When you see the work of the the French commercials director, Frederic
Planchon, the one thing that strikes you is the stunning visuals, rather
than the script. Everything he films is dramatically bold and colourful.
His work could be mistaken for that of the UK’s hottest commercials
export, Tony Kaye.
Planchon has been represented in London by Freedom Films for the past
year and so far has made his mark here with Bates Dorland’s Land Rover
spot, ‘discover’. The ad takes the cliche of car commercials being
overshadowed by landscapes to a higher level, with spectacular ice peaks
and desert scenes.
Planchon learned his craft during the course of his upbringing in the
role of assistant to his father, a theatre director. After spending two
years making music videos, he signed up with Premier Heure three years
ago, with his debut ad for Audi and DDB Paris. Stunning visual work for
the French bank, BNP, and Ferguson followed.
His commercial for Jet Tours, for J. Walter Thompson Paris, illustrates
his strength in his use of colour on location shots. While his film for
Euro Disney, for Ogilvy and Mather, demonstrates Planchon’s love affair
with new technology.
Planchon likes to shoot a film ‘au naturelle’, on location and without
actors, and then to manipulate the results via Harry and Flame, plus
Telecine for highlighting colours.
‘My style is graphic and visual, but it all starts from reality,’ he
says. ‘Then I change the results in post production.’
All of this sounds horribly expensive, but Planchon’s producer at
Freedom, Neil Ashman, denies that that is true. ‘‘Discover’ cost between
dollars 600,000 and dollars 700,000, when it should have cost around the
dollars 1 million mark. The Euro Disney budget was dollars 1 million. So
Frederic is good value for money,’ Ashman pronounces.
He adds: ‘As a visual director, he takes wonderful pictures. But what we
are now looking for is scripts that have an idea.’
Plus ca change.