Explain Molecular Epidemiology
In 2018, I was approached by Dr. Sebastian Lequime to direct an outreach projet about his research. His goal was to explain what is molecular epidemiology in a simple but rigorous manner. I was very excited : it’s not often that researchers make time for these kind of projects. The scripts were written by Dr.Tania Louis.
The project was very ambitious, and to get the best quality possible we had to coordinate very well between ourselves. I took over most of the coordination as I was the one that had to assemble together at the end.
We had to understand each other as everyone came from different backgrounds. Each one had his/her vision that I had to respect, understand and unify into a piece that satisfied everyone.
Another challenge was to work remotely : Sebastian was in Leuven, Tania was in Albi and I live in Paris. . Later we were joined by Suhrud Banhatti who lives in Japan, that was a very long-distance project ! It was a blast, in the end, to finally see all this hard work come together.
I contributed as a Producer and Director. As I’m trained in Graphic Design, 2D/3D Computer Animation I created everything using tools I use on a daily basis like Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D. My goal was to create a unique design, simple enough to animate on a large scale project. I had to create visuals that were appealing and realistic enough to convey the scientific information.
As I am trained in Scientific Communication, I am used to translate complex and rigorous concept in a widely understandable visual language.
Each project has its own challenges. As a director and as a designer, my main goal is to meet them creatively while always thinking about the viability of each solutions I create.
I kept a minimalistic approach in the design to keep the project into realistic boundaries production-wise, and rely on animation to add more charm ! As the project was going to be broadcasted on many different medias, the design had to be unique, branding was important. Visuals had to convey the project identity as well as everything else from appeal to scientific rigor.
You can see some of my early designs below. For example the size sequence in Episode 1 was originally thought in 2D until I realised 3D was much more efficient for these kind of scales.
I am lucky to collaborate with Suhrud Banhatti who is a very smart and creative sound designer. He designed a unique theme for the project as well as many soundscapes to underline each type of informations we were displaying.
My main inspirations were the video-game Fez and he came up with something unique which brings a lot of quality to the 3 films.
We worked closely together to define each soundscape for each visual piece and I am very satisfied of the results as the creative inputs from Suhrud brought another layer of subtility to the project.
The main challenge on a project this long is to keep visual consistency in the whole project. I relied on primitive shapes and an limited color palette to stay in a minimalistic enough design that allowed me to use a wide range of techniques such as 3D animation. I especially love these kind of challenges to bring something simple yet complex to life.
Using simple shapes also allowed me to create a visual language that was very easily understandable. I created 3 different visual atmosphere, one on a « realistic scale » another on the « statistic scale » and the latter on « virus scale ». Each one had its own sound design.
Visuals composition is essential in these kind of content. I especially like to think in sequences, as you can tell a lot with images alone. But in order to have good compositions, writing is essential, and can take more time than one might think because it is often challenged by what is possible to show and in what order !
I especially like learning new things, and I find it very satisfying to explain what I learned in an appealing way. I think that nothing is too complicated to be explored. Most of the time, it’s a matter of finding the right way to tell something to the right public, and I love the challenge of finding the right language for each project.
Finding the right tone is essential for each project. In Vir(ev)o I wanted to give a light atmosphere to balance with some quite complicated concepts. Epidemics are not an easy subject, and I wanted to give sometimes a little smile to moderate the serious aspects of the situations that can be depicted.