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How The North Face Champions a ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Attitude

Behind the Work 411 Add to collection

C41 director Leone Balduzzi speaks to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about the new campaign which features futuristic elements, 3D wireframe scans and mirrors placed nowhere

How The North Face Champions a ‘Never Stop Exploring’ Attitude

To celebrate the release of The North Face’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, the outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment brand partnered with production agency C41 to create a timeless looking, futuristic spot that speaks to the explorers in us.

The surreal landscape and combination of VFX, floating mirrors and 3D scanned graphics, gives the impression that the brand is taking itself to unchartered territory, prioritising exploration yet keeping fashion in mind. With futurism at the forefront, bright colours contrast the dark, rugged nature of the landscape and give an overall explorative experience.

The campaign was directed by C41’s Leone Balduzzi and the shoot took place in Lanzarote, across two days - during both the daytime and at night - where each scene was crafted to match the landscape. Playing with contrast, creating a non-defined space and subtle 3D portals, all contributed to the furturustic nature of the campaign.

Leone speaks to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about directing the ‘otherworldy’ spot.

LBB> ‘Never Stop Exploring’ was the premise, what were the initial discussions about how you would achieve this?

Leone> When I started working on this project, I decided to start from the basics: exploration
has no limits, neither of time nor space. So, I wanted to make this concept of ‘Never Stop Exploring’ visible by setting the film in a place that knows no dimension of time or space, where the protagonists are free to explore and discover without barriers.

To emphasize this further, the setting had to be a non-defined space out of this world, with surreal landscapes that remind me of the moon or other planets. By using subtle 3D portals, I wanted to give the ‘Never Stop Exploring' an extra layer, to give the viewers the idea of landing in another dimension.

LBB> Was there anything that The North Face was eager to include in the campaign?

Leone> Connecting to the concept, a fundamental point of the campaign is the idea of the indefinite. Nature is the focus of the film, which has been shot in empty, open fields. This time, it is different from the nature we know, with surreal and indefinite landscapes that seem almost out of this world.

LBB> Where was this campaign shot and how long did the shooting process take?

Leone> The campaign was shot in Lanzarote, and the shooting itself took two days. We stayed in Lanzarote for a week to organize everything and to do the location scout.

LBB> You used bold colours and jackets to complement the darker background. How did you land on these specific colours to feature and why do they work so well?

Leone> Playing with contrast is a signature I always work with within my films. In this case, the combination of the bright colours of the collection and the desert atmosphere of the landscape was very natural. By shooting at night and choosing locations with darker elements, I could emphasize the colour contrast, and let the items pop out.

LBB> What were some of the camera and lighting techniques that you used to capture this outdoor landscape?

Leone> I shot the film with an [Arri] Alexa [camera]. I decided to use colourful lighting to give this otherworldly vibe. The use of infrared during the night scenes also allowed me to portray the landscape in different and interesting ways.

LBB> The digital green landscape and white line sketches complement the backing shots by giving them a futuristic look and feel. How did you land on this idea and were there any challenges in executing it?

Leone> To give this otherworldly feeling, I wanted to work with futuristic elements. The graphics play an important role in the film. In designing them, we were inspired by the graphics on the items of the collection, which reminds us of the wireframe 3D scans and gives a futuristic vibe.

LBB> How did you decide to use the effect with mirrors? And how did you account for them in the shooting process?

Leone> I really liked the idea of mirrors placed in the middle of nowhere, appearing in the desert landscape. In this case, as well as being an aesthetic choice, they also have the function to multiplicate the movement and give us different perspectives of the same action.

LBB> When it came to the editing process, did you face any unique challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?

Leone> As the 3D portals were very important to enhance the ‘going in another dimension' vibe. It was important to decide where to place the 3D portals and when to let the viewer understand the storyline of going into this otherworldly dimension.

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C41, Fri, 25 Feb 2022 16:12:00 GMT