, in respiratory arrest, and in need of emergency care, fast. See below for how we brought this story to life on film…
Jasmine would not be alive without the actions of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. We were able to tell the story of how a GWAAC critical care team successfully saved Jasmine’s life, in a film that aimed to build audience engagement with the charity.
After an extensive pre-interview with mum Niky, we believed that she could provide an engaging and emotional interview. The story was primarily told through her eyes.
One very precious thing that became clear in these prep interviews was the love and gratitude that Niky felt for the air ambulance crew, open and unabashed. We made the most of this by filming a carefully planned re-union between crew member Jack and the family, who had not met since the incident.
We knew that audiences react well to air ambulance crew members. We wanted to capitalise on that by featuring a paramedic who was on the scene. Once again, as the result of pre-interviewing, we felt that calm, big-hearted Jack would be an engaging audience draw. In his detail-orientated way, Jack was also able to help move the story along with authority.
For our interviews, we used a mirror box system in front of the camera, so that it felt like our contributors were directly talking to the audience. This is a great technique for charity videos, where we want to make direct beeline to audience heart strings!
For Jack’s interview, we carefully crafted a shot with dramatic lighting, to evoke iconic documentaries like 999: What’s your emergency? This kind of setup subtly suggests the contributor is a hero – without us explicitly saying it.
We used various dynamic techniques to film inside and and outside of the moving helicopter, helping to bring the story to life. Through a combination of pacey, intelligent editing, we were able to create a sense of urgency. We used audio of the helicopter and comms to create a sense of dynamism. But we always kept in mind that this was not an action movie. The true focus of the story was the characters – that’s where the emotion would come from. And drawing this out with a skilled yet kindly interview technique, is what would make or break the film.