Witnessing Red Bull's athletes push boundaries for over a decade has instilled in us a relentless pursuit of production excellence. Article by James Morton-Haworth, Founder.

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We have been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s top athletes and sports teams, people who approach what they do with a truly elite mentality. And though we are not top athletes (is it that obvious?!) we have still always wanted to come to our own craft with that same commitment to being the best we can be.

Over those years we’ve had the privilege to meet, shoot, and observe the likes of Lucy Charles (Red Bull triathlete), Seb Ogier, Christian Horner and Franz Tost (Red Bull and Alpha Tauri team principals), Andrew Cotton (big wave surfer), and Kriss Kyle (Red Bull bike athlete).

We have usually met these amazing people in the context of large, complex shoots, often involving multiple crews, boats, helicopters, divers, and drones. These can be some of the most challenging jobs, but they also come with unique rewards — there is nothing more satisfying than executing tightly choreographed projects with so many moving parts.

On these projects, it’s always been our mission to soak up as much as we can from the talent around us. And we’ve undoubtedly learnt a great deal — lessons that, over time, have fed directly back into the Gramafilm DNA.

You don’t have to spend long with world class practitioners to find yourself inspired by their commitment and focus. You quickly realise the emphasis placed on well researched planning and preparation; the need for clear communication in order to get the whole team pulling in the same direction.

And yet, there is something else that we’ve absorbed from such challenging shoots and the partners and clients we’ve met along the way. Something less easy to spot, but which we’ve come to feel is key to how elite performers are able to stay at the top of their game. That is, the fact that in order to do your best, you have to be at your best.

The reality is, amidst the chaos of larger productions — with the demands of travel, the desire to get one last shot during that golden hour of light — the wellbeing of those involved can be compromised. Certainly the industry has been historically guilty of this, all too slow to put health, safety, and wellness first. But things are changing, and at Gramafilm we have made it a priority to be at the forefront of that change.

What does this mean in practical terms? Well, it means travelling to a destination a day early, not simply red-eyeing in and out of timezones. It doesn’t mean missing that golden hour in the morning or evening, but it does mean scheduling days more effectively and building in proper rest breaks.

Personal development is also a key principle of such an approach. This might simply be in the form of a health and safety or first aid course for staff; it might sometimes be more geared towards developing our creative practice — like staff attending the NFTS BSC Masterclass series, or Camerimage Festival.

Finally, it also comes down to the sorts of benefits that we choose to offer as an employer, with health insurance and Whoop memberships for all staff emphasising the importance of wellness. In the end, you can’t take your health for granted. But we know that with all of this in place, we give ourselves the best possible opportunity to continue performing and producing at the very top of our game.