How to film a base jump in Oman

The Majlis Al Jinn is the largest chamber in Arabia.

We recently got a special permit to access the chamber and film 4 base jumpers from SkyDive Dubai doing insane stunts.

To add excitement to the shoot we had to use rope access techniques in order to gain access to difficult areas to setup and film.

Usually when you see great action shots the producers are very quiet about how they manage to get these shots. This is how we did it.

Fast and light.

Getting in and out safely

TRAKS PRO took care of this first task. James and Dan setup a Gin pool with the SMC TerrAdaptor, which allowed the rope to clear the razor sharp rocks on the ledge of the cave.

majlis_al_jinn_base_jump

This great rigging also allowed for a friction-less system to come out of the cave.

Two ropes were setup (following IRATA protocol) for people who wanted to abseil down into the cave. While the descent is straight forward with an I’D and ASAP, the return requires a bit more work.

Since we were aiming to de-rigged by 3pm TRAKS PRO installed a capstan winch on top of one of the 4×4 to allow for a fast (less than 8min) exit from the cave.

Setting up on top

During this time I ran around the rop of the cave capturing sound-bytes from the base-jumpers first impressions as they stared into the black void below them.

The children who live on the Selmah plateau where the cave is situated were curious and spent a long time staring at these weird men with helmets.

majlis_film

After catching my breath from running around capturing the scene before the jump I sat down with the base-jumpers to discuss their landing.

They were wondering what the bottom of the cave looked like as there was no way to tell from the top. I probably have been down in this cave a dozen times so I explained to them the topography of the cave and added that I would add a Petzl Ultra in the middle of the landing area to guide them.

I finalized the setup shots, interviews and portraits of the two brothers staring at the commotion, geared up and abseiled into the cave.

Since it was his first time, Rashed was going to abseil down next to me. He kept screaming how great the experience was as we left the large opening of the cave behind and the vast chamber of the cave revealed itself.

The start of the 120m abseil down the main opening of Majlis usually requires to lift the rope and feed it through the I’D but not this time. Loaded up with an extra 30kg of gear hanging from my descender I didn’t have any problems going down and actually added extra friction towards the bottom of the cave to slow down.

Inside the Cave

After unhooking myself from the rope I scrambled down the big scree slope which is under the opening.

 

The bottom of the scree in Majlis Al Jinn

The bottom of the scree in Majlis Al Jinn

Once inside I moved towards the flat area at the the bottom of the chamber and placed the Ultra in the middle of the landing area. Thankfully it was noon so the sunlight came straight into the large opening and provided some good light.

James’ voice cracked in my headset,

“Noah is ready, he’s going to jump now”

He entered the cave with a backflip and a few seconds latter his rig opened with a crack which resonated inside the cave.

After his successful landing I walked back up the scree slope and geared him up to make the quick trip back up.

Moments later Mike Swanson, and Chris Pope jumped and landed near me.

“Noah and Matt are jumping together” James’ voice announced in my headset.

Noah and Matt were going to do a 2-way, basically Matt was jumping first and Noah right behind him.

Matt back-flipped into the cave, Noah followed right behind and both parachutes cracked open almost simultaneously with two loud bangs.

The four congratulated themselves and I recorded their first impressions, “incredible”, “amazing”, “I don’t have words for this” they said.

Yes it truly was an unbelievable experience in a very special place.

Watch the Making Of below for peak into the making of this special day. Also don’t forget to check-out ALL the jumps

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