Emirates releases behind the scenes footage of ad filmed atop Burj Khalifa

The latest promotional video from Dubai-based airline Emirates has been shared millions of times and made countless palms sweaty, including those of Newshub's Mike McRoberts.

Now Emirates has proven it did in fact film the commercial with a woman standing on top of the world's tallest building, putting to bed rumours the video is fake.

The new advertisement features Nicole Smith-Ludvik dressed as an Emirates cabin crew member standing tall on the tip of the Burj Khalifa. 

Stunt woman on top of Burj Khalifa in Emirates uniform
Photo credit: Emirates

She's has joined a very short list of people who have stood at the pinnacle of the world's tallest building alongside Tom Cruise and the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The 30 second clip opens tight on Smith-Ludvik as she holds up message boards in a nod to the famous scene from Love Actually. Then the camera zooms out, it's revealing she's standing atop the tower, 828m above Dubai. 

Emirates has released behind-the-scenes footage after the ad's authenticity had viewers divided, with some refusing to accept it was real.

"We always look to challenge the norm and push boundaries at Emirates," said Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline. 

Stunt woman rehearsing for ad in warehouse
Photo credit: Emirates

"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 by Emaar; and even prouder that we get to showcase our beautiful city, Dubai."

A casting call was put out to Emirates' 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.

Stunt woman on top of Burj Khalifa in Emirates uniform about to sit down
Photo credit: Emirates

No green screen

Emirates says no green screen was used in the filming of the commercial, nor was any CGI or special effects. The one-take shot was instead the result of months of planning and strict safety protocols. 

Stunt woman on top of Burj Khalifa in Emirates uniform about to blow kiss at camera
Photo credit: Emirates

Standing on the very tip of the 828m building, Smith-Ludvik had an area of just 38cm to place her feet on for the five hours of filming that took place.

A custom platform with an attached pole was built at the top for Smith-Ludvik to stand on. She was attached to the pole as well as two other points on the pinnacle through a hidden harness under the Emirates uniform.

Filming started at sunrise to catch the golden hour light so the production team, including Smith-Ludvik, began their ascent to the pinnacle before dawn. The climb took an hour and 15 minutes from level 160 of the Burj Khalifa, and the team had to scale several tiers and ladders inside a tube to reach the top. 

Stunt woman sitting on top of Burj Khalifa in Emirates uniform
Photo credit: Emirates

A single drone was used to capture the footage in a continuous take to film the complete sequence.

The ad was created by Emirates' in-house brand team with the help of Prime Productions AMG, based in Dubai. It will be adapted for several markets across the Emirates network, with different written messages being digitally added to the paper cards as the one single aspect of post-production trickery to be applied.