Filming a Guinness World Record Attempt

by Laura Binnie

11th October 2019

Guinness World Record attempt Mark James and Lisa Aitken

The Challenge

On a warm but rainy evening in Montrose on Friday 26th July 2019 serial World Record holder Mark James and Scotland’s No.1 squash player Lisa Aitken smashed the world record for the longest non-stop squash rally, reaching 3,606 strokes in 1hr 16mins, surpassing the previous record by 198 shots.
The Glass Bullet team have filmed many Guinness World Records and this was probably one of the shortest. Many of the record attempts we’ve filmed normally last a few hours, but longer attempts can be more challenging to shoot. For example, 3-day events require careful organising where our crew are required to film the event in shifts, with one monitoring the camera at all times. Our longest film shoot for Guinness was a squash match lasting 45hrs - another success story for Mark James.
The 45hr challenge involved a continuous squash game with Mark James up against several different players. He was allowed a break of 4mins per hour for food and bathroom breaks, or he could save the time up and take a longer break. We used 2 crew members, filming in shifts.

The Guinness Regulations

As per the regulations, numerous witnesses attended to corroborate the challenge and ‘clickers’ were there to record the number of strokes. There are guidelines for the recording of evidence which means that all timings, witness evidence, clicker results and video footage must match up in order to be admitted. After all the effort an athlete takes in completing a challenge, it’s important it isn't wasted by the innefficient recording of evidence.
After several years of filming world record attempts, the Glass Bullet team has become pretty au fait with the the rules and regulations covering the admittance of video evidence for Guinness. We have the right equipment in place to ensure all the important elements are recorded - including the on-court action, the clock (which must appear on camera for the duration of the challenge), the clicker information and the final time on screen. We then edit the resulting footage and send it over to Guinness, making sure all the media is correctly formatted.
All evidential media must also be embedded with specific information about the challenge (names, dates, locations, results etc) and included within the video file.

The Technology

On any shoot it’s important to use the right kit for the job and be well prepared, so we often perform a recce in advance of the filming date. In this case we made sure there were reliable power points on location to allow for uninterrupted continous shooting.
When filming world records, we must always keep in mind that we’re filming in an active working environment with judges, witnesses, spectators and athletes in the vicinity, so we have to work around a lot of people. This can be quite challenging with additional health and safety issues regarding cables, tripod legs and other trip hazards that need to be secured to not only keep the area safe for everyone, but to prevent the mains cables being disconnected.
The nature of today’s high resolution video cameras means that batteries and media cards have to be changed more reguarly during a shoot. During a world record attempt we may be filming for several hours, or even several days. Very lengthy shoots require continuous overnight recording with two operators, several hundred gigabytes of data and a reliable constant mains connection with backup batteries. As per the Guinness regulations, no timecode breaks in recording are allowed, which means either two cameras have to be used with batteries and cards changed at alternate intervals and the footage edited together seamlessly, or a system of non-stop recording has to be in place. Glass Bullet can comfortably record footage continuously for an indefinite period using protected power sources, over 800GB of media cards and a solid backup workflow with multiple hard drives.
Uploading the video evidence is the final challenge to overcome, especially when faced with up to 45 hours of footage! Luckily, we are experts at encoding lengthy videos in high quality but within small file sizes.
We deal with all these technical issues, so all our client has to worry about is winning the challenge!

If you’d like to find out more about how we film events like these, or you want to commission a video for your next event or sporting challenge, why don’t you get in touch with Glass Bullet Media. We look forward to hearing from you.

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