UK – Poland – Belarus – Russia – Poland – UK, or there and back again.
If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you know that we have been making a corporate video for an international company that has more than 40 production sites in 22 countries in Europe, United States and China. We spent a large part of August travelling all over Poland, shooting at five modern production facilities. You can read more about this project here: AERIAL AND GROUND LEVEL FILMING. Recently, we have truly been living out of our suitcases.
Only few days ago we came back from over the eastern border, where we had been shooting a second video for the same client, this one intended for the eastern market.
We worked hard, with every day and hour allocated to tasks. We visited two factories in Belarus and two in Russia. These huge, brand new, out-of-town developments certainly impress! Some of the buildings look like a setting for a science-fiction movie. We certainly couldn’t miss the aerial shots, so we filmed everything from above using the DJI S1000 drone. Altogether, we collected brilliant material, recorded at 4k resolution – we can even say that a new standard of corporate video is coming! Have a look at a few screenshots here:
In all honesty, filming in Belarus and Russia was an adventure of a lifetime! We had had ‘exotic’ before, but this was in a different league. Firstly, considering what the media had fed us in the previous months, working in that part of the world didn’t exactly appeal. Secondly, although gathering all the official paperwork (invitations, visas, ATA carnets) for the visit went very smoothly, we weren’t sure of the success till the last minute. We boarded the Warsaw – Minsk flight in a bit of a state, worrying more about safe landing of our gear than our selves. But eventually, we managed not only to cross the national border, but also to dispel a few myths about Poland’s eastern neighbours.
Belorussian and Russian towns look a bit like Poland of the early 1990’s.
We won’t talk about politics – everyone knows what that’s like. Both countries are likely to go through serious changes soon. What we were struck by was the ever-present contrast of the old and the new: a vast public space with an Orthodox church and a statue of Lenin, and then an English pub selling burgers and London Pride bitter, and never mind that the bar staff only speak Russian. They had a menu with pictures, and eventually we gave up the classy British for the homely Slavic. Discovering that ‘kartoshky’ are potatoes was a big breakthrough! We were big spenders – leaving a few thousand Rouble at the till every time.
We stayed in four different cities, and often had an overwhelming impression of time travel.
From a futuristic interior design in an apartment with a breathtaking view of Minsk from the 16th floor; to a hotel where the reception area was still under construction, the lift got only to the first floor and the breakfast definitely didn’t resemble the full English fry-up ;)
Minsk and Moscow are full of high-rises, impressive public buildings and wide avenues.
By high-rises we don’t mean a normal ten-storey building. Blocks in Minsk are 22 floors high. The capitals of both countries differ a lot from other cities: everything is simply bigger there.
People mostly careful and distanced.
Don’t hope for a friendly ‘Hi, how are you?’. As Slavs we understand that, so there was no culture shock of any magnitude. As far as communication goes, you’d assume that English wouldn’t be a problem in bigger cities? Not necessarily so. Russian is the official language, and even the customs officers at Moscow’s international airport didn’t use any other. They did try to be helpful, though, and suggested using Google Translate in their mobile phones ;) As a result we run from a terminal to a terminal, trying to get the official paperwork done. As you can imagine, the distances are marathon-like there! Eventually, we missed our return flight home and were so knackered by the whole experience that even the prospect of real duty free shopping didn’t cheer us up!
We have many more stories, but don’t want to bore you with a super-long post. Are you going east? Remember one word: ‘contrasts’. You will be surprised, more than once.
Many new factories in the east are staffed by international teams and work to international standards.
These developments contributed to the fall of the Iron Curtain and eventually, the economic transformation of the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe. The borders (and doors and pockets) opened for the foreign capital. Our video will show not only the production facilities in Russia and Belarus, but also the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
We can now confidently say that KamKam Visuals has a great Spec Ops team.
We all came back home to Poland in one piece (and so did the gear). We have looked through the material and we already know we have some brilliant footage. Soon, editing will start and we can’t wait for the day when the finished video will be ready!