The making of

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The Script

“Aviatrix Bee”

In the headquarters of the bee flight squadron. The last pre-op briefing in front of a large map.

A meadow with wild flowers has been detected some distance away and the task is to reconnoitre it more closely.

A pretty young female bee volunteers for the op. She has pilot’s goggles and is wearing a pilot’s helmet and a yellow and black striped overall. The aviatrix bee secures a flight apparatus to her back and flies off on her dangerous mission.

She finds the remote meadow and busily collects the pollen.

On the flight home she is attacked by hornets but can escape the assailants and returns unhurt to be hailed a heroine.



“The call was loud and clear – search for the very best, search for what has still not been detected. And she was the chosen one, chosen to find the big clearing deep in the undiscovered forest where nature was unspoiled. And despite the many dangers she managed to return home and show her female colleagues the way.

Darbo Honey in 7 fine varieties — Only what is pure and natural is in Darbo.

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My Approach

During the quote and treatment stage it was necessary to work out the technical approach for the whole commercial.

The script dictated that we needed a hero flying Aviatrix bee/woman.

We had explored various options, including the obvious choice of rigging and actual wire work for suspending and making her actually fly through the air.

In the research though we found a more interesting and low-tech approach, one used in the COLDPLAY video clip: ‘Strawberry Swing’.

This technique suited the quirky DARBO look.

The other solution we had to find was the fact that all worker bees are alike, so how would we duplicate the Aviatrix bees.

Casting budgets, wardrobe and styling budgets, Art Department and Post Production budgets all come into play, and in the end I decided the best way to achieve a unique visual style was to build a real set for the Beehive scenes and create a fantasy/stylised exterior environment for the flying scenes achieved in post production.

These two worlds needed to look like one. Here are the initial visual concept images for the Beehive set design, and the hand painted water colour style for the topical map environments that would be animated after filming.

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How to Make Aviatrix Fly

From lying on her belly... ... to hand stand

Lying on her side


The animation company did some initial pre-vis work so we all understood the shots and the positions we needed to shoot the Aviatrix Bee in on-set with a Canon 5D stills camera.

This section of the commercial is in-camera stop frame animation of the Aviatrix Bee.

Testing was crucial, so we had a dancer help us initially as we needed to work out with the rigging guys how the harness might work and what sort of costume specifics may be required.

It was incredibly difficult for our actress, as she needed to hold each position whilst we changed the wings a little every shot so it looked like they were beating as she flew through the air.

During this testing phase Nigel Mortimer from Blockhead, New Zealand tested the Canon 5D and how the stop frame animation would work and how many frames we needed per shot.

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Here are the shots of our cast before their transformations into their respective characters.

Aviatrix Bee would be replicated many times using post production.


The reference

The design and the finished wings

Hero Aviatrix and her clones as composited for the final commercial

Operations Bee as seen in the final commercial

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Building a Beehive

Nerijus Narmontas was my incredible Production Designer on this project. It was the most complex and amazing design.

To this day I’m unsure how he worked out the angles, the curves and the honeycomb wall pieces.

Absolutely everything was designed and made by hand from scratch.

It was a passionate team of people who built this Beehive and it was a perfect and unique room for my Operations Bee and Aviatrix Bees to stage their performances.

“With my Producer Bonnie Fay and Creative Director Franz Merlicek , DMB Vienna.

It has been a 9 year creative collaboration for me with Mr Merlicek and the most rewarding experience of my career.”

The final set - everything was made except for a very few props that were brought in.

Every detail was considered and designed.

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The Map

We needed to design and print out a real map to actually be on the table for the Operations Bee to point at.

Yukfoo New Zealand, were the animation company we chose to animate the hand painted backgrounds for the flying sequence so it made sense for them to design it, using the same artist that would illustrate the backgrounds for Aviatrix.

We then printed it out and used it as a real prop in our set.

Once again every detail was taken care of, a small Aviatrix was made, paper flowers and gold honeycomb ingots.

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One World

We had filmed our flying Aviatrix against a white background and purposely had a shadow on the paper.

Yukfoo had the challenge of matching their watercolour illustrations back to what we had shot for real in the Beehive.

They really did a fantastic job and created a totally unique landscape for Aviatrix and of course the Darbo Brand.

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The Team


Mag. Josef Goller


Creative Director - Franz Merlicek

CD Copy -  A. Reisenbuchler

Client service - H. Schliefsteiner/D. Smykal

Producer - Eva Hessler


Producer - Bonnie Fay

Director - Tracey Rowe


Managing Director - Indre Petrukaitiene

Executive producer - Linas Martinkenas

Producer - Mrs. Gerda Serbentaite


Post production supervisor - Nigel Mortimer

Producer - Libby Behrins


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