Work / Animation

Animation: Art&Graft unveil superb new in-flight film for Virgin Atlantic

We’ve all been there, sitting on a plane awaiting take-off and the in-flight safety video comes on. For most of us the reaction is apathy and boredom, perhaps even tinged with annoyance – one of air travel’s grating rituals. So when Art&Graft won the commission to re-do Virgin Atlantic’s pre-flight offering, they embraced the truism that passengers tend to endure rather than enjoy these films.

And so as the lecture begins, we see a man grumpily pulling down his sleeping mask, entering a world of cinematic references which nonetheless spell out the all important safety messages. Unveiled today, the piece is a real triumph; a cracking combination of the entertaining and informative which is packed with nods to famous film moments.

Mike Moloney and his team at Art&Graft immersed themselves in the project for six months, a labour of love packed full of both creative and communicative challenges. How do you appeal to the broad cross-section of Virgin customers? How do you keep the film fresh for frequent flyers?

Mike said: "Just as the Virgin passengers are about to set off we wanted to take them on a little journey of our very own. Mirroring the usual apathy toward safety messages we created a surprising and playful series of genre-based film scenes to convey all the necessary information. This approach felt inclusive to everyone and a nice way to pique the interest of all ages onboard.

“The previous film had such an extended run we were keen to develop a stylistic approach that was equipped to stand the test of time by combining labour intensive (though ultimately rewarding) traditional character animation with more contemporary 3D techniques.”

With the short about to be rolled out across the Virgin Atlantic services, it’ll be interesting to see how it follows in the footsteps of the previous film done by Nexus which was shown on board for over a decade. One thing’s for sure though; Art&Graft have created a piece of great-looking animation which takes a really clever approach in trying to tell a story to which most people usually don’t want to listen.

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Art&Graft: Trip (initial storyboard sketch)

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Art&Graft: Trip (initial storyboard sketch)

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Art&Graft: Trip (initial storyboard sketch)

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Art&Graft: Trip (initial storyboard sketch)

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Art&Graft: Trip (initial storyboard sketch)