Love,Death, Fate. The downfall of a couple triggers the birth of a new love between two strangers.
‘Happy Valentine’s Day‘ is an award-winning CGI short film told in slow-motion, in one unique camera sequence and in reverse. In other words, all the secret ingredients to create the perfect over-dramatic Valentines Day scenario.
We didn’t want to just tell a story about ‘boy meets girl’. We wanted to show that everything in life is connected and that what is supposed to be one of the most beautiful experiences in life, falling in love, is, in our story, shaped by tragedy. Depending on how one understands this film, the story can either be cynically dark or idealistically romantic. We try not to influence that decision. Our goal is to take a moment and explain how it came to occur… in one shot, in slow-motion and in reverse.
As artists, we wanted to share this new vision to make people feel and think in new ways. There is a significant opportunity for people to relate to the characters and identify with the narrative both at a deep emotional level through the story and at a highly philosophical and intellectual level thanks to the format. Through the artistic metaphors in “Happy Valentine’s Day”, we hope to reflect the wide range of our personal sensibilities so that the audience sees in each situation, each scene and each frame, unique symbols for powerful moments they have experienced in their own lives.
To create such impressive and well choreographed scenarios, the team had to design and bring forward some state-of-the-art techniques. The result is a mesmerizing 6 minute take with some of the most fluent camera movements that let you sink into each transitioning moment. The Neymar brothers had thousands of strings to pull together to create this memorable piece, which certainly wasn’t an easy task – but magnificent in its outcome.
The techniques we used to make this film are not new to Hollywood blockbusters… but a very big step-up from anything we had ever done before: large green screens, stunt pulleys, light gags, wind gags and artificial rain. Experts warned us that a camera shot of this complexity had never been pulled off before with such a small crew and budget. The greatest challenge of this piece was to accomplish a very long and complex camera shot in a very small space. Months of pre-production were spent calculating where the camera would start and end for each sequence to maximize the space and time we had on set so that the transitions would be seamless. Our transitions were made thanks to the completely virtual CG New York City street we modeled, textured and animated from scratch. To property integrate our actors into this visual environment, we custom-built a 360 degree green screen arena, which enabled us to control many aspects of the lighting and background elements. We knew it was going to be a tremendous technical challenge so we established all of the details down to the millimeter at the animatic stage during our pre-production. Our VFX work on the film got noticed and Happy Valentine’s Day was screened at the electronic theater of Siggraph Los Angeles 2017, the biggest annual computer graphics conference in the world. It was breathtaking to see it on the big screen in front of such a huge crowd.
As for equipment, we used a Red Epic Camera, the Ronin, a focus puller, a lot of lights (including 20 space lights) and a few high end lenses.