“Odyssey” tells the story of two young souls breaking free from their physical and emotional confines. Wearing Levi’s Engineered Jeans, the two run through the walls of their apartment building and find a brave new world above and beyond. Directed by Jonathan Glazer and produced by Nick Morris, London-based Framestore CFC was commissioned for post production and visual effects.
On initial review of the storyboard frames, Markus Manninen, Joint Head of 3D at Framestore CFC knew that Glazer was after something very different. “The first stages looked difficult but not impossible,” says Manninen. “It got to the impossible stage when Jonathan described how he wanted it. We could tell that he wanted to do something very different.”
Glazer wanted a very quick and fluid look to the commercial, which was a personal character piece with a lot of close-up shots on the actors faces. What was unique in this commercial was that the characters would run through the walls fluidly while interacting with the pieces of the wall. All pieces that had to appear to be pushed out by the characters and appear physically correct – no styrofoam wall substitutes. Framestore CFC also had to create a computer generated forest that the male and female leads would run through at the end of the commercial.
Image (below): Previsualization allowed for director Jonathan Glazer to conceptualize the entire commercial.
During previsualization, Framestore CFC helped Glazer conceptualize the entire commercial, the timing and pacing of the film. Previsualization also allowed the set designers to work out how large the rooms and corridoor would be, that would allow the actors to run with a few strides per room. On a more practical note, it also allowed the producers to see how many rooms could be re-used and how often the actors could run through the same room without the audience noticing. The actors Nicolas Duvauchelle and Antoinette Sugier, both from Paris, were trained physically to tackle Odyssey. In the commercial, no speed-up was required in post as both actors ran at their full pace.
For the walls that the actors break through, it was decided that the best way to produce the effect was to have physical walls with big gaps that allowed the actors to run and jump through. The pieces that would actually break off the wall and interact with the actors would be added in 3D. Having the actors run and jump, however, was not enough to create a convincing effect, as something had to react with their bodies. To do this, the physical effects team used guns that shot up dust and debris as the actors leaped through the opening. As the debris hit the actors, they would naturally react to it by trying to avoid the dust and pieces, conveying a certain hardship as the characters broke away from their physical and emotional confines. With dust in the original film plates, Framestore CFC had a good reference for reapplying dust effects in post. The other advantage was that the actors were dirtied from having physical dust on them, which was realistic.