Shooting inside planes is notoriously difficult. You can’t use much conventional grip, you need a ton of extras to populate the shots, and lighting has to be rigged outside the windows – twenty feet off the ground.
It is for these reasons that promotional films, ads and even those nail-biting airplane scenes in nearly all Bond films are generally shot in an airline’s training rigs; semi-working cross section models of real planes. With this approach, impossible angles can be filmed since cameras can be put where, in reality, a seat would be. Having a cross-section allows for traditional studio lighting set-ups, giving a generic studio finish to the look and feel of the cabin.
Considering all this, our decision to shoot inside the new Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 – using real staff, serving real food inside a real plane might have seemed rash. Luckily it was a challenge that our director, James Nunn, was up for.
Virgin Atlantic wanted to be authentic – they did not want to put smoke and mirrors in its promotional material to entice potential passengers to fly with their airline instead of competitors. The Virgin Atlantic ‘Dreamliner’ - complete with its crew in their Vivienne Westwood uniforms - was already glamorous enough.
The technical work required to make a real-life Boeing 787 feel like it’s flying required five key things. Read on to discover what they were.