Design-focused production studio Leviathan recently collaborated with HELLO! director Paul Schneider and creatives from advertising agency Factory Design Labs for a campaign for The North Face – supplier of high-end outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear.
For the integrated, cross-promotional campaign launching this week in conjunction with Dick’s Sporting Goods, deliverables included a :30 broadcast spot featuring The North Face athletes Hilaree O’Neill, Kris Erickson, Cory Richards and Ingrid Backstrom as they shop at a Dick’s store while also being shown in extreme alpine settings atop various mountains. As conceived by creatives from Factory Design Labs, the spot and four 2:00 in-store videos feature subtle winter effects, artful transitions from inside the store to the outdoor settings and original graphics, all of which were created by Leviathan under Schneider’s direction. Leviathan also handled all of the editing and compositing in-house.
“We have a great relationship with Paul Schneider, who used to work with Leviathan principal Matt Daly at Digital Kitchen some years ago,” said Leviathan’s executive producer Chad Hutson. “Paul is well known for capturing authentic emotion, natural performances and for creating mesmerizing match cuts. For this project, we knew that the editorial would largely drive the campaign’s concepts – and that the visual effects would have to be subtle, if not completely transparent. Given his extensive hands-on knowledge of VFX, Paul was a great collaborator, and the team from Factory Design Labs was a dream to work with.”
Beginning with gorgeous outdoor footage of The North Face athletes climbing and skiing in extreme locales, Schneider also shot new footage of the athletes inside a Dick’s Sporting Goods store using a Red Epic camera system. At Leviathan’s studio, Andrew Maggio edited the spots using Apple Final Cut Pro, and snow effects were created with a combination of Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects. Other tracking and effects shots were completed using Nuke from The Foundry, along with After Effects. Final color is courtesy of Nolo, and project finishing was handled by Hootenanny.
“This was a great example of a ‘less is more’ approach to postproduction,” said Leviathan’s executive creative director Jason White. “Our plan was to add subtle, natural VFX elements, and much of our involvement centered around removing unwanted visual elements in the footage to craft perfect shots. Coloring and finishing outdoor footage is never an easy task, and Hello! and Nolo did a great job recording and grading the footage to look spectacular.”
“Being a relatively new company, much of what we’ve become known for is high-end CG and experiential work, so it’s very nice to shine a light on our team’s visual effects roots as well,” he added. “We’re stoked to show agencies and production partners what we’re capable of, and we’re very proud to have been part of this extraordinary team effort.”
The agency’s creative team consists of chief creative officer Blake Ebel, creative VP/director Andrew Price, associate creative director/copywriter Tom Goodrich, art director Greg Ryan and producer Melany Fehrenbach.