Apple's breathtaking Airpods ad is a feat of in-camera magic

A man bounces along sidewalks and walls—most of which was created with practical effects

Published On
Jun 27, 2019

Editor's Pick

In Apple’s latest short film, music and fantasy merge seamlessly, turning an ordinary day into an impossible journey. Much like “Welcome Home” before it, “Bounce” reimagines what life can look like when the feelings and freedom technology enables become reality.

A man, tired and dejected, puts his best face forward before heading out the door. But once outside, he realizes the world isn’t as hard as he feared. Instead, the gritty environment around him cushions his falls and helps him leap to new heights. The spot is directed by Oscar Hudson, who's repped out of Pulse Films and has worked with groups like Radiohead and indie band Teleman for Ikea.

As an ad for Apple’s wireless AirPod headphones, the spot was fittingly created without the use of wires or a harness. In fact, almost all of the gravity-defying movement in the spot was made using practical effects, not CGI in post.

The team shot outdoor scenes in Kiev, Ukraine, before recreating the entire town on a set inside the country’s largest airplane hangar. The “ground,” however, was built six feet off the floor, to allow space for trampolines built into the sidewalks.

When the actor, a protégé of high-flying choreographer and acrobat Yoann Bourgeois, bounces off a grate in the film, he is actually bouncing off a grate made of trampoline material. Another trampoline is painted to look just like a real manhole cover.

For a scene where he falls sideways beside a woman on a bench, two practical shots were merged into a single one. The actor bounces off a specially-crafted surface, and the camera was turned 90 degrees to film the woman, who was strapped into a bench built into a wall. The entire production was shot in just 12 days, a feat that required 200 artists and technicians.

The spot is backed by a version of the 2016 song “I Learnt Some Jazz Today” by producer and songwriter Tessellated. The original track was less than two minutes long, so the Apple team worked with the musician to record a longer, single-length version now available on Apple Music.