Hybride, a division of Ubisoft, has delivered 427 VFX shots for Christian Duguay’s latest film, JAPPELOUP L’ÉTOFFE D’UN CHAMPION. The feature film, written by Guillaume Canet, coproduced by Pathé, Orange Studio, Pascal Judelewicz from Acajou Films and Christian Duguay, in association with Lyse Lafontaine and Joe Iacono (Associate Producers for Quebec) was a huge success, with two million admissions to its credit in France—setting a new record for a film by a Director from Quebec.
Hydride’s main challenge was the production of undetectable VFX shots that visually support the storyline and plunge audiences into realistic environments and locations that are a true reflection of the movie’s time period. Hybride’s team produced large-scale crowd simulations for five different environments—Longchamp, Fontainebleau, Los Angeles, Barcelona and Seoul—and updated stadium appearances to match those from the 1980’s, right down to banners and sponsor flags. Hybride’s graphic designers are also credited with generating archive television overlays, electronic signs, giant screen displays, cable and wire concealing, and image corrections. In addition to creating numerous set extensions, the studio also designed some of the movie’s stadiums entirely in 3D.
In bringing the story of Pierre Durand’s "little black horse" to the big screen, Hybride’s team worked closely with Director Christian Duguay, providing him with innovative technical solutions and restriction-free shooting. Although undetectable to audiences, Hybride’s work on the film was a Herculean task whose crowd scenes alone required a special approach. "We used completely different technical approaches for the five stadiums represented in the film", explained Pierre Raymond, Hybride President and project Producer. "Since the stadiums varied in size, and each hosted a different type of competition, the conceptual approach for crowd multiplications varied according to each environment. It’s as if three different companies each using a different method worked on Jappeloup, with Hybride at the helm of the movie’s entire workload,” said Mr. Raymond.
"Of all the films I've made, Jappeloup presented the biggest challenge with regard to visual effects: there are loads, but you can’t detect them!" said director Christian Duguay. "Hybride really stepped up to the plate for this movie. The integrations are impeccable, the updated environments and crowds helped the visual effects play an important part in the film’s narrative” continued Duguay. ”Working this closely with Hybride’s team really allowed me to tell my story without being slowed down by heavy contingencies, which are virtually impossible to avoid in movies where the roles of animals are so important. I couldn’t have made this movie without them: aesthetically, the end result is breathtaking, the jump scenes are awe-inspiring and every detail—imperceptible to the viewers—inexorably sets the tone and stakes us back 25 years.”
Actor Guillaume Canet plays Pierre Durand, the rider who won the championship jumping with Jappeloup in 1988. Canet, who also wrote the screenplay, stars alongside Daniel Auteuil, who plays the role of Serge, the rider’s father and Marina Hands plays Nadia, the Olympic Champion’s wife. Directed by Christian Duguay and distributed by Les Films Séville, a division of eOne, JAPPELOUP L’ÉTOFFE D’UN CHAMPION, a France-Canada coproduction, will be released in Quebec theatres September 6, 2013.