Gravity team make drinks commercial in real-life zero-G

Having used digital effects to send Sandra Bullock into space, the Framestore team experienced zero gravity for real for this new ad.

When director Alfonso Cuaron came to VFX supremos Framestore to make Gravity, the idea of filming in zero G for real was rejected as totally impractical. Instead they spent three years painstakingly creating the Oscar-winning movie in pixels (find out how they did that here). But for this new commercial for Britvic's Robinsons Squash'd they finally got a chance to shoot in zero gravity for real.

Filming took place on a specially modified plane known as the 'vomit comet', which conducts parabolic flights that give its passengers 15 seconds of weightlessness.

A crew of eight were tasked with filming a water balloon containing the drink being burst with a pin, resulting in the water droplets floating through the air, ready to be haphazardly sucked up by two passengers through a straw.

Equipment chaos

With the plane taking 12 parabolic flights, the team had a number of attempts at the scene. But the need to capture everything in a single 15 second take, with the effects of zero gravity playing havoc with a normally assured film crew, presented a nightmare scenario, says Mike McGee, founder and co-director of Framestore.

"Things got out of control pretty quickly," he says. "Bits of our equipment floated away, cables floated up in front of the camera, cameras pointed in the wrong direction, water flew treacherously around electrics and the crew spun around feeling uncontrollably nauseous."

The ad is part of a wider campaign to encourage people to drink Robinsons Squash outside the home. It centres around the launch of Squash'd, a pocket sized capsule of highly concentrated squash (66ml makes 20 drinks), which is now available to buy in major UK supermarkets.


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.