MPC creates delightfully surreal easyJet brand campaign for VCCP and Riff Raff’s Sacred Egg
easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, has launched a compelling pan-European, multi-media advertising campaign that brings to life the wonder of air travel and seeks to inspire viewers’ imaginations when dreaming about their next getaway.
The uplifting film follows a plane in flight above the clouds, transporting viewers on a journey through the imagination of a passenger on board. Our traveller starts by wistfully peering out the plane window just as the orange light from the sun hits the cloud line – setting the beautiful pastel tone we see throughout the commercial. She then transitions through a series of imaginative excursions and adventures from swimming in a cloud box, to photographing giant statues, to cycling down an inflatable European street, to eating ice cream at cloud topped tables – many of the scenes contain their own surreal and magical twists.
The film ends as Senior First Officer Diana Gomes da Silva flies off into the sun setting over a patchwork of European destinations, asking viewers to ‘Imagine where we can take you’. The ad is set against the sounds of Cat Power’s, ‘Dreams’ and launches on TV in the UK during Gogglebox.
Riff Raff directors, Sacred Egg said “This was a very interesting project to create with the Moving Picture Company. Usually for each commercial/music video/film we have to figure out how to deliver one core image. Like a dog made of kale. Or cherubs fighting in the sky. For this project every scene contained a different visual idea and required a different technical approach. What should a ‘cube of clouds’ look like? How does an inflatable city behave? What should giant statues of tourists feel like? And what is the best way to transition between each of these seamlessly?”
The level of craft and creativity from the MPC team was, as always, amazing. It’s the level of detail in each frame that makes it such a satisfying and tangible dream for the viewer to get carried away by”.
The film harnessed the full scope of MPC’s VFX artistry and technology. It contains full CG shots, underwater plates, invisible transitions, matte paintings, 3D scanning and lots of FX simulations. Alex Lovejoy, MPC’s 2D VFX Supervisor said, “It’s always great fun to have this variety of crafts to work with on a project and to have such a wonderful collaborative team across the MPC studio and across the wider production”.
Sacred Egg went on to say “The team approached each scene differently. For instance, the statues of tourists poking through the clouds was built entirely in CG, but with us having scanned real people in the poses we wanted to create. The final scene, of the patchwork of destinations, is equally surreal but was actually built out from real footage which we shot over two weeks (matching camera heights, movement, lenses and light direction). The lilo city was extremely satisfying to realize. The movement of the buildings was the result of different CGI simulation tests in greyscale. We then looked for a location that would work in terms of the street width, length, building height and light direction (as well as looking like a nice holiday destination of course). MPC then photographed and modeled their CGI buildings on all the real buildings in the street and cherry-picked structures in the surrounding area. We then shot our bicyclist with real light interactions that moved as if the buildings were moving and real elements, such as a jiggling washing line, so the CGI buildings would feel like they had a tangible effect on our live action world”.
MPC were involved from early treatment stage. Discussing various methodologies, concepting throughout, creating previz and agreeing locations.
MPC’s pre-viz was key to the production – it was fundamental to designing individual shots and camera moves. And as always with transitions, they are planned as much in advance as possible.
MPC advised on the preferred locations with the knowledge most of the houses would be digital assets. Very early on they knew the cloud box was going to be all digital, so it was key to start with concept to work out the approximate scale and look before further developing in CG.
Attention to detail was key. Alex said, “On the shoot we took over 500 stills of houses to replicate in the street scenes. We also flew with easyJet and as we landed we stayed on the plane to recce the cockpit.” He went on to add “one of the surprising bonuses of the project was that we watched one of the best games of the World Cup 2018 in the home country – Portugal vs Spain. What a treat, on an already wonderful project”.