Timberland’s Earthkeepers range of eco friendly outdoor footwear is humorously spotlighted in Friend, a new spot created by Leagas Delaney and directed by Noam Murro, with a little VFX magic from Framestore. The spot features a pair of hikers, one wearing Earthkeepers, one not. We open on the friends as they crest a ridge amidst magnificent, mountainous scenery.
As they soak up the spectacular view, an extra strong gust of wind violently dislodges one of them, hurling him down the mountainside. His downward progress halted by a convenient rock, he picks himself up and continues his trek.
But a bee spots him, and rushes off to roust the rest of the hive. A large swarm sets off in pursuit of the hiker, whose plight is not helped by a rock which magically rolls itself in front of him. A tree then picks itself up by the roots and waddles over to give the poor schmuck a smack into the fast flowing river at the bottom of the scree. Finally he is set upon by a pair of eagles. At last, we see the guy licking his wounds and a beaver adds insult to injury by laughing at him.
The message delivered by titles on screen is: “Wear the new Earthkeepers, made with recycled materials, or nature might get its own back.”
The spot was shot in a Central California National Park over a week earlier this year, with VFX Supervisor Stephane Allender on hand to oversee the necessary effects elements and plates, as well as directing a second camera unit. “The bees were the biggest single digital element,” he says, “And although we shot some live bees on location using a blue box, we ended up creating them almost entirely in post. We shot a dead bee, which Inferno Artist Marcello Pasqualino resurrected – perhaps I should say, re-animated – adding beating wings and moving legs, projecting and painting the creatures, and building a hive for them in Flame. In addition, our 3D team created the swarm that chases the poor guy down the mountainside.”
With time the enemy on the post schedule, work was carefully allocated between 2 and 3D teams. As well as the swarm, the 3D team also created the roots of the aggressive tree, whilst the tree itself was shot on blue screen and brought to life in Flame. Other location-based blue screen work included the initial fall off the mountainside, achieved with the help of an air cannon, a stuntman and plenty of cushions; and establishing shots of the eagles.
Framestore also provided post for a companion spot for Timberland – Podium, directed by Ivan Bird for Rattling Stick, which had no VFX element, requiring only the company’s excellent Telecine services.
AGENCY: Leagas Delaney London
AGENCY PRODUCER: Michelle Hickey
AGENCY CREATIVES: Tim Delaney & Rob Burleigh
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Biscuit Filmworks / Independent (London)
DIRECTOR: Noam Murro (Friend)
PRODUCER: Jay Veal (Biscuit Filmworks) / Jani Guest (Independent)