The specificity of Louis XIII Cognac is based on a rather special raw material: time. The luxurious beverages are produced over several generations, continuing the work of their predecessors. A very special heritage that the client Rémy Martin wanted to highlight through a poetic film: “Believe in Time”. To do this, director Mati Diop, singer Solange Knowles and fashion designer Guo Pei, together with Division production and our team in Paris brought to life a creative campaign about the unique relationship between creation and time.
On the project VFX Supervisor Jeremy Wulff comments “Everything stems pretty much from Hennessy, coupled with Fred and Farid’s ambitious and brilliant work. In essence the product is out of this world (the numbers are crazy, without any equal), and Louis XIII’s vision inspires this: a multi-scaled narrative, ingenious cross cutting, a delicate soundtrack by Solange, Mati’s inventive and novel visual storytelling, delicate stone-cut styling and balanced choreography. Each level involved in fabrication was able to sow together what seemed like a split up patchwork at first.
I joined the project just before shoot in a renowned location in the outskirts of Barcelona. Mati’s inventive process, shone throughout the shoot. She was able to make the most of each sequence, using all filming techniques available to maximise creative options. Light was subtlety balanced by Olivier Gossot (DOP), and choreography, led by Maya Taylor was delicate …given the little time dancers and choreographer had together.
In post, creatively, this campaign was challenging as options were wide open. The process to narrow down art direction took us down many paths. CG, illustration, DMP, stock footage, animation and VFX on After Effects, …no stone was left unturned, we had to explore each possibility.
Certain steps were more straightforward such as creating the decanter, which had to be fabricated in CG (rendered using Arnold) Yet how it interacted in the environment and making it shine like a jewel in space was trickier. Each outcome had to plug neatly into the cut, in a slow and progressive balance. Art direction would sway quite dramatically, and I am so proud of our creative team at The Mill who was able to quickly adapt and iterate accordingly. Some sequences required a radical approach…or not! We had to reinvestigate creative options right until the end, to reach a perfect balance suitable for each one’s angle and perspective.
I am very proud to have been part of this ambitious cosmic, macroscopic, dreamlike, artistic, otherworldly ride, very proud of its outcome and how we managed to pull it off here at The Mill.”
“I was lucky enough to be involved in the Louis XIII project from start to finish and to see our creative ideas evolve to the final result. The work in motion was rich and varied with tricks on the environment and objects. There were a lot of different shots, especially for the creation of the different layers inside the jewel. We had to find the right sequence, the right textures, the right colours to give the impression that we were sinking between the different layers of the crystal and then opening up into the cosmos and the bottle. I really enjoyed this project and especially our collaboration with the director Mati Diop, the production Division and of course the artist Solange. We were free to come up with creative ideas and I think it is thanks to this freedom that we managed to make a poetic film that honours time and the creative process.
“The work in terms of 3D was really challenging and interesting because the bottle case had a complex and worked shape. Thanks to the lighting work, I tried to make the bottle more beautiful by playing with the movements and reflections of the light on the surface of the bottle. I had a lot of fun perfecting the bottle with the lighting, by proposing several versions with different intensities and movements. ”
“The Louis XIII project was very interesting both technically and creatively, I worked on making different environments realistic although the compositions were clearly unrealistic. I am thinking in particular of the "levitation" sequence where I had to restore the image to erase the cables carrying Solange and integrate the matte painting representing a sunrise seen from space. I enjoyed working with my supervisor Jeremy Wulff to find a visual harmonization on each shot.”