Nice Shoes colorist Ron Sudul recently finished a pair of stirring international spots for the nonprofit group One Million Trees. The studio teamed up with The Academy of Film & the Arts directors Armondo Acosta, Frederik Cassiers and Martijn De Schrijver, modifying their raw black-and-white footage with wisps of color.
The projects are journeys through the forests of Flanders, Brakelbos and Overpelt in Belgium. A mix of aerial views and shots from the dense forest floors, the spots explore the human relationship with trees. “Friends in Trees” features a man and young girl ascending into the soaring branches. “Lost without Them” follows a fleet of helicopters in pursuit of one man wandering through the woods.
The Academy of Film & the Arts sought Sudul for the project after admiring his work coloring Paris with a similar ambiance in a Pierre Morel-directed spot starring Justin Timberlake for Givenchy‘s Play fragrance. The production company told Sudul to run with his instincts and do the color grade unsupervised.
“The Academy really had a lot of trust in me, just based upon my reel, which was very reassuring,” said Sudul. “When it came time for the review, they said that we had nailed their look right away. The campaign was shot beautifully, so it was that much easier to put the effect on and make it look good.”
Nice Shoes turned the spot around in just a few days, running two or three layers of color onto most portions of the film, for a total of five minutes of footage for each :30 spot. They balanced this work along the campaign’s global production pipeline, which ranged from the West Coast for editorial and back to Europe for finishing.
“Since this was for a nonprofit cause, rather than a commercial endeavor, the Academy really wanted to make this an artistic effort, which is why they sought Ron and allowed him to exercise creative license,” noted Nice Shoes senior producer Pat Portela. “What he created is a really gorgeous example of the beautiful work we pride ourselves on producing at Nice Shoes.”