Cannes Lions



Case Film






What is the most amazing part of an airline?

Virgin Australia believes it's their incredible staff.

To bring this to life, and showcase the Virgin Australia flying experience, we created a 60 second commercial that features many of Virgin Australia's own employees. In the process, letting people know that it takes more than an amazing aircraft to make an amazing airline.


The attention to detail extended across every production touch point. This started from the first day after sign off by employing the Senior special effects to photograph in high resolution every aspect of the interior and exterior of a Virgin Australia Boeing aircraft to ensure we accurately rebuild it in CGI. Every fabric, texture, panel, bolt, window, seat, crockery and cutlery was documented and recreated.

We then traveled to the farthest reaches of Australia to shoot on salt flats. A beautiful area that gave us the reflective surface we needed. These areas are have quite consistent weather conditions: sunny, with small amounts of rain to create the reflective surface. Not in our case. We had massive flooding prior to shooting and a weather day in the middle of shooting.

After the shoot, which included everything from huge green screens to helicopter shots, we began stitching it all together.

As the shoot with a fairly comprehensive ‘block’ or ‘animatic’, the VFX company already understood how the commercial would flow from an editorial point of view. What was left was to animate the objects, light the CGI and composite them all with the plates shot on the salt flats.

Under the direction VFX company took each object that had been modelled in 3D and paired it with other objects to create groups that had their own symmetry and balance. Some of these were arranged and animated by hand for certain shots, like the ones of the wheels and the chairs and engines. In others, when the shear number of objects and precision of timing needed, became too much to complete by hand, another approach was developed. By inserting the objects from the chosen groups into mathematical formulas the VFX company developed, they were able to create some of the wonderful spiraling patterns seen in the wider shots toward the end of the plane being built. Science making art.

The VFX company then began gathering the extensive onset reference that was shot. From rolling tires through water to glasses and cutlery spinning against the background, they went about the task of surfacing and lighting the CGI. They used a newer type of renderer, one that doesn't fake what a surface looks like through a lens inside the computer, but rather calculates it in a physically accurate way. This let them create CGI that responds to the lighting from the shoot in a much more realistic fashion.

The final step was to put it all together with the plates that were shot of the salt flats and the Virgin crew. The VFX company pulled together the multiple selects of the crew and stitched them together to create the apparent ‘endless line’ of people. In the wide shots at the end, they created a digital crowd with fully CGI digital doubles.

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