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United Nations Turns to Nice Shoes for World Humanitarian Day

Nice Shoes handles color grading and VFX for a United Nations campaign for World Humanitarian Day featuring Beyoncé.

August 19th was World Humanitarian Day, a day of commemoration instituted by the United Nations in 2003 that encourages people everywhere to help one another. In 2012, the United Nations partnered with Beyoncé for a campaign, I Was Here, to raise awareness about the day.

To engage people in the campaign, the United Nations enlisted Droga5 and Ridley Scott & Associates to design a unique event in the UN General Assembly Hall where humanitarian aid workers and UN officials shared stories of their important work with an audience of more than 1,200 people. The evening culminated in a performance by Beyoncé of her song, “I Was Here,” featuring the iridescent icon before an amphitheater-sized screen. Beyoncé and Diane Warren, who wrote the song, donated the music video of that performance to the World Humanitarian Day campaign.

Nice Shoes, who has worked extensively with Beyoncé’s production company Parkwood Entertainment, stepped in to handle the color grading and VFX on the video. Nice Shoes colorist Lenny Mastrandrea and VFX artists Jason Farber and Kevan Lee executed the project, closely collaborating with Directors Kenzo Digital and Sophie Muller, as well as the creative teams from Droga5 and Parkwood.

“Our team’s experience and ability to work quickly and jointly in visual effects and color grading really worked to our advantage with the tight turnaround,” explained Nice Shoes Producer Jen Cadic.

The VFX crew had over 30 shots to focus on, but also had a small but unique challenge. “There were a few shots where there was a small gap between the bottom of the screens and the stage, so we were able to stretch the background screens down in the Flame,” added VFX artist Jason Farber. Colorist Lenny Mastrandrea worked to marry the looks of Alexa and Sony F3 footage. “The Alexa and F3 capture fine detail quite differently, so we took considerable pains to seamlessly marry the two looks,” noted Mastrandrea. “This synthesis was an enormous concern for all involved, and I think we nailed it.”

As the goodwill embodied by World Humanitarian Day was intended to be the campaign’s centerpiece, the studio paid special attention to making the heroic and tragic projections behind Beyoncé appear dense enough to be recognizable. “We had special instructions not to make this a glamour piece,” stated Mastrandrea, who has worked with Kenzo for many years. “This music video was about the special message of empathy and aid for our fellow man.”

Source: Nice Shoes

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.