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A Duo So Good, They Put You in Two Places at Once

American Airlines flies to 250 cities in 50 countries around the world, but its latest destinations – under the ocean and into your living room – required some help from the post experts at Absolute. The studio’s Lead VFX/Flame Artist Dirk Greene once again teamed up with Believe Media Director Gerard de Thame in order to kick out this adventurous pair of spots for the airborne giant.

After School

opens on a mother and daughter discussing the youngster’s role in the school play as they sit cross-legged in their living room. But something’s a bit off kilter – as the camera swings around the room, a pair of airline seats, which had been casual living room chairs in the previous shot, appear; then the soft glowing lights of a fasten-seatbelt sign blink on along the wall; and, very faintly, a droning voice states, “This is your captain speaking,” in the background. When the camera makes one final swing from daughter to mother and pans out, the elder is not in the living room with her daughter at all, but in the cabin of an American Airlines jet, engaged in the conversation via instant message on her laptop.


follows a couple scuba diving through the rays of light, schools of fish and sea turtles off a sprawling reef. The first indications that this is not your standard reef appear in the form of a “Priority Access” sign lodged into the plant life, followed by a bank of screens showing the status of departing flights, which is just one example-in addition to text notifications and mobile boarding passes-of how American Airline passengers receive a streamlined, mobile boarding experience. As a school of fish darts in front of the camera, blurring the panorama, the water evaporates and the couple comes out in an airport terminal. “Fly without putting yourself on pause,” a narrator intones. “Be yourself, nonstop.”

This latest project from Greene and de Thame follows joint work on big-name clients Verizon, Allstate and CSX. “One of the reasons why Absolute can consistently create very high level VFX is because we establish production partners that demand excellence,” noted Absolute EP Sally Heath. “In the case of Dirk and Gerard, they’ve developed a special chemistry that manifests itself in everything they do. We’re proud of this partnership and look forward to teaming up with Believe Media in the very near future.”

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Client: American Airlines

Spot Title(s):

Scuba, After School

Air Date: October 2011

Agency: TM Advertising

CD: Bernard Park

AD: Brian Wood

Director of Broadcast Production: Hal Dantzler

Producer: Stephanie Murdoch

Prod Co: Believe Media

Director: Gerard de Thame

DP: Mick Coulter

EP: Michael McQuhae

Producer: Fabyan Daw

Editorial Co: Charlie Uniform Tango

Editor(s): Jack Waldrip, Artie Pena

EP: Mary Alice

Post/Effects Co: Absolute

Lead VFX/Flame Artist: Dirk Greene

VFX Artist(s): Warren Paleos, Krissy Nordella, Alex Gabucci

Designer/Animator(s): Ed Manning, Jim Vidal

EP: Sally Heath

Producer: Melissa Stephano

Telecine Co: Smoke & Mirrors – NY

Colorist: Ben Eagleton

Managing Director: Jo Morgan

Producer: Lauren Shawe

Audio Post Co: Charlie Uniform Tango

Audio Engineer: Jake Kluge

Shoot Location: Nassau, Bahamas (


); LA, California (

After School


About Absolute

Founded in 2004 by David Smith, one of the world’s leading Flame artists, Absolute is a high-end VFX studio working within the commercial, emerging media, music video, and film communities. With offices in New York and London, Absolute over the years has collected numerous industry accolades including two BTAA awards, a D&AD pencil, a Cannes Lion, an APA Collection Diamond, three Andy wins and an MTV video statue. The New York office opened in 2007, helmed by CD Dirk Greene, to further facilitate Absolute’s international client roster with a growing Flame and CG service.

More info: TRUST 646 452 3388 (NY) 310 451 5153 (LA)