Feb 29, 2016
Sixteen stunning locations and a cast of true-blue Aussies are the stars of Qantas’s new inflight safety video.
When Sydney-based film director and writer Josh Whiteman was asked to create a new inflight safety video for Qantas, he suggested two radical ideas. First, set the video outside the aircraft – something Qantas had never done before – and second, avoid famous landmarks.
“We made a rule for ourselves,” says Whiteman. “No Harbour Bridge, no Opera House, no 12 Apostles. We wanted to uncover hidden gems across Australia.”
He produced a list of 16 lesser-known locations covering every state and territory in the country, including a parched salt lake in Western Australia, a dusty cattle station in the Northern Territory and a roaring waterfall in tropical Queensland. While they certainly matched his vision for the video, how to pack every spot into a brutal 12-day shooting schedule?
“We caught 17 flights in 12 days,” says Whiteman. “Had we missed a single plane or had one flight left late, it would have ruined our entire schedule.” Luckily, everything went according to plan.
Mother Nature, however, wasn’t as reliable. Within the first few days, the 15-strong crew was flung from one weather extreme to another. “On the second day of the shoot, we turned up at Cradle Mountain, in Tasmania, expecting a little drizzle. What we got was -2°C and snow. Then, a day or two later, we were in Alice Springs, in 45 degrees.”
The video features a cast of regular Australians – instead of the Qantas crew – giving safety instructions. And it was in the scorching NT where Whiteman encountered his favourite character. “Tony, the truck driver from Alice Springs, is a beautiful character in the video,” says the director. “We were filming inside that truck cabin for six hours but he was very patient and I think he did a fantastic job.”
So what’s the point of shooting the safety video outside of the aircraft? “I think there’s a tendency for these videos to become a bit like wallpaper. Our aim was to increase the knowledge of safety on the plane – and to do it by being engaging and entertaining so people will watch the video because of its beautiful locations and characters, even if they’re travelling 30, 40, 50 times a year.”