Matter to… make

This year, the circus theme unfolds across a water screen and is reflected on the lake thanks to water jets, lights and a subtle soundtrack.
Different images are played across the water screen: a video appears, giving life to the characters. Monsieur Loyal accompanies the performance, while the circus artists are a sure crowd pleaser. With perfect fluidity, the movement of the animations are coordinated with the music and water effects of the show.

Let’s follow the creation of such an achievement, which requires imagination, experience and organisation.


Crystal Group has been creating the Metz aquatic show for more than eight years. For each edition, the aim is reinvention as well as creation of new, unique universes. In 2018, the circus is in the spotlight! And not just any circus. Our circus is elegant and magical, with all the lightness of the trapeze artist, delicacy of the contortionist and poetry of a colourful, musical performance.
We proposed our ideas to the city of Metz. This proposal was accompanied with a draft design. This helped to imagine the final rendering: a video drawn entirely by hand that is projected on a water screen. The effect of the envisaged rotoscoping* gives the images a unique dynamism, communicating the fluidity of each character’s movements.

Pierre Bourrigault is an illustrator and 2D animator. Crystal Group has already collaborated with this artist on previous occasions. His personality and fertile imagination were a perfect fit for our project. 
The proposition was accepted by the city of Metz. The serious stuff could begin!


Pierre Bourrigault worked in collaboration with Lorenzo Tomio, musician/ composer and Elisetta, motion designer, thus allowing him to manage the entire creation chain. The composer received a storyline which was accompanied by a second-by-second description of the intentions of each sequence. This acted as a base, from which the music was then created. 

Meanwhile, all the scenes for each character were filmed. Our Monsieur Loyal wandered in front of the camera! Pierre used all of the resulting film as a basis for creating realistic animated drawings. This titanic tasks came alive, second by second.


Each sequence (drawings, video effects and music) was approved by the client along the way. The colours and size of the characters and objects were adapted to ensure the most beautiful effect on the water screen. Monsieur Loyal must walk on the water, while the trapeze artists dive into the lake.  

Together, the video sequences total more than seven minutes. In its entirety, the project took nearly four months to be fully completed. But the result speaks for itself. 

On the screen of sparkling water, the watercolour circus tent is erected and the characters take to the stage. A few days before the show, the choreographic fountains, water jets and lights were programmed. They adapt to the movements of the characters and the rhythm of the music. A little sweetness for our sad clown, jets reaching several metres for our flying trapeze artists and an explosion of fountains make for a colourful finale.

A big thank you to Pierre and his team for creating this beautiful video and, of course, a big congratulations to our entire team for the otherworldly finished result.

Practical info

The show is running from 22 June to 2 September 2018 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on the eves and days of national holidays (except for 14 July), with two performances, at 10.30 pm and 11 pm.

*Rotoscoping is a cinematographic process that involves tracing the contours of a figure (object or human), image by image, that has been filmed in real life in order to create an animated film.