French version
INTERVIEW STEPHANE CERETTI BUF COMPAGNIE VFX SUPERVISOR




CODE-MATRIX
What was your path and how did you become BUF compagnie's VFX supervisor ? Could you describe the profile of team members ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
I have been working for BUF compagnie for 8 years now, before that I worked in the video games. The first time I have worked for VFX was for BUF compagnie. I have a degree in physics, but I also studied arts, animation, multimedia and computer science at L'école Emile Cohl in Lyon.
When I started at BUF, I worked on several commerciasl, and some movies such as "Batman and Robin" and "Les Visiteurs 2". Then I worked on "Simone" and "The Cell" as a VFX supervisor.
Our team is composed of people from various background - scientists, engineers, programers, but mostly artists.

CODE-MATRIX
Did the same team work on both movies ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Yes, it was the same team, however some key role players did not stay. BUF had less work for Revolutions than they had for Reloaded. They were 30 in total to work on both movies.




www.buf.com
Paris, France



BUF et la pub

STUDIO - 2002




Ecole Emile Cohl

Lyon, France


" The script was very dense, but not explanatory . . . "


CODE-MATRIX
How was BUF compagnie contacted for the project ? Which work made them decide to work with you ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We had been contacted to work on the first movie, but at the time we could not participate to the project. We cannot forget that the bullet time effect was a "variation" of a technique created by BUF in the mid-90's !
There are many diverse reasons that a company will be chosen over another company. I believe that they wanted to work with us for a long time and that our past work show our ability to provide them with images of a worthy of a big Hollywood production. I dont think they really wanted to add a "french touch" but rather a "BUF's touch".


CODE
-MATRIX 
How long did it take to create the special effects for both movies ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Including the months of research before the post-production, we worked from early 2001 to september 2003. Just for the work done at BUF compagnie.

CODE-MATRIX 
Did the team received complete scripts for Revolutions and Reloaded or extended production notes for inspiration ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Only the two producers and myself were able to read the scripts. And we had to read them on the set ! However the VFX team was able to see the complete storyboard and the conceptual artworks, it was a necessity.

CODE-MATRIX
Does the brothers' original script carry any information that would help to the comprehension of the movie ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
The script was very dense, but not explanatory. It took a lot of thinking and a lot of concentration to identify the small details that help to understand its meaning.



Into-Oracle

 


Neo's vision

 


reloaded..



" We happened to talk a little to the W. brothers "




CODE-MATRIX
When watching the movie, we cannot tell that there were so many companies involved in the VFX. Who was in charge of coordinating everyone around the W. brothers' demands ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
The job fell on the production VFX supervisors, John Gaeta, Dan Glass et John Des Jardins They had to harmonize all the ressources and make them "fit" the Wachowskis' vision.

CODE-MATRIX
Did you have definite directives from the brothers or did they leave you some freedom in your creation ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
The brothers know exactly what they want, but they did give us occasions to express ourselves in the limits of their universe. It was actually one of the most interesting aspects of the project.

CODE-MATRIX
Was your work done in post-production or parallel to the filming ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We went on the set (in Sydney), while teams in Paris were working on techniques and on the first test shots.Then as the editing progressed, we received the shots and we worked on them until the last minute.


CODE-MATRIX
Was the BUF team often in contact with the Wachowskis or did you have John Gaeta as an intermediary ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We talked mainly to John Gaeta and Dan Glass, but we happened to talk a little to the W. brothers.




Rolling Stone

Bullet time history





script reloaded




script revolutions

 


" We intervene in the movie before the filming "




CODE-MATRIX
You worked on Reloaded creating the opening sequence, the "orgasmic" cake, and Trinity's resurrection. Were the "matrix code" effects for Revolutions similar ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
The code effects were the same, however the Neo's vision (gold color and fractale vision) was different. We had to do new visual research and study different techniques, which led among others to the creation of the flaming agent Smith. At the end of Revolutions, the machine city seen by the blind Neo was created by Tippett Studios. They were in charge of that sequence.

CODE-MATRIX
What kind of machines and software do you use to realize your effects? Do you use freewares?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We have computers using linux and our own softwares (we develop everything internally, except for the visualisation we use mental ray, a german software. As for the fractales, we worked with open-source software.

CODE-MATRIX
You worked on the the power plant explosion. Did anyone from BUF supervise the shots in Baywaters, Australia ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We put up what we call a technical sheet at the attention of Dan Glass, production supervisor for the VFX of that sequence. It was simple: we needed pictures of the power plant. It was not possible to work it with a camera, so we had to work from pictures and recreate the power plant to make it explode. Aside the large explosion and the original pictures, all the elements of that sequence are computer generated.

CODE-MATRIX
How was your collaboration with the other VFX companies? Did you exchange information with some of them ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We had problems with no other companies. For most of it, it went well. We did not have to deal with them so much. We received some elements from ESC and also a matte painting from Tippett Studios Most of the time, we intervene in the movie before the filming in order to get all the elements we need.





Architect

 

 


Orgasmik-Cake

 

 


Power Plant

 

 


Resurrection

 


"We received boxes and boxes of archival videos "



CODE-MATRIX
You worked on the architect sequence. Did you received directives on the videos to insert into each screen ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We talked to the brothers after they were done filming the sequence. Then we received boxes and boxes of archival videos…
A first selection took place, then we showed them the complete sequence. Then we worked on the transitions, on the choice of precise videos and screens, and on the timing of certain sequences. That was not as simple as it seems !

CODE-MATRIX
Was the security around such a movie disturbing your work ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Not at all, it was rather securing and exciting. Confidentiality is a quite common thing in movie industry.

CODE-MATRIX
What was the mood on the set ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Honestly, it was good, very pleasant, oddly less "strained" than a hollywood set.

CODE-MATRIX
What are your feelings about that incredible brainstorming created by Reloaded in the different internet forums and websites ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
It was pretty interesting to see the amount of speculations and false information we could find on the net, as well as the many different ways Reloaded was interpreted.



Opening Sequence

 



Opening Sequence


 


Opening Sequence


"We are hoping to be in the box set ! "



CODE-MATRIX
As far as you know, are there lots of deleted scenes in both movies ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Yes, I believe so, there are always a lot of deleted scenes in movies for many reasons (time limitation, special effects difficulties, ideas that do not work...)

CODE-MATRIX
Were you contacted for interviews or short documentaries in the prospect of a box set ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
We gave them a lot of material at the end of each movie (Making of, images filmed at BUF...). So far, nothing consequent in the existing DVD's but we are hoping to be in the box set !

CODE-MATRIX
According to you, what will be the next technological breakdown in terms of special effects ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
Even if I knew it, I would not tell you ...

CODE-MATRIX
What are your other movies or projects ?

STEPHANE CERETTI
For the moment, we are working on Oliver Stone's Alexander The Great.

CODE-MATRIX
Stéphane, thank you for answering our questions and those of our code-matrix.net members.

STEPHANE CERETTI
To conclude this interview, I have to underline the fact that was a real team work and that a movie is not made alone. I was only lucky to be at the right time on the right movie. It was a group success, thanks to the work of everyone. I also want to thank Pierre Buffin, BUF compagnie founder, for entrusting me with this project, and John Gaeta for believing in us.

www.code-matrix.net



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 STEPHANE CERETTI
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW