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Airbnb's Magical Minatare Worlds Take Us to the Northern Lights

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Nexus Studios create a stop-motion Christmas campaign showcasing a series of magical miniature worlds for Airbnb’s 2021 Gift Card

Airbnb's Magical Minatare Worlds Take Us to the Northern Lights

Directors Jack Cunningham and Nicolas Ménard teamed up to create a series of charming stop motion vignettes in time for the holiday season. Joining forces with Airbnb, the mini films depict real experiences and locations available through their platforms, with all four delightful scenes made to the scale of the Airbnb Gift Card. 

Viewers are invited into four different settings including an Alpine ski lodge, viewing the ethereal Northern Lights to a three horse trail ride and family reunion. Lovingly created using the stop-frame 'replacement animation' technique, the films are rich in authenticity whilst retaining a handmade aesthetic. As the project developed the team devised creative and sometimes unlikely hacks to achieve the end results. In the Northern Lights scene, Jack and Nicolas, alongside their DOP Ian Forbes, ended up attaching cotton wool to fishing string to capture the blooming nature of chimney smoke against the magical night sky.

As the stars of the show, each character had its own journey pre-shoot, from pencil sketch through to 3D modelling and printing. The transfer from pixels to plastic was all meticulously managed by Nicolas and Jack's skilled team. 

Jack Cunningham and Nicolas Ménard, Directors, Nexus Studios:

“The shoot was a blast. Clapham Road feels more like being at a uni filled to the brim with talented, like minded creatives. All the stresses of a shoot are comforted by a supportive network of crew working at the top of their game. So when you realize that Horse 3A is missing a pose from its walk cycle, it's not the end of the world, and there will be a fix.”

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Production Credits

CLIENT: Airbnb

VP, Creative: Scott Trattner

VP, Creative: Eric Grunbaum

Director, Brand Creative: Bekah Sirrine

Creative Lead, Copy: Krista Wicklund

Creative Lead, Art: Gustavo Sousa

Creative Lead, Art: Michael Kremer

Creative Lead, Design: Evan Nagan

Creative Lead, Motion: Zipeng Zhu

Creative Lead, Copy: Jason Ferguson

Art Director: Anna Salazar

Creative Production Lead: Bud Johnston

Executive Producer: Anastassia Babanskaia

Senior Marketing Lead: Kelly Phillips


PRODUCTION: Nexus Studios

Directors: Nicolas Ménard & Jack Cunningham

Senior Producer: Cindy Burnay

Technical Lead (3D print process): Dave Hunt

VFX Supervisor: German Diez

Studio Production Assistant: Violeta Fellay

Character Designer: James Graham

Concept Designer: Laurie Rollitt

3D Animator: Alex Toufaili

3D Animator: Rémy Herissé

3D Animator: Julien Loth

3D Modeller: Andy Hickinbottom

3D Modeller: Matt Clark

3D Modeller: Andy Spence

3D Modeller: Francis-Xavier Martins

3D Rigging: Minimo


Production Manager: Caroline Milsom

Director Of Photography: Ian Thorpe

1st AC / Motion Control: Max Halstead

2nd AC / BTS: George Warren

Animator: Andy Biddle

B roll Animator: Matt Fearenga

Animation Rigger: Robin Jackson

Model Maker SFX Supervisor: Simon Allen

Model Maker SFX Standby: Lukasz Trembowski

Gaffer: Elliot Beach

Electrician: Sami Weller

Runner/Trainee PA: Polly Burnay

Runner: Lilia Turki Basla


EDIT: Nexus Studios

Editors: Dave Slade, Zaki Fulford, Ben Hunt


POST: Nexus Studios

VFX Supervisor: German Diez

Compositor: Cintia Coll

Compositor: Gareth Tredrea

Compositor: Sander Saks

Compositor: Lisa Mandelli


GRADE: Black Kite

Colorist: George Kyriacou

Production Coordinator: Jade Denne

Senior Producer: Hannah Ruddleston


SOUND: Barking Owl

Sound Designer: Stuart Welch

Assistant Mixer: Mikayla Peterson

Assistant Mixer: Lily McCann

Executive Producer: Ashley Benton


2D animator: Iris Abols

2D animator: Duncan Gist

Set Design

SET DESIGN + MODELS: Asylum Models & Effects

Models & Effects Supervisor: Simon Allen

SFX Standby & Model Maker: Lukasz "Wukii" Trembowski

Model Maker: Josh Guess

Model Maker: James Upton

Senior Model Makers: Lee Sutton

Senior Model Makers: Peter Tilbe

CNC Operator: Jonathan Wanford

CNC Operator: Paul Boyd

Electronic Engineer: Dan Coffey

3D Printing

3D PRINTING & HAND PAINTING: Andy Gent / Arch Model Studio

Supervising Modeller: Andy Gent

Modeller: Molly Porter

Modeller: Agatha Roudaut

Modeller: Sarah Welsman

Modeller: Nancy O'connor

Modeller: Angela Pang

Modeller: Meghan Hursthous

Nexus Studios, Thu, 16 Dec 2021 11:24:00 GMT