Leffel’s new company takes off with a Delta video

Craig Leffel’s inaugural project for his new company took off in a big way — a Delta Airlines’ online spot that was directed by Sam Ciaramitaro, a multi Cannes Gold Lion winner.

Executive director Leffel’s new Big Spoon Productions, officially opened for business on Nov. 1, started the Delta job in mid-November and finished it two weeks later. On Dec. 18, the video was sent to Delta’s entire customer database and was posted online the same day.

In the 1:10 piece, Delta’s voiceover, Donald Sutherland, graciously thanks Delta’s 165 million customers for making 2014 “An Amazing Year” of air travel.  (Delta flies more people than any other airline.)

“Our goal” says Ciaramitaro, DigitasLBi’s VP/director/EP, “was to shoot an elegant, tasteful and restrained visual narrative while creating a sophisticated art installation — something that might actually belong in a museum setting.”

Big Spoon's Craig LeffelThe art installation is an array of 2,000 paper airplanes made out of the airline’s boarding passes. Scenes show five Delta employees meticulously hanging the folded planes on strings, in a light, ethereal space. Using stop-motion, the camera pulls back to reveal them in a fluttering art exhibit.

Starting four days before the shoot, prop master Geoff Binns-Calvey and the art department spent 50 hours hand-constructing the more than 2,000 paper planes.

Andrew Wehde as DP and a crew of 15 shot for two days in the ballroom of the Ravenswood Event Center, whose spaciousness fulfilled Ciaramitaro’s desire for a “museum setting.” 

One of the features of what was once a 1930’s space where big outdoor billboards had been painted, was a floor-to-ceiling window that was the perfect backdrop for the climatic art installation scene.

Sam Ciaramitaro, DigitasLBi VP/director/EPJudy Friedman was line producer and Utopic, another in Ciaramitaro’s circle of long time associates, handled editorial and finishing.

Big Spoon Industries’  inaugural project with Ciarmamitaro was very meaningful, Leffel says, as they had worked together on many projects over the past 20 years, when Ciaramitaro had produced for Foote, Cone & Belding and Leo Burnett.

“At one point in my career I was Sam’s DP and colorist countless times on his commercials. His talent has always been unmistakable. He’s completely invested and dedicated to his projects.”

Leffel departed Optimus where he had been a partner for 18 years. He had headed ONE at Optimus for three years and was Optimus’ colorist for 15 years.

A “virtual office” works for Leffel for now. “It allows me to be flexible and nimble,” he says.

Reach Leffel at 312/285-0818. See the video here.

DigitasLBi credits: Copywriter, Molly Crawford; art director, Tom Hurd; head of production, Steve Torrisi.

Utopic postproduction: Editor, Kat Pryor; assistant editor, Christen Nehmer; EP Heather Mitchell; associate producer, Lauren Gray. Color, online, Justin Winkler; motion graphics, Ryan Gilbert.  Sound, Brian Leitner.