Monthly Archives: July 2010

Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch

Zack Snyder, the man behind the visually-stunning 300 and Watchmen, just dropped the trailer for his upcoming movie, Sucker Punch. While I really liked both his previous films, I think this one looks too much like a fantasy movie. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s appealing to the eye; it actually looks amazing. I only have doubts towards the storyline… I hope I’m wrong.

Inception Review

Rarely have I seen a director set fans’ expectations so high, and live up to them. Well, up to know, Christopher Nolan has been able to do that with his incredible portfolio, consisting of Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Each and every time, Nolan has been able to outdo himself and bring something fresh to the audience.

After releasing The Dark Knight, which is still the king of Opening Week revenues and was nominated for 8 Oscars, the bar was VERY high for Nolan’s Inception, his latest movie. If that wasn’t enough, he probably brought together one of the strongest casts in recent years: DiCaprio, Cotillard, Murphy, Caine, Page… One might wonder how someone could fail with these guys !

Inception starts off strong right away, with action scenes that will get you on the edge of your seat for the first minutes. The pace never really slows down; when Nolan’s not overwhelming you with out-of-this world action sequences, he’s filling your brain with information crucial to the understanding of the somewhat complicated plot. It may seem too much to take in the first 20 minutes of the movie, but the scenario is so well constructed, the actors are so good and the cinematography is so impressive, that you quickly pick-up the rhythm, and before you know it, you’ll be immersed in the story.

As the movie goes on, you wonder how can someone come up with such a creative, intelligent story, as detailed as this one, and not get lost in his own process of creation. Well, here’s another thing that Nolan has not failed at. The scenario is pretty much flawless, and always makes you wonder about dreams, the mind, subconscious mentality… Yes, this is a sci-fi movie, but it doesn’t get too geeky and they are still morales and values transmitted throughout.

Leo, Leo, Leo… What can I say ? Probably the most underrated actor right now (with Brad Pitt not far behind). He once again delivers a mind-blowing performance, bringing an intelligent but emotionally disturbed character to life. The rest of the cast is also brilliant: the young and lovely Ellen Page shows us once again why she is one of Hollywood’s most promising actress out there right now. Academy-award winner Marion Cotillard is also wonderful in her supporting, but nonetheless important role.

One thing that scared me at first was the fact that Nolan was going to use major VFX and CGI for this movie, something he’s been known to use as little as possible in his previous movies, which gives his films an incredible organic feel (i.e. the Truck-Flip in The Dark Knight). Well, the visual effects are so beautifully integrated and they serve the story so well that you end up being used to them and process them in your brain as a normal visual aspect of the film.

I could go on with this review, but I think that by now, you understand that I thoroughly enjoyed this picture, and it exceeded my expectations by a mile. I hope this movie gets the recognition it deserves, because I feel it is destined to be a classic of modern cinema. Christopher Nolan proves again that he is one of the best writers and directors in recent years.

Nova working with Festival d’Été de Québec !

Note: All artists photos belong to Cyberpresse.ca

Seriously, where to begin ? This year, Festival d’Été de Québec, which I will go ahead and say is now one of the biggest music festivals in the whole world, contacted Nova Film to produce a short video demonstrating the ambiance reigning in the city during the 10 days of shows. Let me start by saying that in terms of fun and wow-factor, this is hands-down the best contract we’ve worked on yet.

The people from the organization were very cooperative, giving us all-access passes and letting us do what we had in mind, as long as it didn’t interfere with the artists’ media restrictions. Right from the start, the objective was to produce to least footage possible, because in the end, this will be a 60-to-90 second video. Focusing on quality instead of quantity, we set up a list of various, original shots we could create for every show, every stage, and the city in general.

All shot with the office’s 7D and my T2i, we grabbed every lens available to us, and pretty much every piece of equipment we own and we went to work. Dollies, 80-foot cranes, sky-high rooftop shootings, steadycam, poles, timelapses, body-surfing shots, hand-held shots… there’s pretty much nothing we didn’t bring to our game for this project.


Dave and I when we were going up an 80-foot crane to film the 100 000 people attending Black Eyed Peas.

Not only did we produce amazing images, but we also had the best seats in the house for every show, and need I tell you that there were some amazing shows going on ! We were off for the first Friday, because the forecast predicted thunderstorms. So, I decided to go see Dream Theater and Iron Maiden under pouring rain. Dream Theater is band I wanted to see for so long, and they did not disappoint. They gave a solid performance and John Petrucci proved why he’s considered as one of the top guitarists in the world. Then the always entertaining Bruce Dickinson, who speaks good French, accompanied by the 5 other members of Iron Maiden, came on stage. Despite the fact that they left out a couple of classics, like Trooper, Aces High, Run To The Hills and The Clairvoyant, they delivered a solid performance and Dickinson had a unique connection with the crowd.


