NEW YORK CITY — French-American brothers Andrew and Remy Neymarc, the self-taught directors and commercial producers behind Neymarc Visuals, LLC, recently signed on with William Morris Entertainment (WME) to write and direct feature films. The deal follows the release of the brothers’ short film, Happy Valentine’s Day, which plays in reverse as one, long, continuous take, bringing viewers back to an incident that led to a man’s suicide and how this chain of events affected complete strangers.
What makes the short film special is its combination of complex, photoreal CG elements. Due to budget constraints, the team couldn’t afford to block off an entire New York City block, so they instead decided to completely create a New York City street in CG.
“To properly integrate our real actors into this virtual environment, we custom built a 360 degree green screen arena that enabled us to control all aspects of the lighting and of the background elements,” explain the brothers. “We knew it was going to be a tremendous technical challenge, so we established all the details down to the millimeter at the animatic stage during pre-production. Since we were shooting in extreme slow motion and the whole world of the film were going to be created digitally, we used an incredible amount of lights. Things got extremely hot on set! We also used a few real elements — taxi, artificial rain, etc. — to complement the CG environment.”
All other elements were meticulously modeled, textured, composited and rendered in 3D.
“We wanted to create the most accurate world so that it looks stunning and flawless, and matches the different emotions the story tells,” they continue. “The techniques we used to make this film are not new to Hollywood blockbusters: large green screens, stunt pulleys, light gags, wind gags and artificial rain. However, experts warned us that a camera shot of this complexity had never been pulled off before with such a small crew and budget.”
The biggest challenge was to capture the very long and complex camera shot in a very small space. Because of the studio’s spatial constraints, they had to split the film into four separate sequences that would then be stitched together. Months of pre-production were spent calculating where the camera would start and end for each sequence, so that the transitions would be seamless.
The CG New York City streets were modeled, textured, and animated from scratch over the course of six months by only three artists. The project took weeks to render, ultimately stitching together more than 11,000 frames.
The team used a Red Epic camera, the Ronin, a focus puller, a lot of lights (including 20 space lights) and a few high-end lenses. Modeling and compositing was accomplished using Maxon Cinema 4D, Vray and Adobe After Effects.