Advertising & Digital Media Collide with Art

May 10, 2013 | By Kathryn Hamilton

The 5th-10th of May is Creative Week in New York City. Creative Week is a platform where design, advertising and digital media collide with the arts, and this year the week features a showcase of the top visual effects companies from France, ‘Paris FX: L’experience magique’.  

France has a thriving visual effects industry, and French production companies are responsible for some of the most creative ads, such as Evian’s viral ‘Live Young’ series, as well as cutting edge effects in Hollywood films like Life of Pi.  

Here is a selection of the leading French production studios and their work:

BECT are responsible for the famous ‘Baby” ad series for Evian. Here are the dancing babies in “Baby and Me’ which went viral on launch, with more than 40 million views in the first six days.

BETC first launched the ‘Evian Baby’ in 1998 with the ‘Water Babies’ ad, followed by the ‘Roller Babies’ a decade later. That became one of the most watched ads ever on YouTube.

Then there are the famous ‘Baby Inside’ ads, watched by 2.6 million people in the US alone. The latest iteration in this series is “Baby and Me”, where the adults meet their baby counterpart for the first time.  The baby doppelgängers are reflections of the adults, mirroring their movements and inspiring a dance sequence on the street. The effect was created by casting adult and baby lookalikes, and then manipulating the images with CGI to make the reflected pairs dance with each other.  

Mikros are responsible for the visual FX for Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, in which Marion Cotillard plays an amputee. The New York Times commented ‘To my eyes the most amazing bit of digital magic this year is probably the removal of Marion Cotillard’s legs — including in scenes in which she wears a bathing suit or nothing at all — in Jacques Audiard’s gritty Rust and Bone.” Here is a short piece on how special effects helped to create the film:

Mikros is also responsible for Canal +’s ‘The Bear’ ads, in which a bearskin rug comes to life to make movies:

Chez Eddy are the creators of the Amnesty International ad, 'The Bullet', a television commercial in which a bullet fired at a prisoner is slowed and then stopped by a series of petitions flying into its path. The tag line is : ‘Your petition is more powerful than you think’. Bullet won a Silver Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival, 2007.

BUF are responsible for the stunning dreamlike underwater sequence in Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi. Richard Parker, the tiger, stares into the ocean and the camera’s viewpoint descends with his, past schools of tuna and other underwater creatures into a cosmic environment that becomes a vision of Pi’s mother. You can watch a ‘making of’ video here: http://www.buf.com/visual_effects.php?id=1051&display=movie&year=2012

Creative Cube are the masterminds behind Kaeloo, a popular french animation series about a little green frog. Check out the ‘making of’ video to meet the team, and for an inside look at the visual effects: https://vimeo.com/43975190#at=0

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