The Mill was tasked with recreating iconic actress Catherine Deneuve in eight shots at four different periods of her life, inspired by her filmography, in this spot for the comeback of the classic Cartier Tank.
The ad also stars Remi Malek in a film directed by Guy Ritchie.
The Mill team was present on production company Soixante Quinze’s shoot, and even during the casting to find the best body double who could best resemble Deneuve’s movement. From “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” to “Place Vendôme”, the film concludes with the actual Catherine Deneuve.
Stéphane Pivron, VFX Supervisor
“Our mission was to recreate Catherine Deneuve in 8 shots at 4 different periods of her life.
It was a huge challenge to work with such a great icon, and to do so in the finesse of a given age. About fifteen years ago, I worked on a Dior film where we remade the faces of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich. From modeling to rendering we used a fully CG process at the time. A very long process, convincing, but which lacked a bit of life in the end. That’s why, on this project, we turned to AI from the start. This technique has made a huge leap in a few years, and even if it has limitations, it offers a very lively result.
From the start and given the writing of the project, “She turns around, and we discover her…”; we knew that AI alone would not be enough because when the face turns, it is technically complex to obtain a good result.
The second challenge was that the sources we had access to were not necessarily in high definition and sometimes the image was very grainy. That’s why we developed a specific pipe for this project, where the CG relies on the life generated by the AI to improve its quality, and to take over when it was no longer efficient.
We were involved in the project from the very beginning, and we worked closely with the production in all the artistic choices, from the casting, to the adjustments of the wigs and the choice of make-up.
We were able to test the faces in AI very early on, and to make sometimes complicated choices between physical resemblance and acting similarities. The perception of Catherine Deneuve is a mix of styling, lighting, acting and expressiveness: we had to find the right balance each time.
The production Soixante Quinze, the agency and the client accompanied us and trusted us throughout the production process.
It’s a very rich project that combines many different techniques. We decided from the start to work on this project over time with a 100% dedicated team. Some 5 months between preparation and finalization, where we had time to talk about cinema and since then, the acting, the plastic, and the filmography of Catherine Deneuve have no secret for us!”
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