Bavaria Film – Celebrating 100 Years, INSYDIUM LTD

Case Studies

Monday, 30 September 2019

Bavaria Film brings 100 years of cinema to life

Jesse James Jones, Jr. talks to us about visualising a century of filmmaking through the evolution of cinematic title design to celebrate Bavaria Film's 100 year anniversary.

Creative Director, motion designer and lead compositor, Jesse James Jones, Jr. shows his typically creative approach to mark Bavaria Film's 100 year anniversary. With a century of cinematic influence to go at, Jesse had to really hone things down to create something that’s simple, elegant and perfectly crafted.


Jesse, you managed to cram in so many stunning visuals and the attention to detail really gives it that wow factor. Where did you draw your inspiration from?

Thank you! Well, as a creator, the whole notion of where ideas come from fascinates me. I imagined what the process of a creating a film could entail. Starting with getting those ideas down on paper. I then saw numerous beautiful photos of typewriters and I loved how beautiful and haunting they are. From there I wanted to show the spark of the idea become something bigger. I’m a big fan of Spielberg's work and how he uses light and shadow. I tried to bring in elements of that too.

Since it's about Bavaria Film's 100-year journey in motion, "100 years..." is our launch point. Then the momentum carries us through the idea, as we work out the kinks, as we build the characters, develop the plot…we are illuminated, so the typewriter gets brighter and brighter…

The typewriter was the genesis of the idea


This piece was created at Living Room Pictures in Cinema 4D R19 and rendered out in Cycles 4D. How long did it take from start to finish?

The lockup of the logo was initially created as a test, in a couple of days. Some versions were solid gold, some were gold-painted lenses, some were just perfectly shaped lenses. Cycles 4D made it very quick to experiment, and because it's based in reality, it's actually much faster to dynamically change lighting, textures and angles, without cheating the setup to get results. It just happens naturally and intuitively. And then the frames took about 1 week to work up. The new real-time work now is amazing and definitely saved lots of time.

The hardest thing to make was the transition from the dots to the light streaks, because it was a dynamic animation that needed to work at a certain speed, or else it would just look weird. I think I made 10 different versions, with lenses, without lenses, with long streaks, with a textured floor, etc… then comped them together to create something we liked.

Overall, counting all days together, I'd say it took a month. We delivered at 4K, 32 bit, and had a composer write the short score. The music really sealed the deal.

Transitioning the dots to light streaks

Why is Cycles 4D your render engine of choice?

I started using X-Particles in 2014 for a 10K black hole simulation, and I was amazed at its ease of use and speed. After that, I was hooked. In the past, the problem with Cinema 4D's advanced renderer is that it could be slow and inefficient. Especially with motion blur and depth of field.

Then, in 2016, INSYDIUM had a test program of Cycles 4D, and it worked on CPU. So, I started experimenting and was sold. The software price was great, and I bought 8 nodes almost immediately and did a segment of a Google Canada Ad while at Timber in LA. I was blown away, even how quickly I could get results in the real-time window. It just looked incredible to me. And the way it handled light was immediately rewarding.

Handling light and shadow in Cycles 4D


The INSYDIUM workflow feels so natural. X-Particles and Cycles 4D together in the same process beats anything else. I love how I can use particles, cloth, fluid and pyro in my work without having to learn another package or outsource. The INSYDIUM universe allows me to wow my clients and get the show done on time.


For anyone who hasn't used Cycles 4D before, what are your favourite features?

It's extremely stable. More so than anything else I’ve worked with. And easier to work with in the X-Particles universe than any other render engine.

The DOF is just as quick as non-DOF. It can make ordinary renders immediately better with DOF. I like the aesthetic. Somehow the processing looks like film up-rezzing from 8 to 16 to 35. I like the grain, and despite being able to Denoise in the render, I still prefer a bit of tooth to my images.

Motion blur on car wheels is fantastic. I love the motion blur adjustment spline, too. Oh, and the Cryptomatte is magical.

Also, the renders look great… not much need for post-render correction. Out of the box, it looks amazing, and I really like the physically accurate workflow. It's logical and forces me to think in proper light and camera conditions. To me, I feel like a cinematographer when I create. It's quite rewarding, and it makes me better every time I work.

We love the work you showcase on your website. It’s aspirational to beginners. So if you had to start your career again from scratch, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Wow, thank you. For me I know that there’s always someone better than you, and someone is always looking up to you. That’s why ego has no place in this world. But if I had to give myself one bit of advice, I think it would be to choose the right places to work. Places that help inspire and nurture talent, not stifle it. Oh, and don't wait for someone to give you a chance. If you see an opportunity take it. Other than that. Don't forget your roots. Don't be a jerk. Breathe. Empathise. Relax.

Producer/Director: Jochen Hirschfeld
Creative Director and Motion Designer: Jesse James Jones, Jr.


Cycles 4D made it very quick to experiment, and because it's based in reality, it's actually much faster to dynamically change lighting and textures and angles.

Jesse James Jones, Jr.