Tourism Australia Walkabout - Kate / New York - (2008) :90 (Australia)

Tourism Australia today launched "Transformation", a new advertising campaign being rolled out in 22 countries around the world. Baz Luhrmann, known for his movies Moulin Rouge and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was responsible for the television and cinema commercials set in New York, Shanghai and Western Australia.

Original music for the New York commercial, Billabong, was composed by Sydney composer and song writer Elliott Wheeler, from sound and music boutique Nylon Studios.

The music for the New York spot was composed and recorded within a 48 hour timeframe in early September. Film directors Baz Luhrmann and Bruce Hunt called Nylon Studios on a Friday night a month before the launch, asking for a demo to be completed by the following Monday. Elliott composed two pieces on the Saturday before recording them with a string ensemble from Sydney Symphony Orchestra on the Sunday morning.

Once the creative team had chosen one of the tracks further work included the addition of multiple layers of piano tracks to create a a signature sound for the main piano melody, and careful sound engineering and mix by Wayne Connolly. Encouraged by warm response to the soundtrack, Wheeler has written an extended version with lyrics recorded by Abby Dobson from Sydney band Leonardo’s Bride.

"We wanted to use strings, but not on such a scale that we’d be dictating to the audience what they were meant to feel, so in the end we went with a much smaller chamber ensemble. We put a lot of energy into finding a balance between the intimacy expressed in the dialogue, and the grandness seen in the cinematography."