Question: The VNA’s 2022 safety video has received much applause from viewers. How are your feelings right now?
Director Phuong Vu: I’m very happy. From the beginning of the project until its completion, I was very worried. Now, when I see people’s good reactions about it, that worry has almost been relieved. I’m really happy.
I received an order from Vietnam Airlines for making the video two years ago. This is a big order. Vietnam Airlines is the national airline; and this project is important because the video will be shown onboard on all VNA flights, so I face great pressure to implement this project. The previous editions of the video were produced by experienced directors. I am the youngest one yet, so that is also a great pressure for me.
Vietnam Airlines’ latest flight safety video impressed viewers on its scenes. How did you come up with the idea of setting such unique scenes for the video?
Actually, I didn’t have any obvious inspiration at the beginning of the project. Everything comes from what I have learned and how I manage to make the content of the flight safety instructions fit shooting scenes.
From the initial idea, I drafted the script for the video, from that script I analysed and set the scenes. I want the flight safety content to be delivered in an effective and beautiful manner.
Scenes from the new safety video of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines
It is said that the pre-production phase of the project last up to two years, can you share more about this process?
We received the order for project last year and it was planned to be released in the same year. The crew made survey trips and completed the pre-production process; however, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out when we were about to start the filming, so we had to stop.
When the pandemic was basically under control, the project was resumed and our team had to prepare all the preproduction process again because the appearance of the scenes had changed after a year. We had to return to the filming location and surveyed them again.
The choreography of dances and choosing the right costume for each safety instruction were also complicated issues for us to deal with during the production of the video.
What is the hardest part of the project’s implementation?
I find everything difficult. Each stage posed certain challenges for us, from pre-production and production to post-production. All the scenes were shot outdoors, and all of the filming days were rainy days.
During the pre-production, we had to create a sound and tight plan for the filming because the crew was very crowded with up to 150 people, and lots of equipment.
In addition, during the filming of the video, the weather was so unpredictable that we had to prepare backups for each plan. Just a few minutes late could cost one-day delay for the filming.
Can you share several memorable moments during the making of the video?
From the beginning to the end of the project, they are all memorable memories. As the youngest director of the project, I have learned a lot. I had an opportunity to meet and work with veteran colleagues and gain valuable experience from them.
In two years, we travelled a lot, from the north to the south. There was a day I was in the Central Highland city of Pleiku in the morning, and then travelled to the northern province of Ha Giang in the evening to film a scene in Dong Van District the next morning. It was a tough time, but a lot of fun also.
While in Quy Nhon, when it is close to the filming day, we still sat together and got confused because all the settings for the filming were unreasonable. However, we worked together and find way to address the problem.
The making of the new safety video of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (Photo courtesy of director Phuong Vu)
Each filming day was a special memory. The first day was set in Dong Thap Province. It was extremely sunny in the morning, but it rained heavily.
A few days later, when we arrived in Thanh Hoa Province, it was also raining. The day before it was sunny and the next day it rained all day, our team had to devise plans to deal with the issue of weather, and everything went smoothly even though it was not as I expected.
That time, we came to prepare the scene two days in advance, but our setting was completely destroyed by the rain and strong wind, so we had to prepare it all over again.
What is the goal you had set for the in-flight safety video?
Vietnam Airlines requested us to present safe flight content. I think the reason why the airline placed the order with me because they want to bring a new breath of life to the content of flight safety instructions.
There were a lot of changes from the initial idea to the final product, following numerous talks and exchanges between our team and Vietnam Airlines.
In addition to effectively delivering safe flight instructions, we were also requested to promote the land and people of Vietnam via the video. The project was completed at a time when we have fundamentally put the COVID-19 pandemic under control, so we want to convey a positive energy to viewers.
Regarding the goals for the project, the first is to inspire people to travel so that they can admire natural charming scenes in Vietnam.
Secondly, I want to create a beautiful product which is seen from the perspective of a young Vietnamese person.
Thank you so much for sharing with us!