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1st April 2016
Coming down
Title of film: Baauer, GoGo!
Director: Thomas Rhazi
Production Company: Division Paris
Division director Thomas Rhazi has created a spectacular free-fall love story for Baauer

What a ride! We’re guessing that the narrative is a metaphor for short-lived intense relationships and the car is a perfect bubble to contain that intensity  … please tell us how the script came about and how it evolved.

I had this idea for a few months; depicting all the first times of a young couple and the frenetic journey of a love story but I was missing the narrative vector, the visual concept that could connect everything. Frustrating! When Baauer’s song came I was looking at Fast & Furious 7 at home hahaha… great movie by the way; this is how I connected the dots, true story. A car falling through the sky was the perfect metaphor; weather would be the brain’s emotions, speed the blood pressure or body language and the car a direct symbol of the couple’s  ride.

The suspense runs from the first frame to the last helped by the trajectory of the car and couple plunging through the skies. Did you storyboard everything in pre-production?

No I didn’t have either the time or money to do so. The pre-production was pretty short. I just wrote a very precise screenplay with Jules de Chateleux then wrote all the technical shots with my first AD Charlotte. I then made a complex document for each shot listed, with a Photoshop visual reference, a sky reference and a movement/rotation description for both shooting on set and for post effects, plus the acting inside the shots. That became the work document for everyone.

The post and VFX are stunning – was this mapped out too in detail before the shoot? In fact tell us please how you went about creating the effects.

Thanks, the guys at MATHEMATIC studio did an amazing job, this is also their music video in a way. About the conception, we decided super early with the vfx director to not go for a pre-mapped, with blend monitoring on set, system. Speaking with Guillaume Marien and the DoP Shawn Kim convinced me to make strong decisions directly on set about lighting and framing so the vfx artists would have to follow our lead ideas to create a coherent world based on something that wasn’t flat.

We then spent a lot of time on Nuke, Maya and After. They did a first raw version of the film so we could agree on the art direction and the overall feeling, we had more that 90 shots to post-produce, it was epic. I then spent 20 days with the guys to exchange and improve shots one by one. The flame artists were also an incredible help with a real input. I’ve learnt  that these films take shape and unify at the very last moment. Hard process. I would love to thank a friend, Francois Rousselet, who was of priceless advice on this one.

What were the main challenges of the production overall and how did you resolve them?

We had to find and buy the car because it needed to be modified and then had to find the best way to shoot it in a studio. How do you move around, how do you create the sensation of rotation and bring some parallax, how do you move the car in the air, how do you shoot through the windows, how do you achieve gravity narratively…?

Roman, my producer on this video, and Melodie Buchris, the line producer, did an amazing job! I can’t thank them enough. I’ve never seen so much motivation and ingeniousness. We used a techno-crane and a simple cable system and then it was about from where do you shoot and how much vfx should be made directly on set. But I can’t reveal all the tricks for the moment, sorry, it needs to stay a bit mysterious I think.

How did you go about casting the couple – what were you looking for?

I was looking for a true young couple that weren’t confirmed actors. One with attitude and a magnetic energy, where real love could be caught easily. I needed something pure and realistic with a lot of innocence. Jules found them on Facebook if I remember well. We then asked our casting director Elena Cavagnara to communicate with them, so they sent us a small i-phone homemade video of love and romantic scenes. It was awesome.

This is a super romantic and cheesy story, that’s always been important for me, I don’t know why. It’s almost a moving romantic postcard. I also didn’t want them to be clichéd, meaning too white, too young or too fashionable… just real people. I asked them a week before the shoot to pretend they’d never met and start again from the beginning. They did an amazing job, I’m super proud of them and can’t thank them enough.

LINKS

Division

Credits

Director: Thomas Rhazi

Production Company: DIVISION

Post Production: Home Digital Pictures

VFX by Mathematic