“It was the first time ever…” Ghasem Ebrahimian, Cinematographer
"It was the first time ever the Saudi Arabian authorities allowed any camera to be that close to the Ka'bah from the air. We almost touched the minarets when we shot the Tawaf (the circumambulation of the Ka'bah)," says one of the cinematographers, Ghasem Ebrahimian, who directed the pilot to fly counterclockwise to follow the Tawaf. "Seeing people from some 100 different countries all merge in one spot like a flowing river was quite an event. Some have saved their whole lives to get there. Altogether the helicopter made 20 flight paths over Mecca over five days, shooting a total of 60 minutes of film," says Ebrahimian. "As the IMAX® film magazine lasts for a little over two minutes, we had to come back to base and reload. We would change film while the helicopter was still running and then we would take off and do more shots.