Greenpeace's Great Northern Forest campaign brings attention to the world's largest forest. Using a painterly creative to bring awareness to its global importance in the fight against climate change.
We created this powerful charity awareness film for Greenpeace's Great Northern Forest campaign. Bringing attention to the world's largest forest and its global importance in the fight against climate change.
This huge, ancient boreal forest stretches across Russia, Canada and Scandinavia. People often refer to it as our planet’s green crown. It stores more carbon in its trees and soils than all the tropical rainforests put together. Our film introduces this precious forest, highlighting its diverse ecosystem and cultural heritage. Continuing to describe what the forest's destruction means in the battle against climate change. We provided a full production service for this job. Here's a little more about our process:
Writing the script was our first task. A huge campaign like this isn't easily condensed into a short animation script. However, using Greenpeace's detailed campaign brief as a guide, we outlined the most urgent issues and started building a narrative. Using a conversational tone, the narrative travels between informational, emotional, and finally ends on an optimistic celebration of this unique and priceless habitat.
When scriptwriting, we strive to keep charity campaign films under 2 minutes in duration. Our experience shows this helps to keep the viewer's attention until the final call to action.
Greenpeace's brief was for the film to appeal to 18-30 year olds, with key words for the film's creative being "beautiful, powerful and epic". Inspired by the ancient forest we wanted to use natural textures and a painterly style. Juxtaposed by hard graphic edges to create a modern look that would appeal to the target audience. Here's page 1 from our storyboard:
Choosing a voice-over is a key moment, as it naturally sets the tone for the piece and can add an essential layer of emotional impact. We were briefed to find a male voice with gravitas and warmth; one that could add emotion to the script and urgency to the call to action. Tom Benedict Knight was selected as being a perfect fit. We headed to the sound studio to direct his performance (he didn't need much direction!) and edit the voice-over.
With a final voice-over and storyboard completed, all we needed was to select a music track that enhanced the mood of our creative. It's great to have the music at this stage because alongside the VO, it helps create a pace for the animation. Greenpeace selected from a range of options we presented. We were ready to begin animation!
Painterly transitions and one continuous camera move, link each setting with a smooth flow. Real paper and brush-stroke textures add a handmade feel to each setting. Animation breathes life into humans and animals. While 3D depth and unexpected changes in perspective are key to keeping the viewer engaged as the narrative evolves. Finally, the whole animation was rendered at a reduced frame-rate which gives the film a stop-frame feel and ties in with the animation's painterly style.
In animation, we find the voice-over tells a story, music builds emotion and sound effects bring the visuals to life. Combining all three elements adds so much to an animation. Choosing the right music track can amplify emotions, build suspense and in this case, help enhance the feeling of hope for the ending. The addition of ambient sound effects creates atmosphere and builds a scene, while spot effects bring out key moments of detail in movements. Sound design can have just as much impact on the movement as animation! Mixing them all together into one harmonious track, we were ready for delivery.
Subtitles and Translations
Finally, we created the subtitles. We'd always recommend having the option of subtitles on any voice-over led animation. Whether they are "burnt in" as part of the animation itself, or "closed caption" so they can be turned on or off by the viewer.
Subtitles (and voice-overs) can then easily be translated for multiple audiences to create maximum engagement in many territories.
The primary communications objective for Greenpeace's Great Northern Forest campaign was, and still is, to establish the Great Northern Forest as an iconic natural-world site on par with the Amazon rainforest or Great Barrier Reef.
Greenpeace's Great Northern Forest campaign also seeks to reduce the rate of degradation of Intact Forest Landscapes and to create new protected areas of boreal forest in three key regions - Canada, Russia and Scandinavia.
Read more about Greenpeace’s on-going work for this campaign HERE.