Carsoux Talks Micmacs
BD: What animation did you do?
AC: The bees in the glass bowl that falls down on the floor. That was 3D and also done in Maya.
BD: What was Jean-Pierre like on this?
AC: Jean-Pierre is very specific about how he wants the look, and comes over with photos and then we go out to shoot the buildings and then when we're creating it, the reality may not be what he wants and so he will ask us to add certain things or to take out a window because it's very structured visually; the same thing with the rooftops. He shot on the rooftop of the studio and then we did a 3D matte painting around of all Paris, so then we go out and shoot on rooftops and put it all together.
BD: What was the look he was after?
AC: He's very Paris-oriented. He loves Paris; he loves the surroundings of Paris. You can always see it in his films, like Amelie. And so we always adapt ourselves to what he's looking for.
BD: He talks about combining the old with the new Paris in Micmacs. How did you accommodate that?
BD: What about his use of color?
AC: He wanted de-saturation and warm colors, so the colorist is already on board from day one. For visual effects as well, there's a constant exchange of finals before visual effects delivery is done so that the colorist can be managed in the best way and everyone knows exactly where they're going.
BD: He cites both Toy Story and Mission: Impossible as big influences.
AC: Mission: Impossible would be more of the way the script is constructed [to manipulate characters and events]. Toy Story would be more of where a whole group works together to achieve something.
AC: He comes from animation, actually. He always loves to put in little pieces of animation because he loves it so much and that animation comes from a very good friend of his. He's a very hands-on director and is interested in everything connected to filmmaking.
BD: What did you find challenging about Micmacs?
AC: The project is constantly moving in all different directions and so we need to act very fast all the time.
BD: What were some of the significant adjustments you had to make?
AC: Sometimes something as easy as stabilizing or a cross fade and it could take up to two weeks to get it right, and then there are visual effects intensive things like the bees that are way easier. So it's really bizarre: you have to concentrate on how the director sees the project and translate what he sees into the visual effects.
BD: How much time did you have and how large a staff did you have?
AC: It took about three months with a team of 30 to 50 people. Intensive.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.