When we first saw “Night Flight” — Ford’s recently-released commercials starring the all-new Mondeo (aka Fusion in North America) — our first impressions could be summed up into one word: cool. In fact, we couldn’t get enough of the new ad, replaying it over and over and over again. And then we found this delightful video, which illustrated the making of the spot.
The ad’s director, Rob Cohen (of The Fast and The Furious, DragonHeart, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor fame), explains that the script for the ad was what enticed him to direct the commercial to begin with, simply because the ad — in the form of an adventure story — is told without a single word of dialogue or intended narration. But shooting the spot was challenging because of Cohen’s general philosophy on CGI.
“There’s no substitute for real. CGI can approach real but it can never achieve real,” Cohen says. “We’ve gone to great pains to film this commercial on camera. We had to be on our game. You have to shoot what for most commercials would be a full day’s work in two hours – that little window where there’s enough darkness to feature the lights and enough light to feature the car.” At the end of the day, Cohen believes that the audience will appreciate the non-CGI nature of the commercial.
The ad was shot at what could just be the most dangerous airstrip in the world (in Sandane, Norway). The crew then needed to find a way to showcase the Mondeo’s Dynamic LED lighting system while also showing the car itself; after all, the ad also serves as the Mondeo’s launch spot, so it couldn’t show off the lights without showing the car. To do this, the team identified that it had a narrow window during the evening to shoot the ad, when it was just light enough to see the Mondeo and just dark enough to showcase the lights.
The team — made up of 60 members, including a professional stunt driver and a stunt pilot — only had about two hours a day over the course of five days during which to shoot the ad. So it rehearsed during the day and recorded at night… and during those 120 minutes that the lighting was just right, it really needed to be on its game.
“We did the plane landing right over the car as an actual stunt and I think the audience will appreciate the fact that we really did it,” Cohen adds.
He also believes that the ad is a form of innovative advertising that can only help automakers sell more vehicles, saying:”If more car ads had this kind of invention and imagination, we would sell more cars and we’d make better commercials”, a statement we agree with wholeheartedly.
Watch the behind the scenes of the “Night Flight” spot right here: