Drawing inspiration from the Amnesty logo, a lit candle, Pleix has created a beautiful and moving spot against the death penalty.
Death Penalty depicts four execution scenes comprised of statues made out of wax that melt under the heat of the Amnesty International logo. Each of these four executions represent an area or country in the world – shooting (China, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen), hanging (Bangladesh, Botswana, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Japan, North Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sudan, Syria), beheading (Saudi Arabia) and electrocution (USA).
Initially, ad agecny TBWA Paris and Pleix wanted to create the entire spot in camera, shooting real statues created out of wax. But in initial tests it was discovered that it was too difficult to shoot melting wax without it looking like stop-motion, so the film was almost completely done in CG except for a few live action elements. As with all Amnesty International campaigns, this film was created on a voluntary basis. French collective Pleix worked with Parisian post-house Digital District for several months on the CG to create the photo-real melting of wax.
“The shoot was the easy part of the job,” says Pleix. “I sat in my kitchen filming flames and dripping crème fresh everywhere. The biggest challenge was not to make my girlfriend mad at the mess I was creating. We also did a number of facial scans which enabled us to create extra details on the faces.”
The statues were all sculpted in CG and they were deformed using special software.
“Creating the texture of wax was relatively easy to render compared to simulating realistic deformations of wax,” says Pleix. “CG software is great when you are making quick water splashes, but they were unusable to melt things very slowly. So we had to find many tricks to make it work, especially with the melting being the highlight of this project. It was a challenge to the very end.”