Engine Creative animates a film for Sky Zero showing the beauty of a world we’re at risk of losing
“Too many campaigns focus on scaremongering or doomsday predictions,” say the creative team behind the animation.
- 2 November 2021
- Dalia Al-Dujaili
Cop26 heads into its third day, and with much of the narrative focusing on the negative impacts of our behaviours on the planet, Sky Zero’s new campaign, The day the moon came to earth, shifts the dialogue in a more positive direction. It debuted in September and marks Sky’s first major campaign for its Sky Zero brand, a pledge to be net zero carbon by 2030.
Combining CGI animation and VFX, the film aims to demonstrate the beauty of Earth as seen from the point of view of the moon. The team behind the campaign is headed up by Melody Sylvester, Engine’s head of film, and agency creatives Pete Ioulianou and Ollie Agius. The film was directed by Pete Candeland at Partizan Studio in collaboration with Light VFX, with founder and VFX supervisor Antoine Moulineau at the helm. Sylvester tells us that the 20-week, intense production schedule was inspired around the theme of the “overview effect”. This term refers to an astronaut’s shift in awareness while viewing the Earth from space where they are able to see the beauty of the planet, “whilst also acknowledging its fragility,” continues Sylvester. “The campaign showcases Planet Earth from the perspective of the Moon making a visit for the very first time; by showing us this fresh outlook, it aims to remind us of the planet’s awe-inspiring beauty.”
“When you have that perspective, you realise just how precious our home really is,” Ioulianou and Agius expand to It's Nice That. “We thought it would be amazing if we could remind people of that by having the moon come down and visit.” The design objective was to show the planet without having to actually travel around it, so concept art, layouts, character design, modelling, lighting, animation and painstaking water simulation across multiple landscapes were drawn up and created.
“The film features shots of whales in the ocean, rays soaring beneath the waves, deer in woodland and ants carrying leaves along a moss-covered branch, juxtaposed with footage of glaciers breaking up and falling into the sea, storms causing flooding in an English village and forests ablaze,” says the team. “The film ends on a note of hope, focusing on seedlings being planted.”
The creatives thought that 2D animation wasn’t going to do Earth justice, but they also wanted to avoid things feeling too much like a 3D computer game. “There was lots of discussion and testing,” say Ioulianou and Agius. “Playing with scale and composition was tough and the actual style of animation as we mentioned before but, really, the biggest challenge was telling such a big story in just 60 seconds,” Ioulianou and Agius explain. “We had to introduce the moon coming down, make people fall in love with Earth again, introduce a feeling of jeopardy with the impact of climate change and leave the audience with a sense of hope and empowerment at the end.”
“Too many campaigns focus on scaremongering or doomsday predictions,” they say. “Visually, we countered that through awesome images reminding people of what we have to protect rather than plastic in the oceans and the typical visuals you associate with work around climate change. But, more importantly, we wanted the film to end on the idea of hope.”
GalleryEngine Creative: The day the moon came to Earth (Copyright © Sky Zero, 2021)
Response & Responsibility – Cop26
During the next two weeks, over 120 world leaders are meeting in Glasgow to agree on the actions needed to pull the earth back from the brink of a climate catastrophe. The most important conference of our lifetime, in response, we are exploring creative responses to the climate crisis throughout the duration of Cop26.
Engine Creative: The day the moon came to Earth (Copyright © Sky Zero, 2021)
About the Author
Dalia joined It’s Nice That as a news writer in July 2021 after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh. She's written for various indie publications such as Azeema and Notion, and ran her own magazine and newsletter platforming marginalised creativity.