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Top NZ Photographer Gets The Ultimate Billing

Top New Zealand Photographer Gets The Ultimate Billing

Acclaimed New Zealand landscape photographer Andris Apse has achieved the ultimate exhibition space - on the side of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400.

His images have been selected by Air New Zealand as the design backdrops for its final two The Lord of the Rings movie-themed aircraft - the first of which rolled out of the hangar at Auckland Airport today, and is believed to be the largest flying billboard in the world.

Based in the West Coast of the South Island, Apse has won numerous photographic awards in his 21 year career and is a passionate Lord of the Rings fan. His work - often shot in low light with glowering skies, is clearly evocative of the landscapes and moods in Peter Jackson's cinematic interpretation of The Lord of the Rings.

Today's Boeing 747-400 unveiling shows an image taken above Lake Wanaka looking towards the Matukituki Valley - a sweeping backdrop of tussock, lake and mountain, inset with the faces of Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas) . As someone who has spent a career capturing the beauty of the New Zealand landscape, Apse is delighted to see his work featuring so prominently in the Air New Zealand Airline to Middle-earth campaign.

"I've always had a deep affection for Air New Zealand as the airline gave me my first big break with a commission back in 1982 for New Zealand landscapes. This set me on the path of being a landscape photographer at a time when there was virtually no market for my work. The airline's role in lifting New Zealand's profile overseas is hugely important so I'm delighted our relationship has come full circle and I can support such a highly visible campaign," he said.

Wanaka Tourism's Chief Executive Officer John Alldred described the decision to feature a local landscape in the mammoth Boeing 747 mural as "fantastic".

"Interest in The Lord of the Rings is huge all over the world. With much of our surrounding landscape starring in the trilogy our region is increasingly identified with the Middle-earth story. We couldn't buy this sort of exposure. Thank you Air New Zealand for taking Wanaka to the world!" said Mr Alldred.

The decision to choose real photographic images for the third and fourth themed aircraft, rather than the more graphic approach used as a backdrop for the first two aircraft, stemmed from a desire to create a stronger, more compelling tourism story for New Zealand as the motion picture trilogy reaches its climax.

Another of Apse's images has been selected for the airline's fourth and final The Lord of the Rings-themed aircraft, due to roll out next week, but exact details of which New Zealand region will feature are being kept under wraps.

© MMIII New Line Productions, Inc. The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Airline To Middle-Earth Scores Flying Hat-Trick With New Lord Of The Rings 747

Air New Zealand, Airline to Middle-earth, today unveiled its latest The Lord of the Rings-themed aircraft as it steps up its worldwide campaign to harness the tourism influence of the motion picture trilogy.

With the New Zealand world premiere of the final installment of the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, just over two weeks away, the airline revealed its third themed aircraft to take the Middle-earth message around the world.

The stunning design, which stretches 48 metres along the giant Boeing 747-400 fuselage, depicts the faces of stars Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas) as part of the giant decal, and covers an area of 800 square metres.

The third aircraft, which heads to Los Angeles tonight for a photocall with Viggo Mortensen signals the start of an intensive Air New Zealand global marketing campaign to capitalise on the motion picture trilogy's huge profile.

This intensive four-month campaign will build on an existing marketing platform created through the airline's two-year promotional partnership with New Line Cinema, the makers of the motion picture trilogy, and initial work carried out in key markets around the world in connection with the second installment, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

"As the largest private sector promoter of New Zealand tourism, our investment in The Lord of the Rings promotion is unequalled," said Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Ralph Norris.

"The final installment of this motion picture trilogy offers unparalled opportunities for us through massive media and consumer interest in the film to lift the profile of New Zealand - both as Middle-earth and also as a remarkable destination for today's travellers."

Research figures from Tourism New Zealand conducted amongst international visitors to New Zealand earlier this year showed that almost one in 10 was influenced by The Lord of the Rings motion pictures, citing the trilogy as one of the reasons they chose to visit New Zealand.

The third themed aircraft joins two others, launched for the second installment of the motion picture trilogy - a Boeing 747-400 carrying the faces of Hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) and a Boeing 767-300 with Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Arwen (Liv Tyler). These aircraft have already flown the equivalent of 250 times around the globe displaying their giant billboards.

A fourth Lord of the Rings aircraft will be unveiled shortly to complete the specially themed fleet that will take the Middle-earth message around the Air New Zealand network.

© MMIII New Line Productions, Inc. The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


The Airline To Middle-Earth Design Challenge

Believed to be the largest flying billboard ever created, today's newly themed Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 is a logistical as well as artistic triumph.

Made up of 360 individual pieces, the 800 square metre jigsaw curves around the fuselage and engines of the 185 tonne aircraft.

The overall size of the image is 20 per cent larger than the airline's other The Lord of the Rings movie-themed Boeing 747, stretching more than 48 metres along the side of the aircraft and up to eight metres deep from the centre of the roof round to the cargo belly.

For the first time on an Air New Zealand themed aircraft, the design also wraps around all four engines.

For the Auckland office of Designworks, the design agency who also created the decals for the airline's first two The Lord of the Rings-themed aircraft, the project presented a number of unique challenges.

Senior account manager Karen Jones recalled the first task was to design new aircraft liveries which were not just repetitions of the first two aircraft already completed. However any new design ideas were clearly subject to the same restrictions of working with a giant curved canvas.

"The solution was to come up with a masculine and feminine theme in which the selected characters all have a relationship back to the central figure of Aragorn, " Ms Jones explained.

"We also wanted to strengthen the compelling tourism message of New Zealand as Middle-earth, and we achieved this by increasing the overall size of the decal and using the dramatic images of New Zealand landscape photographer Andris Apse to help tell the story."

The Boeing 747-400 unveiled today takes a masculine theme, while the fourth and final themed aircraft - which will roll out in a week's time - picks up a feminine story.

The majestic landscape of the Matukituki Valley near Lake Wanaka (in the South Island region of Otago) provides the backdrop to the giant portraits of Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom).

Although the aviation marking film used for the decal is barely thicker than cling film, the sheer size of the image means the decal actually weighs 106 kilos.

The specialist film is perforated to allow for pressurisation changes in the aircraft and designed to withstand speeds of up to 1,000 kilometres per hour.

Tested by the US Airforce and approved by the US Federal Aviation Authority, the film is manufactured by 3M to cope with the enormous temperature fluctuation experienced on an aircraft fuselage surface, from -60C while cruising at 35,000 feet to 60C during prolonged spells on the tarmac mid-summer in destinations such a Los Angeles.


Given the sheer scale of the image, the task of applying it to the aircraft fuselage was planned with military precision to ensure it could be completed during the limited timeframe of a routine 54-hour engineering check.

As the largest single project ever undertaken by the Hamilton-based outdoor graphic manufacturing installation specialist AdMark Visual Imaging, a team of 28 worked on the mural - from computer designers who broke up the image into manageable jigsaw pieces, digital printers who produced the vast images onto self-adhesive film, a finishing team who cut out the individual pieces and finally, the application team who worked around the clock at Air New Zealand's engineering base in Auckland to fix the decal to the aircraft.

When it came to the engines, the design was actually painted rather than stuck on, due to the difficulty of trying to fit decal pieces around the unusually curved shape of the engine casing. A special template was made and the design spray painted through it, similar to a stencil process.

A total of 585 man hours were needed to fix the vast mural to the aircraft, which had to be painstakingly cleaned with an alcohol solution first to ensure the self-adhesive film would attach firmly.

© MMIII New Line Productions, Inc. The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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