CHANELN°5. Être Ce Qui Va Arriver.


There is no better way to celebrate a 10-year-old creative partnership between a world leading haute-couture, fragrance brand and the most awarded creative production studio than creating a new film with celebrated talent in front and behind the camera.

Coco Chanel created N°5 in 1921, a fragrance like no other. Nearly a century later the recognizable and unforgettable scent remains aligned to the strict and original design aesthetic of elegant couture. N°5 is one of the most renowned fragrances in the world and has been the biggest selling fragrance in France until 2011! This year, it is celebrating the Academy and Cesar award-winning actress, singer and song-writer Marion Cotillard to represent freedom, modernity and accomplishment as its latest brand ambassador.

For this movie, Marion Cotillard has been paired with Jeremie Belingard, former Principal Dancer of Opera de Paris, production agency 75 and Gloden Globe winning director Johan Renck, who has collaborated with Mikros MPC on over a dozen projects during the past ten years.

The film follows a dreamlike trip to the moon represented by joyful and energetic choreography which celebrates the ‘joie de vivre’ of Chanel’s muse as she joins forces with her partner to lead the dance from Paris to the moon in a story embodying freedom.

To deliver the project, a close collaboration was required to deliver the vision and a single artistic approach which would be instantaneously recognizable as from the house of CHANEL. Stéphane Pivron, Mikros MPC VFX Supervisor was involved from the start from set design, live shoot to post-production:

“This film was my sixth collaboration with Johan Renck and as ever he was a pleasure to work with him. Johan is sharp and clever. He turns any idea into gold, and this time he literally did that! The film had two main challenges: first to cover Paris with snow and secondly to create an expanse of golden moon to mirror the iconic perfume of N°5”

To meet the challenges of a complex shoot, Mikros MPC worked closely with the Set Designer Jan Houllevigue to exchange ideas. Prior to the live shoot the appearance of the environment was designed, and a unique surface was built. The post-production phase was essential in finetuning and enriching the render of the golden particles on the moon. Without this the lunar environment would not have been able to reflect all the elements in the shoot and provide such a rare appearance. The team took liberties to create added light sources and a dream like atmosphere in order to make the gold dust shine and allow the viewer to suspend disbelief.

“The project was very complicated due to the extent of gold required on such an expansive surface. It required genuine teamwork to ensure that the creative direction would be kept throughout all elements of the film. This is why we worked from the early stages with Jean-Clément Soret, who took care of the grading, to define and maintain a specific appearance whilst crafting all the assets. During this phase, we worked closely on the concepts alongside Christophe Courgeau, Head of Matte Painting and Concept Art at Mikros. The inputs of Antoine Boutin, Concept Artist, were decisive on the wide shots, and allowed us to quickly authenticate a look which could then become synonymous with the entire film,” explains Stephane Pivron.

Jean-Clément Soret, Global Creative Director of Colour Grading at MPC, added:

“Some color grading projects are a one man show, whilst others are a collaborative work with compositors and CG artists. This film for N°5 could only have been delivered behind a team effort. From early on DoP Benoît Debie’s work set the tone and mood, as we knew large parts of the set would be replaced by post, it originally seemed a daunting task to maintain the integrity of our colour grading orchestrated by director Johan Renck. We went through a detailed refinement process during post and we all worked hand in hand to achieve this beautifully coloured and texturized film.”

In total, the film is composed of seventy-five shots, all of which benefited from post with some individual shots created nearly entirely with visual effects. The VFX and post-production work became even more complex as it started two days prior to the lockdown period in France. With the support of Harry Bardak, CG Supervisor and Claire Garraud, VFX Producer, Stephane Pivron completely created a new way of working with a small, close-knit craft team for increased efficiency, technical and artistic mastery.

“It was an absolute joy to work on such a beautifully photographed project. Looking back at the project planning, the COVID crisis turned into a real opportunity as it gave us the luxury to take the necessary time to complete this extremely elegant movie that takes the audience to a otherworldly universe deeply linked to the hometown of CHANEL, Paris” says Claire Garraud, Executive Producer at Mikros MPC.

Stephane Pivron concluded:

“Despite the challenging context, this project was one of the best and most enjoyable experiences I have had as a VFX Supervisor. Working remotely has taught us to communicate differently, listen to one another, share ideas, create better. I had the chance to work with a great team, led by a VFX Producer who was as human as she was efficient, a director who was present and precise, supported by a production and Post-Production Manager, Anne Segrettin who was always ready to listen, and a client who trusted us from start to end. From start to finish it was a delight! A technical, artistic, genuine and human production – just as I like it!”

If you want to know more about the live shooting conditions, please watch this see below the making-of video: