A330 — Virgin Australia, DDB

As one of Australia’s largest airline companies, Virgin was looking for a national brand campaign with plenty of personality. But when Chris Budgeon is at the helm, bringing his signature take on personable talent photography to commercial projects big or small, the sky’s the limit. 

Although it would have been an experience to shoot while up in the skies, the budget and health and safety costs required a slightly more grounded approach. The producers at Photoplay Photography organized a hangar at Melbourne Airport for the production to take place in, on a parked A330 passenger plane.

Not to say that made the production process any simpler. When the photo shoot involves shooting the length of a real passenger plane, it’d be an understatement to say it was a mammoth undertaking. There were many unique challenges to the location, such as appropriate ventilation, transport and logistics, and getting the ambitious commercial wrapped in time.

The pre production also took place interstate. While Chris Budgeon is a Melbourne based Photographer, Photoplay Photography is based in Sydney - With our experience organizing shoots as far away as Hawaii, the complex logistical setup involved with transport, catering, air conditioning a full passenger plane from the Sydney office was handled using the producers sizable experience in overseas and interstate pre-production.

The casting process was a similarly ambitious undertaking, starting with over eighty options that were refined down to a diverse set of talent. Chris’s eye for a natural and diverse look was key to distilling such a large amount of talent options down to a cast of 18. With plenty of experience of working with talent to create strong characters, Chris Budgeon directed the cast in fast paced conditions to create memorably personable performances.

As a major brand campaign with 18 talent, over 10 set ups, 24 shots and 8 motion pickups, the shoot had a lot of ground to cover. The schedule was 14 hours, with a swift pace required to cover the numerous setups.

In classic Melbourne style, bad weather nearly came into play too. Heavy winds the day before nearly put a hold on the production, but  the weather managed to hold together on the day of the shoot. The AD, Andrew Moffat’s effective timekeeping kept the production running smoothly with the whole team hitting the ground running. Chris Budgeon’s ceaseless work ethic was incredible, powering the team through the long but energetic shoot.

The result, with dynamic and diverse talent showcasing the experience of flying Virgin, and the unrivalled talents of Chris Budgeon’s ambitious commercial talent photography. As producers, it was a great opportunity for Photoplay Photography to practise our skills at logistics, travel, safety measures, traffic control, catering, and interstate production. 

Photographer: Chris Budgeon
Producers: Alison Lydiard / Penny O'Brien / Eve von Bibra
First AD: Andrew Moffat
Hair & Makeup: Bernadette Fisers
Stylist: Stephanie Hooke
Digital Operator: Jake Lowe
Assistants: Matteo Macri & Alex Reinders
Lighting: Richard Turton
Casting: Studio P, Peta Dermatis
Retouching: Adam Hayes