Filmed in Turkey — Expedia “Travel Like a Champion”

As a big fan of Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” series, I’m attracted to the making process of any product or service. For all my like minded mates out there (I’m looking at you, hidden geeks), I decided to write a series on our global projects’ behind the scenes stories. I reckon these stories will make it easier for readers to grasp our production quality and capability in Turkey rather than just taking our word for it.

Our latest project, Expedia’s global TVC for its Champions League sponsorship, is a great candidate to start this series with. We shot the spot last November in 3 days in Istanbul’s various remarkable locations.

The Team and The Wrap Time!

The Locations

We filmed the spot with one team in 8 different locations, including a beach, a plane studio, a historical place, a giant stadium, a hotel rooftop pool, a scenic road and a few other streets. It may sound impossible but all these locations are in a single city — Istanbul, with a maximum of 45 minutes travel distance between any two locations. As mentioned in my previous post, Istanbul offers an ample choice of diverse locations in convenient distances.

The first location was Sile beach in the north coast of Istanbul by the Black Sea. The location offers us a deserted, long and wide sandy beach, a calm or wavy sea depending on the weather and beautiful rocky cliffs. It’s possible to film a summer beach or a surfing scene, with just a 45 minutes trip from the city centre!

Sile Beach — North coast of istanbul by the Black Sea.
Sile Beach — North coast of istanbul by the Black Sea.

Below is another beach in the city centre, which faces West and therefore offers a beautiful sunset with city backdrop.

A scenic road near a beach.

Below is a huge stadium in Istanbul, hosting UEFA Champions League matches. When there isn’t a match (which is quite often the case), the place is available to rent as a whole complex. We can utilise every facility of it day or night!

An olympic stadium.

In the old city district of Istanbul, we can easily find a cobbled street like the one below. This is in Galata, a bohemian part of Istanbul, which looks exactly like a historical European city street.

A cobbled street in Galata area.

We have an exceptional facility to effortlessly shoot airplane films in Istanbul. The studio offers various types of airplane cabins and cockpits. They can customise the interiors with airline company’s specifications and branding on demand, which facilitates shooting any airline commercial within surprisingly reasonable budgets. You can find detailed information on this studio, along with more photos in my “Challenging Filming Locations” post.

An airplane interior studio.

You can hire a luxury 5-star hotel in the middle of the city with a stunning Bosphorus view for filming. In addition to an awesome rooftop pool, facilities like rooms, restaurants and lobby area are available for travel ads.

A hotel’s rooftop pool.

The Basilica Cistern below is a stunning and unique historical location in the old city which was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Empire. The gigantic structure is an underground chamber of 9,800 square metres — capable of holding 80,000 cubic metres of water. The ceiling is supported by a forest of 336 marble columns, each 9 metres high, arranged in 12 rows and 28 columns, spaced 5 metres apart. We can film inside this place, placing our filming lights without harming the historical structure.

A Byzantian basilica — The Basilica Cistern

The Grip & Equipment

Praised with the highly active production environment in Turkey, we have easy access to wide range of latest film equipments.

Two ARRI Alexa Minis on a Super Panther Dolly
A DJI Ronnin 2
A car mount
A Foxy Crane on a level structure

The Team

An additional perk of Turkey is its highly developed, experienced and talented professionals skilled in every stage of the production.

You’ll probably be surprised to see in the photos and in the backstage video that we have many female crew members. I am proud to point out that diversity is quite common practice for Turkish sets. If you’re interested to learn more, please read my post on Gender Diversity and Women Involvement in Filming and Advertising.

Our focus puller, Gul.

As spotted in the photos and the backstage video, each crew member is on the go and always have a can-do attitude.

Our gaffer, Mehmet
Our makeup artist, Sezgin
Our wardrobe artist, Setenay
Our camera/grip team, Gokay and Ugur.

The Hospitality

Turkish people are famous for their hospitality. If you have ever visited Turkey, you must know what I’m talking about. We always take care of our clients and agencies, making sure they are comfortable and feel at home.

This is a client/agency desk in our set with a nice Bosphorus view.

We do not only look after our clients/agencies, but also our crew. Since, it’s an important motivation for Turkish people to eat good food, we always serve open buffet meals to everyone in a set (I’m looking at you, foodies).

A regular open buffet set lunch in Turkey.

The Challenges

Each production has its own challenges. We actually start getting worried if everything goes smoothly in a set — it just doesn’t feel right.

This one particularly had a very interesting challenge. There was a sunset beach scene in the script. On the recce day, we double checked the weather forecast for the shooting days to be on the safe side, only to find an unpleasant surprise — the forecast had now changed to cloudy for all 3 days! Instead of panicking, we decided to take immediate action and shoot the scene right then and there. We had only 3 hours until sunset but we accepted the challenge. Everyone worked like a beaver to gather all the team and the equipment to the location in just 2 hours. We then got ready in half an hour and filmed the scene right on time. We were short of crew compared to a regular set day but it didn’t stop us from shooting the beautiful sunset scene below.

Shooting on the recce day.

The weather has actually challenged us on all shooting days. We needed the sun on another shoot day for a different beach scene, but the clouds were again hiding it. So, we created our own sun with a big light and a mirror! :)

Mocking up the sun.

Carrying the equipment from the basecamp to very long and wide beaches was another big challenge for us. We rented a tractor to be able to move swiftly without wasting set time.

Carrying equipment on a sandy beach.

The Backstage Video and The Ad

Please see the making of video and the original spot below:

Tell us about your project!

If you like to know about the cost of producing your commercial / movie / documentary / music video in Turkey, please contact me for a bespoke quote and location alternatives. I’m based in London, and would love to hear about your project.

Emre Ozgur

+44 7899 288 880