Grand Bassin

Hello, all!

Today, I am going to share my thoughts on a really beautiful piece called “Grand Bassin” which features observations in a swimming pool. 4 directors and students at École des Nouvelles Images, Héloïse Courtois, Victori Jalabert, Chloé Plat and Adèle Raigneau collectively created this piece. It has been Oscar qualified and had 64 festival selections [1].

(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

I actually came across this via Staff Picks on Vimeo. What caught my attention was the aesthetic – of large shapes and a striking visual – it really hooked me with the thumbnail.

What I find interesting:

  • Visuals – I personally really enjoy this 2D aesthetic of very solid, flat shapes – especially when paired with exaggerated shapes and sizes. It’s something that I have found difficult to achieve and is outside of my own artistic comfort zone but I really do wish to expand my skillset in this area!
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
  • It is mixed media of 3D shapes to give the character shape and weight – layered over a flat 2D background. Water is achieved using 3D and the reflections are done in 2D. I love this merge of the tools and how they work so fluidly together. To be honest, I thought that the humans were perhaps done in stop motion and coloured on top – the making process is really quite fascinating!
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
  • Sound Design- Now that I am working on my own film – I’ve had the chance to study the power of adding sound to animation. It really does bring it to life and experimenting with more creative, less organic sounds can be effective. The Creators have opted for sounds that hint to the audience as what is happening, such as under water resonances while also including more abstract voices and music, which matches as the film concept and visual is also a little abstract.
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

Background [1]

  • Setting: The creators chose the swimming pool as they find it to be such a unique public space to observe such strange but normal interactions between individuals [1]. A film which also showcases in complex and the unsaid of social norms and social pressures in this setting.
  • The creators chose to visually amplify the characters shapes, sizes and motion – in the same way that sound is often amplified at the swimming pool.
  • Sound: Sound was created in real life settings such as directly at the swimming pool, with a heavy focus on amplifying the sounds – as the amplified bodies move within the scene.

(ZF Team, 2019) [1] ,(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]
(Grand Bassin, 2019) [2]

What I think:
I think that this is a really creative, fun and interesting piece! It’s really insightful to see such a public space through the lens of someone else’s eyes. It is also interesting to focus on the unnoticed. The choice of visual style is suitable and it keeps the audience engaged. The mildly ambiguity of this film keeps me wondering what is going to happen at the next scene. Overall, I think that this is truly successful and lives up to its merits.

Let me know if you also enjoyed this! 🙂

Until next time,


[1] Team, ZF., 2019. Grand Bassin By Héloïse Courtois, Victori Jalabert, Chloé Plat And Adèle Raigneau. [online] Zippy Frames. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 March 2020].
[2] Grand Bassin. 2019. [film] Directed by H. Courtois, V. Jalabert, C. Plat and A. Raigneau. École des Nouvelles Images & Miyu Distribution.

DreamWorks TROLLS

Good afternoon!

We are back with another share! This week features the one and only TROLLS by DreamWorks. I remember when this first came out back in 2016. I was in my final months of my undergraduate degree of Engineering and I LOVED this movie! I’m sure I’m a little older than their target audience but the story, cute animations and quality soundtrack was enough to keep me glued to the screen. Little did I know, I’d be lucky enough to study in this field 2 years after!

I personally feel like DreamWorks did a great job – which is why it attracted those outside of their target audience. They excelled in many areas – but here are a few that I believe led them to success.

  • Quality Soundtrack with Star-studded singers
  • Voice actors
  • Engaging storyline
  • Character Design
  • Character Performance
  • Cinematography

Quality Soundtrack:

I note this one because this is actually what led me to watch this film. I stumbled across some pretty catchy tunes that featured Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick on Youtube. Their choice to invest in such high profile, talented singers paid off because suddenly, it’s not just a childrens movie. This is an animated musical featuring some of my favourite singers of all time!

Aside from the singers, the actual songs are so catchy! I still listen to “They Don’t Know” sung by Ariana Grande from this soundtrack. They composed some really catchy, upbeat songs that would attract young children and this worked perfectly.

Voice Actors:

To name a few, Justin Timberland, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Gwen Steffani and Kunal Nayyar. Most of these actors as well as singers are a household name in their own right – which is perfect for a musical. For me, I was really intrigued to see the animation paired with a talented cast of voice actors!

Engaging Plot:

This plot had highs and lows and it was timed perfectly so that the audience could understand exactly what was happening. It was not too slow that it dragged out and bored the audience. The song breaks staggered out in the movie kept it upbeat – without being too lengthily. The challenge of defeating the Burgens was made clear and exciting throughout.

Character Design:

This was something that I personally LOVED. The concept of trolls was really interesting – neither animal or human – it almost seemed like a bit of both! The bright colours and distinct personality of each troll allowed for moments of humour to seep through. It actually reminds me of Pixar’s Inside Out.

Poppy’s character had hair that would sometimes elongate and this is show in the track “Get Back Up Again”. This interesting as I recently rigged my characters with limbs that elongate. I am curious as to how they rigged the hair as it is much more smooth and adds alot of character to Poppy. The rig also inflates which adds to comedic value.

The textures used throughout the film creates a world that is distinct to the Trolls. Backgrounds and clothes are rendered with a fuzzy fabric. I feel like this aesthetic makes it look alot more organic – compared to rendering it out in a shiny smooth texture.

Character Performance:
Character Performance is something that I have alot to learn from. Their performance is so natural and fluid. The trolls have so much expression and is combined with the voice acting really well. There is not too much that makes it strange – it is a perfect balance and this gives it a really strong, lively performance.

Squash and Stretch giving the character a bouncy feel [1].
Squash when Poppy falls [1].
Overshoot when she gets back up [1].

The use of focus and choice of camera shots make for a really aesthetic film. It looks very cinematic and pleasing to the eye. I assures me that I am watching a quality production. The use of blur when Poppy falls in various scenes potentially means that the production team don’t have to waste time building huge sets for those scenes that are costly to render too.

What do I personally not like about the film?
For me, I think the colour palette is too wide. However, I think it is most suitable as it is aimed a young children. They follow primary colours and colours of the rainbow – which children are familiar with.
That being said, I would enjoy a more muted, cohesive colour palette.

Overall, there is plenty to learn from and I hope to incorporate aspects of this into my final film that is currently in progress! Particularly the aspects of cinematography and character performance!
Did you like it?

Until next time! P.s. stay safe, stay home, all!

[1] DreamWorksTV by Peacock Kids, 2016. “Get Back Up Again” Clip | TROLLS. [ Video ] Available at: <> [Accessed 10 March 2020].
[2] TROLLS. 2016. [film] Directed by M. Mitchell. DreamWorks.