Bruce Dickinson singing like he’s still 35.

On Monday, it was time for some handheld shots in the crowd, and was there a crowd gathered to see Arcade Fire ! I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing that many people gathered for a band I believed to be underground. They gave one hell of a performance, way beyond anybody’s expectations. This was definitely one the shows I enjoyed the most during the Festival.


Arcade Fire

On Wednesday we went to do some steadycam shots at The Cat Empire, a band that, despite the fact they’ve been in Quebec a few times, I knew nothing about. Well, this is definitely my musical discovery at this year’s Festival. Rarely have I seen a band perform better on stage. They sounded great, they interacted with the crowd and they always pushed their songs a bit further to get the crowd into it.


The Cat Empire

Friday was definitely the night I anticipated the most, with K’naan opening for the Black Eyed Peas. K’naan gave a tremendous performance, and one of the highlights of the shooting was when we got up in the crane at sunset to film the crowd during Wavin’ Flag. This was really something special. Then the Black Eyed Peas got on stage, and media restrictions prohibited us from having video equipment on the site. So, we put our gear away and enjoyed a couple of songs. The crowd was going crazy for what is probably the biggest band on the planet right now. I would have went ahead and said that it was pretty much the biggest crowd I had ever seen in my entire life, but then there was Sunday…


The Black Eyed Peas, giving a show that will definitely be remembered in Quebec.

Sunday… what can I say ? The Festival decided that Rammstein would close the celebrations, and to be honest, I thought that was a bad decision. I thought Rammstein was an old metal band that nobody listened to anymore… Was I wrong ! Honestly, I had never witnessed anything like that. Die-hard metal fans came from around the world to see this show. There wasn’t a single inch left in all the plains of Abraham for someone to be there. The crowd must have been well over 100 000 people. We went on top of the Concorde, the highest view point for the plains of Abraham, to make a timelapse of the first 30 minutes of the show. Once again, this was definitely one of the most insane views I had ever seen. We saw the whole city to our left, with the ocean of red flashing pins that everyone wears during the festival to our right.


One frame of the 160-frame time-lapse we shot on top of the Concorde.

We then put our gear away and went to see the rest of the show. While I’m not a huge fan of their music, I must say that this show sounded probably better than any show I’ve been to. The sound was unbelievably clear. But what definitely made this show one of the best in this year’s Festival is the visual aspect, that included more fireworks than a 4th of July party. I can’t even start to describe how it was, but if you ever have the chance to see this band, you’ll understand !


Rammstein !

Finally, I’d like to congratulate everyone who worked at bringing such a memorable event to Quebec City, and I’m anxious to see what you have in store for us next year !

Dvein for Syfy

Dvein recently created a couple of idents for Syfy channel in Spain. Great lighting and texturing really make these CG characters and typo come to life. While you’re on Dvein’s Vimeo page, take a minute and watch some of their other pieces of portfolio, they’re worth it !

Apple Day Off

Let me start off by saying: I’m no photographer… I bought myself a Canon Rebel T2i a couple of weeks ago because the video features just looked amazing and my HMC150 was just picking dust in the basement. But, why not try to take a couple of pictures since I’ve got a pretty good quality DSLR now. Well that’s exactly what I did !

Last weekend was Canada Day, so my friends and I had a 3-day weekend in front of us and we wanted to do something special, and the forecast looked just amazing in New York City. So on friday, just before the sun got up, we packed up the car and drove 8 hours down to the city that never sleeps. We chilled at our hotel’s pool when we arrived to try to kill the 95F temperature, then went for supper in Little Italy bla bla bla… I could go on with that but whatever !

The next day we decided it was pictures day. I was down there with two friends, including Guillaume Bouchard, a long-time friend and photographer, so we both took out our cameras and started snapping everything. It was the first day ever I shot with pictures with a DSLR, and I can’t say I hated it. When I got home, I took those I figured were the best and brought them in Photoshop. I was VERY rusty in terms of photo post-production in Photoshop, I usually just use it to prepare layers for After Effects and stuff like that, so of course this isn’t the best color grading there has been in recent years, but I think I managed pretty well.

Those pics were all shot on the Canon Rebel T2i with both a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and a Canon 85mm 1.8.

So here it is ! My first ever set of photos. I unoriginally entitled it Apple Day Off, of course because we took pictures on a Saturday in New York, but also to refer to the fact I wasn’t sitting in front of my computer to shoot that !

PS: If you happen to be in NYC, go to Webster Hall, one of the best nightclubs I’ve ever been.