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Apnée by Claude Chabot


I’d heard good things about Claude Chabot’s Apnée but unfortunately missed its screening at Platform. Luckily the film is posted online over HERE. While the film is little more than a graphic gimmick, it’s a well done piece proving that even photorealistic CG can be effective when applied in the proper artistic context. Also worth noting: it’s been pointed out that Apnée bears more than a passing conceptual resemblance to a 2001 animated short: Daniele Lunghini and Diego Zuelli’s Le Foto Dello Scandalo. You can judge for yourself by watching that film on YouTube.

  • Kevin Stevens

    I believe we change change “passing conceptual resemblance” to “Same idea, better rendering”. Something this obvious should include a credit for the original. “Inspired by”, “In the Spirit Of”, “A Blatant Theft Of”, something like that.

  • G

    A little too close for comfort.
    I got to believe one inspired the other.
    Anyone know?

  • tom

    I think that these could have originated from two completely different sources. That “Matrix-y” 360 thing has been around for quite a while and it was just a matter of time before someone started writing around that idea instead of just using it in other projects as an effect.

    Both are pretty interesting.

  • Interesting use of the Matrix gimmick, but not much of a story. If they were going to put in that much time in making everything look so impressively photoreal, they should have at least had a stronger story to prop it all up. Just my opinion.

  • I think it is enough of a simple, kind of gimmicky idea that it could be a coincidence. I bet you could trace this idea back even further, using a long take and stationary objects to tell a story, like a three dimensional comic.

    And I think Chabot’s has more going for it than the rendering too. He uses camera movement a lot better, it seems a lot less like lazy/cheap animating. He confined himself to a small space and every turn of the camera hides or reveals something in a very tight rhythm. And every image is worth the time you spend lingering on it.

    I don’t know about the photographer angle. It does seem to kind of make sense in the basic framework to have a photographer as an excuse to have photographs of the characters just for contrast and rhythm to the the other, three dimensional images of the characters. Just to keep the story telling from getting monotonous. But maybe that’s a stretch.

  • matt

    I had to weigh in as it annoys me when people refer to the ‘frozen moment’ thing as the “Matrix” effect because it intimates that they (Matrix guys) invented it when it had already been around for more than a decade before THEN. Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not bagging you guys out, but I get a bee in my bonnet about it and even had an extended argument with Jon Gaeta himself about how disingenous he’d been on the Matrix DVD and elsewhere as I thought he was taking advantage of the average audience member’s innocence. He sort of conceded in the end. Don’t get me wrong though. I did love that effect in the film as it was in service to the story and the idea of altered perception.

    Getting back on topic I liked that they used the technique here as an extended reveal, and thought the “iris out” was witty and funny! Cool short, and maybe could have even been a bit shorter as we know what’s happened at the start so the ‘how’ doesn’t hold us for too long. Still cool though.

  • RR

    It’s certainly slick, but oh how I wish this new breed of animators knew how to write.

    One can only imagine if guys like these had a real script, not just a gimmick or a series of gags, but a script with a heart and brain to sink their teeth into!

  • Forgot to ask, is Christopher Meloni from Law and Order SVU getting his royalty checks from this?

  • matt

    Boy that opens up a can of worms RR! What’s worse, artists/animators who don’t know enough about literary basics, or the past 50 years of writers who can’t take advantage of a visual medium and don’t think cinematically and have given us the decades of crap in both TV and film animation (animated radio)?

    Maybe that’s rhetorical as I don’t think it can be answered!

    To be fair, this short is predicated on an idea perfectly suited to its running time (or maybe even a bit shorter as I said above as one reveal slightly outweighs the other). Surely it’s “good writing” to have the premise suit the execution? How can you be critical of the writing when you don’t seem to like the idea? One is inextricable from the other here because of its form. How would you suggest getting more heart and brain into this without defeating or overwhelming the plot-based point? That’s not meant to sound facetious, I really am interested if you have a solution as you raised the point. Cheers.

  • Well there really is no story at all in my opinion, just a sequence of events. Cameraman tries to take a picture of celebrity, cameraman gets hit by car. The end. All of the animation and beautiful imagery just serves to get that across. You could have done the same thing in about five seconds. I don’t think the slow reveal added anything really. Perhaps if there were more of a mystery element to the story, or an element that makes you change your mind about something you perceived earlier in the short.

  • Claude Chabot

    I just wanted to give you few information about this film:

    I work in Vfx industry since 1991.
    In 1995 I made “frozentime� effects on Michel Gondry’s films with BUF compagnie in Paris.
    BUF also worked on Figth Club, Matrix,etc.

    I wrote “Apnée� during summer 1999 and registered the storyboard in February 2000.
    We started to produce the film in December 2000 and I saw “le foto dello scandalo� around May 2001.
    “Apnée� was a pretty hard job to do and was finally released in 2006!

    This is a true coincidence. I have met a lot of people who wished to use this technique for storytelling.
    Both Daniele Lunghini and I probably followed the same ideas from “frozentime� to photography and death.

    But I think the two films are actually very different.