OpenText Hightail

Customer Spotlight: North by Northwest


February 3, 2014

“They come to us with an idea, and it’s our job to turn it into a reality.”

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North by Northwest
Founded: 1990
What they do: Full-service digital studio focused on storytelling through film, video and the web
No. of employees: 41

For more than 20 years, digital studio North by Northwest (NXNW) has been bringing stories to life through film, video and the web. With offices in Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Wash., the team works on everything from full-service video production and television commercials to feature films and documentaries.

Every new client brings a fresh challenge, says Director and Producer, Steve Simkins. But working on innovative, creative projects drives the tight-knit NXNW team.

“We have a small team, and sometimes we’re working on five different stories in a four-day span,” he says. “But we’re pretty lucky to be in a business that’s creative and new every day. There’s always a new challenge.”

While producing a commercial for Seattle transit agency Sound Transit’s Voice of Reason campaign, the NXNW team struggled to find a location to meet the client’s specific request for an “old timey” living room. Instead they worked with branding agency GreenRubino to create a detailed design in Photoshop. “We built the entire set in our studio and sent people out to source props like the furniture and lamps,” explains Steve. “It was important for us to give the room that exact look.”

Another commercial for the Voice of Reason campaign was supposed to take place in a car in the middle of Seattle traffic. Rather than take on the expense and hassle of shutting down streets for the shoot, the NXNW team took over an event parking lot in Boise, filled it with 25 rented cars and shot the entire commercial there.

Finding smart, simple solutions to problems extends to how NXNW shares its work. They use Hightail to deliver their highest quality videos to clients and get approval within minutes. “We have to be confident the files we send get there on time,” says Steve. “Those files are our business. And when a client watches the video and says, ‘You got it,’ we know we’ve done our job.”