Lacoste – Timeless

“Timeless”, the latest Lacoste film directed by Wanda’s Seb Edwards was made by Mikros Image.

The Commercial (TVC) depicts an epic journey of timeless connection between a man and a woman, told through beautifully crafted visual effects provided by Mikros under the supervision of Stephane Allender and produced by Christophe Huchet and Xavier Questel.

Surrounded by numerous green screens, 3D trains and CG backdrops, our heros are carried through the decades by an enchanting musical piece from British composer Max Richter, – until they can finally celebrate their love in the modern day.

We spoke to the visual effects supervisor, Stéphane Allender at Mikros.

FXG: How many set ups did the film take?

The film has been shot in 4 different setups.The 1930 station was shot in an actual station in Budapest where we brought in the vintage hero train. The second setup was all the train interiors shot indoor at the train museum in Budapest (static trains of course). The third one is a green screen studio for the jumping between trains and running on the roof. Finally the 4th setup was the underground station shot in Kiev/Ukraine.

FXG: Over how many days was it shot?

We shot 6 days in Budapest, plus 1 day in Kiev and 2 days in the South of France, – to shoot plates with a reduced crew. So 9 days in total.

FXG: The train was real at the start, but what was CG after that?

Yes, we brought a real vintage hero train in the station at the start and we added CG trains in the background. All the train interiors were real with exteriors comped in. Finally, we used CGI to create train exteriors for the rest of the film. All the exterior backgrounds were real except the night exterior which was fully generated in CGI.

FXG: What format did you shoot on ?

We shot everything RAW with Alexa SXT and Alexa Mini.

FXG: What was the vfx pipleine that worked in with that footage?

We used Maya and rendered in Arnold, compositing was in Flame and Nuke.

FXG: I see there was some green screen but there must have also been a reasonable amount of roto and clean up?

We did use green screen in the studio where possible but we always gave priority to good lighting and SFX. We did end up with lots of complex roto and tracking. Even some reflections in the glass had to be rotoed. We also shook the trains with hydraulics for more realism. We thought we would be in a better starting place to have a train lit really well, and moving – rather than focus on a clean green screen.

FXG: Did the film change much in the edit or was there a tight previz that was worked out in advance?

The only shot we pre-vized was the jump between the trains to understand the camera move we needed to achieve with our actor in the studio.The film really took shape as we were going and we kept all our options open, even through post. We managed our schedule so we could try various options even late in the post process. It is interesting now to see some of our tests. They sometimes look so different!

Overall, we always try to get the footage to drive the VFX and not the other way around.

FXG: How long were you guys on the project?

We started post while we were filming and it took approximately 2 months from then to deliver the final spot.

FXG: The grade was really nice – how was the colour timing handled?

We used a typical film pipeline where we work from RAW log footage using LUT’s and graded the finished film at the end. My opinion is that a good comp will work on any grade, regardless.  I find it is easier to calibrate the VFX on RAW footage rather than being tied up to a specific grade direction. It makes more sense to grade a film once you know what it actually looks like.

This pipeline gave us more flexibility to try things and pick material from the rushes when needed. We always keep a full set of rushes close to us!

FXG: Anything else you would like to add?

A big big thank you to Seb Edwards, Wanda and BETC Paris for bringing this great team together.

Merci !


Making-Of | Lacoste – Timeless from Mikros image :

The team:

  • Agency : BETCProd. : Wanda
  • Director : Seb Edwards
  • VFX Supervisor : Stéphane Allender
  • VFX Producer : Christophe Huchet, Xavier Questel
  • Lead CG (Paris) : Vincent Coni
  • 3D Team : Adam Tinning, André Monteiro, Jonathan Carrier, Olivier Lukaszczyk
  • Flame: Stéphane Allender, Angus Wilson
  • Coordination VFX: Nicolas Huguet
  • Datalab: Nicolas Daniel, Pauline Royo, Jonathan Cayssials
  • Editor : Léa Latassa

Making-Of | Lacoste, on set behind the scenes.

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