Battle of Vimy Ridge

 

THE BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE — BIRTH OF A NATION 

The battle of Vimy ridge took place during the First World War, in the north of France. The site fortified by the German army, had been the subject of multiple unsuccessful attacks on the part of the French and British armies. On April 9, 1917, Canadian troops unite their forces and pass to the assault. At the cost of several thousand deaths, they manage to take over the ridge.

A hundred years later, John Newell, son of a former soldier, takes us to the heart of the battle and the myth that surrounds it in Canada.

 

DOCUMENTARY OUTLINES

Supported by the insights of historians and the point of view of its director Loïc Van Russel, this 52’ documentary produced by Wild Horses, combines archive footage, testimonies, interviews and narrative sequences. To trace back John Newell’s journey and best relate his story, post-production required no less than six weeks of work. Trailer’s post-production, visible above, was also entrusted to me for the promotion of the film.


THE CHALLENGES

The biggest challenge, as a chief editor, was being able to articulate the storyline around his main character in a coherent and balanced form. The interest was to avoid the pitfall of making this documentary an "archive film", in an academic discourse, where the spectator would feel excluded. The other issue was to bring different types of media altogether, but also to create continuity despite repeated flashbacks and multiple places mentioned by the main character.

 
John Newell Documentary editing and post-production

THE POST-PRODUCTION

To meet these challenges, the author’s voice over serves as a thread throughout the film and reinforces the comments of historians, soldiers (via written or filmed documents) or those of John himself. Thus constructed, the narrative framework allows greater flexibility and releases the editing of time, places and action’s constraints. While retaining, nevertheless, a certain linearity necessary for the viewer’s understanding.

Similarly, motion design consolidates historians’ involvement (maps, paintings animation) and contributes to registering the film in a contemporary dynamic by the use of modern techniques (overlays, parallax effects…). Eventually, title design, by its dreamlike and contemplative look, arouses the memory of a singular story, that of John, amid a common history, that of the Great War.

 
Parallax effect of a painting created in After Effects

THE BROADCASTING

The documentary was broadcast on Wéo TV channel during commemorative ceremonies on the occasion of the First World War’s centenary.

SERVICES

Video editing

Motion design

Title design

Color Grading (Trailer + end titles only)

 
Historical map motion graphics design
Mother of Canada in documentary end titles

All rights reserved © 2019 — Julien Herman