Director Tim van Someren gives his personal account of how he and his team dealt with a live commercial shoot for C4 that was heavily reliant on preparation, luck and the weather.


“Like all things of this nature it’s all about the three minutes on Thursday night. But you start off three or four weeks before that and it will be refined as you go.

At the beginning people felt the problems would be technical. It would be cameras, radio links and those kinds of issues in terms of doing a live broadcast from an aeroplane. And actually we fairly quickly discovered that wouldn’t be very problematic.

The technology to do that has been around for a while, it’s the same technology as a F1 car signal coming back to base. We realised the problem was going to be timing. When we spoke to the skydivers, it’s not a case of having a floor manager in the plane saying cue, as it doesn’t mean a thing if the plane isn’t over the landing zone.

From a practical and safe point of view all we can do is say ‘we’d like you to jump at some point from about now’. And then the parachute leader would then decide in his own time if he felt it was a good time to exit the aircraft.

From a live television point of view this was slightly nerve racking. Our standpoint was always that we’re not telling the parachutists what to do. We’ll let them decide what to do and film it.

So once we’d established that this was issue number one it was a case of talking to the pilot and the jump crews and reassuring ourselves that actually they could get over a landing zone to a fairly specific time scale. We had a fairly big landing zone. And the worst case was - as they put it - ‘they might have to get a taxi back.’ All of a sudden it started to look practical and possible…” More

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The Honda “Difficult is worth doing” commercial is a North One production in association with 4 Creative.