Real or fake? A lot of viewers have asked this question and Emirates has released a behind the scenes look to answer just that. Here’s how they did it at the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

At 828 metres above ground this marks one of the highest ads ever filmed and was conceptualised and directed by Emirates’ in-house brand team, with the help of Prime Productions AMG, based in Dubai.

The ad was filmed without any green screen or special effects and was the result of rigorous planning, training, testing and safety protocols. At the pinnacle of the building the main protagonist had a reduced circumference space of only 1.2 metres, at 828 metres high, to pull off the stunt.

Behind the Scenes of Emirates Commercial - We're At Top of the World
Behind the Scenes of Emirates Commercial - We're At Top of the World

Was she an actual Emirates cabin crew? Emirates cleverly explains: A casting call was put out to Emirates’ very own cabin crew team and while there were some willing and capable candidates, a professional skydiving instructor was cast to ensure the highest levels of safety.

a man in a garment sitting on a machine
Throughout filming, a custom platform with an attached pole was built at the top for the protagonist to stand on. She was attached to the pole as well as two other different points directly to the pinnacle, through a hidden harness under the Emirates uniform.

Filming started at sunrise to catch the golden hour light and the team, including the main star of the ad, began their ascent to the pinnacle before sunrise. The climb took 1 hour and 15 mins from level 160 of the Burj Khalifa; Emaar and the team had to scale several tiers and ladders inside a tube to reach the top. The team was at the pinnacle for around 5 hours, with the stunt woman wearing a safety harness under the Emirates uniform secured to a custom-made platform that was attached directly to the pinnacle. A single drone was used to capture the footage in a continuous take, to film the complete sequence.

“We always look to challenge the norm and push boundaries at Emirates. We do it every day through our innovative services, our best in class product and of course through our advertising. The calm and confidence of the cabin crew you see in the ad is an embodiment of our frontline team, serving travellers and ensuring their safety. We’re proud to be among a privileged few who have been allowed to film at the top of the Burj Khalifa and even prouder that we get to showcase our beautiful city, Dubai,” said Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.

She joins only a handful of individuals who have had the privilege to stand at the pinnacle of the world’s tallest building – including Tom Cruise and the Crown Prince of Dubai, H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.