Meet the people behind our award-winning work across the globe. Up next is our incredible Visual Effects Supervisor from Mikros MPC in Paris, Stéphane Pivron.
Stéphane Pivron has 20 years of experience in the VFX industry. In 2000, Stéphane joined the Mikros group in Paris as an assistant, before quickly progressing to a Flame Artist and then VFX supervisor in 2004.
Over the last 20 years, Stéphane has worked on numerous high-end visual effects projects, award-winning films and music videos, directed by world-renowned artists such as Johan Renck, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Cary Fukunaga, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Wong Kar Wai, Romain Gavras, Rob Marshall, Jean Jacques Annaud… Among the many projects praised by the industry, he received a VES Awards in 2012 for his 2D supervision and compositing work on Dior J’adore “Egéries”. Most recently, Stéphane worked on ‘Heat’ by Perrier and ‘Être Ce Qui Va Arriver’ for Chanel n°5.
1. What drew you to work at Mikros MPC?
I’ve always had a great passion for cinema and photography, and a huge appetite to work within the industry. I joined the Mikros Image group in 2000. At that time, the business was a world-renowned French studio, known for creating visual effects and was notorious for excellence in creativity within advertising and feature film. In 2017, Mikros and MPC joined forces to deliver advertising campaigns and became Mikros MPC, it during this time that I decided to pursue a career crafting visual effects for advertising.
2. Where were you working before Mikros MPC?
My first ever job was at Mikros MPC! After a double degree in Physics and Cinema, I went to a film school for two years where I studied as a Director of Photography, and then I was offered a role at Mikros.
3. How did you first get into the world of post-production?
To become a DOP, you had to do an internship in a film laboratory. During this two-month experience, at the bend of a corridor, I discovered an edit-box (the forefather of the Flame), and I had an immediate crush! I looked for an internship in the best visual effects company in Paris, and Mikros Image was the first choice on my list. They hired me two months later.
4. What projects have you worked on?
With over 20 years of experience, I’ve worked on numerous high-end visual effects projects, films and music videos. I’m lucky to have had the chance to work with world-renowned artists such as Johan Renck, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Wong Kar Wai, Romain Gavras, Rob Marshall, Jean Jacques Annaud… Among the most noteworthy projects, I received a VES Award in 2012 for my 2D supervision and compositing work on the film Dior J’adore “Egéries“. Most recently, I’ve worked on ‘Heat’ by Perrier and ‘Être Ce Qui Va Arriver’ for Chanel n°5.
5. What have been some of the biggest career influences in your life?
Since childhood, I’ve had a passion for photography and cinema, so filmmakers and image creatives have always greatly influenced my career. Directors: Fritz Lang, Denis Villeneuve and Jim Jarmush, Photographers: André Kertész, Raymond Depardon and Jean Baptiste Mondino, Directors of Photography: Raoul Coutard, Emmanuel Lubezki and Darius Khondji, the list goes on…
And when life gives you the opportunity to work with the artists who are an inspiration to you, it is just magic!
6. How would you describe your creative process and how do you stay inspired in your work?
I love to be challenged on crazy ideas – the crazier the idea, the more I like it. My creative process often begins subconsciously- I explore all the creative directions without any limits, secondly I rationalize my initial ideas. I often think of Jacques Tourneur’s film, “Cat People”, dated 1942. Because of the budget limits, Jacques Tourneur couldn’t shoot with a real panther, so he had the idea to feature it as a shadow. And it was such a clever choice – this idea made the storytelling definitely stronger! Between the core creative idea and the practical restrictions, often arises a clever process, a smart idea. And it is our role as supervisors to explore the smart solutions.
The key is curiosity! Many of my ideas come from things I see while walking in the streets, what I read in books, magazines, or see at exhibitions. Music is very important too. I always play music when I work as a Flame Artist. And between projects, the music I listen to is always different. More than a rhythm, it brings a supplement of life to the images I create.
7. What would you say makes a good artist and what advice would you give to those entering the industry right now?
Be wide open! Learn from the others, they have so much to teach you! And when you exchange in a generous way, you always receive much more than you give.
Don’t be afraid to doubt. I feel doubt is essential in a creative process. We can’t have all solutions right away. It is why research and explorations are so important.
And of course, stay curious!
8. Favourite piece of MPC or Mikros MPC work that you didn’t work on?
Blade Runner 2049 for many reasons. I was a child when Ridley Scott made the first opus, and for my child mind, this film was a revelation- it is a great movie and I love the work of Denis Villeneuve.
A few years before the film I worked on digital doubles for Dior Egéries. Recreating Marylin Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich and bringing them to life was one of the most difficult things I have every worked on. I am even more appreciative of the work done by the MPC team to recreate Rachel.
9. Things you’re most proud of?
My son! He’s 12 years old and every day he amazes me. We recently visited Reunion Island, he joined me on every hike even when we started at 5am in the morning. He kept a big smile on his face and was excited to discover the breathtaking landscapes of the island. During our two-week holiday, we finalized a total of 200km-long hikes! It was a great experience for both of us.
10. What do you like to do in your spare time, any passion projects or side hobbies?
First, I’ve been practicing Tai Chi for 6 years. I was introduced to the sport from 15th generation master in the Wudang Mountains in China. In our everyday job, we face many challenges, brief changes, rapid pace, extra hours, constraining deadlines… and Tai Chi helps me a lot to stay calm and peaceful in every situation.
My second hobby is reading comics and graphic novels – I think I have a hundred of them!
And thirdly, I am very lucky to have a terrace in Paris and with my wife and son, we grow a luxuriant garden in permaculture, and we enjoy ripping grapes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, courgettes, salads, radishes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, even potatoes! And recently, I’ve started hops, to brew my own beer!