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Versailles Series, behind the décor

jeudi 13 avril 2017

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  • bureau, salle de travail
    Office of Louis XIV
  • salle de travail, vue cheminée
    Office of Louis XIV, chimney
  • accessoires miroris
  • accessoires, buste plâtre Louis XIV
    Bust of Louis XIV
  • portrait équestre et vue décor
    salon, view of the upper décor
  • salon tableau portrait équestre de Louis XIV
  • salle portraits de femmes
    portraits of women
  • vu du décor extérieur
    view of the décor through a window
  • détail d'un tableau montrant la finition de craquelure et vernis
    detail of a reproduction that shows the varnish and cracking
  • comparaison portrait équestre du Louis XIV
    equestrian portrait of Louis XIV and reproduction with morphing of the actor's face
  • présentation d'un tableau par notre équipe
    the agency team presenting a framed reproduction of a painting

The arrival of season 2 of Versailles on Canal + — a Franco-Canadian co-production filmed in English — offers us the occasion to discuss our pictorial collaboration with the design team.

We were invited on set in June 2016. The current layout of the palace is of course not the same as at the time of Louis XIV.  Filming in the palace would have been far too restrictive. A large number of interior scenes were therefore recreated in the studio at Bry sur Marne. On a set of around 4000 m2, rooms and chambers of all kinds were reproduced at full scale. Major archival research was undertaken The aim was to be as close to period reality as possible. As a result, the palace environment develops over the course of time, with costumes, props and furniture appearing naturally in relation to the needs of the story.

Paintings also needed to be reproduced at full scale, so the team called on the agency for its expertise working with museums and the quality of our ultra-high definition digital files. Some paintings were also retouched, as for example the equestrian portrait of Louis XIV by René Antoine Houasse (87-001611), to which morphing was applied to feature the actor's head. The work required a very high quality file as the original work is over 2 metres in height.

The reproduction of around fifty paintings on a non-glossy medium without glazing for the needs of the camera was required. Another interesting technical detail:  to create a patina that would give an "antique" impression, the team release a smoke bomb just before the scenes are filmed. The actors play out their scenes in a foggy atmosphere.

Many thanks to:

Yorick Kalbache, Executive Producer 

Denis Seiglan, Production Designer 

Tania Rotbart, Set Designer

Sophie Ba, Design Co-ordinator 

Agathe Monsang, Assistant Set Designer 

Madeline Fontaine, Costume Designer

Marc Pinquier, Props Manager

Martin Jaubert, Director of Production



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