MPC’s newly opened Paris studio recently delivered 42 VFX shots for a new spot for Perrier that features a party of CG hot air balloons racing through the sky set against the stunning backdrop of the Iguazu Falls.
“The spot is a riot of colour, with multiple locations and many minute details in every shot,” said VFX supervisor and creative director of MPC Paris Franck Lambertz.” He explained that the project “led us to slightly unconventional techniques. I even found myself in a helicopter filming with a 360-degree camera to create the back plates. The work was led from MPC Paris, with support from the 3D team in London, prep work from Bangalore and stills photography from MPC Mexico – a truly global effort.”
The opening scene was based on stills of a natural well in Yucatan, Mexico, with CG and animated balloons bringing the sequence to life. The balloon bursting through the water was one of the most challenging shots for the team to create, requiring a team of Houdini liquid specialists.
The main shoot took place in Argentina, with actors and extras suspended close to the ground in their baskets. This natural lighting gave the perfect reference to the VFX team for integrating the protagonists with CG elements and backgrounds.
3D supervisor Fabian Frank led the team to create 50 variations of CG hot air balloons, and re-build the baskets in 3D. Each balloon has its own unique brand of eccentricity, with the occupants using tricks to speed their balloons along. To help with the individuality, Fabian’s team used a range of cloth simulations, making some of the balloons shinier, thicker or adding a deeper sheen than others.
The lion and his marmoset and parrot pals were shot in-camera at Argentina zoo, with multiple takes required to get the correct action. Colorist Matthieu Toullet worked on the grade, using eye-popping colors to create the bright and warm look. “We sought to produce a striking colored film, while being careful not to tilt towards an artificial look,” said Toullet. “I really enjoyed being able to play with the variety and richness in the color scheme. We applied some creamy tonality on the highlights to find a nice depth in the film.”