Custom Video Production for McDonnell Douglas

REALLY Simple Marketing Solutions

Often the simplest solution is the best. The Association was hired to provide our corporate video production services for McDonnell Douglas. This custom video production had a specific message requiring a creative solution.

McDonnell Douglas Logo

McDonnell Douglas developed the No Tail Rotor helicopter, also known as The NOTAR.  Removing the tail rotor eliminates the danger of walking around behind the helicopter. Since conventional helicopters’ tail rotor blades spin so fast, they virtually disappear – sometimes people walk into them and get the vegomatic treatment. Another big plus of the NOTAR McDonnell Douglas wanted to feature is the system virtually eliminates noise, as the main noise from a helicopter is the tail rotor, not the big blades above the cabin.

Problem: Show how the new McDonnell Douglas helicopter is incredibly quiet.

Creative Solution:
Have it land and take off without awakening a sleeping man and his dog.

The Scene: Historic Old Tucson (scenes of many Western movies).

We cast an older fellow to dress up like a prospector, rocked back on a chair taking a nap on the front porch of the cabin.  At his feet, his trusty watchdog ‘Snappy’, who doesn’t miss a thing. The helicopter will land in the background and then take off again and we’ll see if they can do it without waking up either the prospector or the doggie.

The shoot day arrives with excellent weather and the video production crew is ready to go. The prospector looks sleepy and the dog is ready to go, although he looks a little “tight”, like a Swiss watch that won’t wind any more. The dog wrangler says that the dog’s not about to freak out, he’s just shivering in the early morning cold. So, we radio in the helicopter.  Here he comes. Roll camera.  The helicopter lands. The helicopter starts to lift off. The dog jumps.

Take Two:
  We radio in the helicopter. Roll camera. The helicopter lands. The helicopter starts to lift off. The dog jumps.

Take Three: We radio in the helicopter. “Roll camera! Steady everybody.” The helicopter lands. Somebody sneezes.  The dog jumps.

Take Four:  We radio in the helicopter.  “Roll camera! Steady everybody.” The helicopter lands. Nothing moves.  A lizard a half mile a way skitters down a rock. The dog jumps.

Take Five:  Dog jumps.

Take Six: Dog yawns.

Take Seven: Dog wags his tail at his wrangler.

We have a “conference” with everyone EXCEPT the dog owner.

“Have we got a clean landing?”


“So let’s get a clean take off.”

“It won’t work.  The helicopter won’t land in the same place.  So we have to re-stage the landing and takeoff until we get a good one.”

We motion over the dog owner.

“What can you give the dog to calm her down?”

“Nothing,” she responds.

“Do you have a staple gun?”

No one laughs.

“She’ll get it this time,” she promises.


We radio in the helicopter. “Roll camera! Steady everybody.” The helicopter lands. The dog doesn’t move. The helicopter takes off.  We watch the dog.

The dog doesn’t move.

We’ve got the shot!

“CUT !!!!”

It is a very quiet helicopter. See our final cut of the spot below, and compare the noise with the video (not produced by The Association) of a conventional helicopter:

To find out more about creating your own custom video production, contact us here.

Leave a Reply