After the success of his first spot for Ethiad Airways last year, director Jim Weedon was keen to repeat his winning formula for this new commercial for the airline, titled "Inspirations". Shot once again in the Middle East, the ad depicts the culture and heritage of the region as well as the modern architecture and world class infrastructure of the cities of the United Arab Emirates, and shows how they are developing with the help of the links which Ethiad offers - "From Abu Dhabi to the World".
Prime Focus Creative Director Phil Hurrell once again supervised the week long shoot in the UAE. One of Prime Focus’ primary tasks was to add the CG aircraft and 'blueprint' architecture required by the storyboard, but beyond this Phil contributed to almost every shot in the ad, using his years of supervisory experience to help Jim achieve his vision. A case in point is the extensive use of time-lapse photography throughout the spot to signify the pace at which the UAE is developing. Phil had taken his DSLR stills cameras as usual to capture background and lighting reference for the CG, but ended up contributing his own time-lapse photography to the final edit, such was the success of the shots he took for the technical recce.
Furthermore, many of the shots in the commercial were created from stills with camera moves, reflections and light effects added in post. Many of the architectural shots were created in this way, as well as the night-time cityscape at the end of the commercial. There is also a section which superimposes blueprints of cultural buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Louvre over an aerial view of the coastline of Abu Dhabi. This second unit work was shot from a very low flying helicopter by Phil Hurrell using a nose-mounted Arri. The models for the shots were created in CG by Josh George and composited in Flame by James Machlachlan, who also created the look of this sequence and added the architectural lines. Another sequence which James was responsible for was the infinity pool shot, for which he removed the background buildings and their reflections in the water, and created a new backdrop for the shot.
Duncan Russell was responsible for the final grade, pushing the sumptuous colours of Jim's footage to enhance the warm feel of the commercial.
Phil Hurrell said "Working with Jim and DoP Ben Butler is always a great experience. Jim has everything so well planned and can see the edit in his head. This makes the shoot so efficient as he rarely needs to 'cover' the same shot. So, very little ends up on the cutting room floor."
Project: Etihad Airways 'Inspirations'
Client: Ethiad Airways
Agency Producer: Denise Robinson
Agency Creative Director: Martin Lever
Production Company: Bare Films
Director: Jim Weedon
Producer: Helen Hadfield
DoP: Ben Butler