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2012 campaign for The North Face and Dick's

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The principals of design-focused production studio Leviathan are very proud to detail their collaborations with Farm League director Tim Wheeler and executives from advertising agency Factory Design Labs and The North Face, the world's premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear.


For the integrated, cross-promotional campaign launched on 20 Nov. in conjunction with Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG), deliverables include a dramatic :30 broadcast spot directed by Tim Wheeler of Farm League. Last year's high-profile campaign for The North Face from Factory Design Labs also involved design and visual effects from Leviathan, whose artists have once again contributed their talents to the new spot, which features The North Face athlete Callum Pettit gearing-up for an alpine adventure from inside a DSG store.

Widely considered to be one of the world's best big-mountain skiers, Pettit is introduced with on-screen text listing his name and his vital stats. As he secures his Ratchet Triclimate jacket from The North Face, the V.O. announces, "In Winter, self-reliance is essential, protection vital, gear indispensable," and on-screen graphics convey specs for the gear – and the temperature, which quickly plummets below freezing. When Pettit bends down to latch his boots, viewers see ice spreading across the store's floor, and suddenly, the store's ceiling opens up. Racks of clothes and the building's architectural framework then move away, momentarily revealing Pettit atop a snow-covered mountain peak that he soon begins shredding. "So if The North Face athletes don't trust the gear out here," the V.O. concludes as a snow-covered Pettit appears back inside the store, "we don't carry it in here."

The spot's winter effects, artful transitions from inside the store to the outdoor settings and back again, as well as all the original graphics, were conceived by Leviathan based on conversations with FDL and Wheeler. Leviathan also handled all the editing and compositing in-house, as well as creating the custom end tags for The North Face now appearing in many other campaign elements. The DSG version of the broadcast spot can now be seen online at

"How we move in and out of these scenes was up to director Tim Wheeler and our crew," said Leviathan's executive producer Chad Hutson. "Besides the inclusion of floating type and infographics, everyone involved really wanted to keep the spot feeling natural and realistic. Our creative director Bradon Webb felt we could incorporate a number of ice and snow effects that would be subtle but powerful. For the dramatic transition from inside to the snowy peak, we built the interior in CG then deconstructed it and the product racks to reveal the great outdoors, which was a thorough undertaking to maintain realism."

Although many of the featured skiing shots come from existing footage, Wheeler and his crew did shoot original live-action footage of Pettit inside a Chicago-area DSG store before traveling to Calgary to capture him on a summit. To ensure all the assets would combine seamlessly in the finished story, Webb and his Leviathan colleagues worked very closely with the agency and production company executives to storyboard and pre-visualize every facet. A Red Epic camera system was used for live-action, and at Leviathan's studio, Andrew Maggio edited the spots using Apple Final Cut Pro. Snow effects were created with a combination of Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects, and 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.

"The greatest visual effects challenge involved removing elements of the retail store environment and replacing them with virtual and practical outdoor elements," added Leviathan's visual effects director Matt Daly. "We recorded ice growing on camera here in our studio specifically to track in our 3D environment during the store transformation sequence. Entire sections of the store were modeled in 3D with Maya. We also employed Autodesk 1-2-3D to recreate 3D racks of clothing using store location photographs we'd shot on set."

"It's a warm-and-fuzzy feeling to be entrusted not only with the design elements of The North Face, but also the complex visual effects that came with this concept," concluded Jason White, Leviathan's executive creative director. "It's great to collaborate with such a professional team from the initial concept development phase all the way through to completion."

The agency's project team consisted of executive creative director Andrew Price, creative director Josh Willis, ACD/copywriter Jeff Jenks, senior art director Greg Ryan, and director of broadcast production Melany Fehrenbach. For Farm League, credit also goes to executive producer Tim Lynch and line producer Leigh Goldstone. The campaign's music and sound design are courtesy of Joel Corelitz of Waveplant, with VO recording and final mix credits going to Another Country. Complete project credits are available upon request.

To learn more about The North Face, please visit

About Leviathan
Leviathan is a design-focused production studio specializing in creating large-scale visual experiences across all media. Champions of breakthrough design and branding, Leviathan's leaders draw from experiences earned inside leading digital agencies, production companies, VFX and motion studios. Also leveraging the talents of extraordinary designers, technologists, developers and producers, the studio develops and delivers cutting edge content that maximizes the capabilities of today's media platforms. Since launching in 2010, the studio's collaborations with agencies, brands and leading filmmakers have rendered scores of sensational projects across all markets and industries and earned award recognition from the Association of Independent Music, Communication Arts Magazine, the AICP, The D Show, The One Club, and the Themed Entertainment Association. To learn more about Leviathan, please visit, or call executive producer Chad Hutson at +1.312.878.1500

Last changed: Sep 04 2014 at 3:12 PM



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