VFX MIAM! animation’s animated series ‘Edmond and Lucy’ is a good mix of entertainment and eco-responsibility -

MIAM! animation’s animated series ‘Edmond and Lucy’ is a good mix of entertainment and eco-responsibility

The first series from the French animation company MIAM! animation, produced with the participation of France Télévisions and HR/KiKA in Germany, will begin broadcasting in July on Okoo and in September on France 5. International sales are managed by MIAM! distribution team who has already secured presales with RTS (French-speaking  Switzerland), VRT (Flemmish-speaking Belgium), TV5 Monde (French-speaking worldd safe  Canada)), SVT (Sweden), SYN (Iceland), PULS (Poland), MTVA (Hungary), LTV (Latvia), LMT  (Latvia), RTVS (Slovenia). 

This new preschool series is an adaptation of the album collection Edmond and friends by Astrid Desbordes and Marc Boutavant, published by Nathan, translated into 15 languages and sold in 20  countries. The show aims at reconnecting children to the forest throughout the four seasons. Meet Edmond, the squirrel, and Lucy, the bear cub, and follow them on their daily adventures in the great outdoors: Nature is their best playmate!

Edmond and Lucy is a show made in France by 3 studios: MIAM! studio, Jungler and Artefacts. 

Committed Content 

Throughout the 52 12-minute episode, children will follow the outdoor adventures of a happy gang of friends, led by two lively heroes. Through all four seasons, this little band plays, builds, explores, observes and discovers the mysteries of the surrounding woods which gradually becomes a huge, fantastic playground. 

Edmond and Lucy is both educational and entertaining, and fosters values of living together, inclusion, empathy and solidarity. A programme celebrating knowledge, shared family time and respect for nature. 

Each episode has been written in collaboration with three expert naturalists (CSR expert, author and agronomic engineer Louise Browaeys, author and head of the education department at the NGO Under the pôle Gaëlle Bouttier Guérive – Didier Moreau, naturalist, ethnobotanist and specialist in experimental ecology). They have worked with the production and writing teams to choose the major themes to explore, and then endorsed the wildlife and nature content at each stage of the writing and production. 

Each episode will therefore be making its own small contribution to building a better world! 

A word from the broadcasters 

France Télévisions deputy director of digital channels Amandine Roussel said, ”France Télévisions has been working closely with the team from MIAM ! animation in developing and producing the series Edmond and Lucy. Fully in line with the sustainable approach initiated by MIAM ! animation at an industrial level, and after 5 years’ work, Edmond and Lucy comes at a key moment for Okoo since we have decided that France Télévisions’ offer for children should speed up its decarbonisation.”

“We’ll continue telling children enchanting stories about the world around them and encouraging them to protect it. We want to go even further and move faster with all our producer partners on eco-friendly content broadcast on the Okoo platform and act on the carbon footprint of our broadcasting facilities. The release of the series Edmond and Lucy marks the beginning of this very determined approach.”

“We are very happy to have this series on Okoo this summer.”

Hessischer Rundfunk head of fiction and family at HR Patricia Vasapollo said, “We are very pleased to be a part of the innovative and very charming new pre-school series Edmond and Lucy. Together with our reliable partners at MIAM ! animation, we are proud to follow new paths by co-producing the first ever animation series made in real-time animation for a public television channel here in Germany. With Edmond and Lucy, we will not only bring the beloved characters of Marc Boutavant’s books to life, but we will also be able to embed the nature curriculum through interactive storytelling and gamification, making respect for nature accessible to your young audience in an entertaining way.”

A word from the producers 

Director and artistic director François Narboux said, “Our project was to get children behind their screens to experience the pleasure of being outside. We wanted to give life to the forest and reach the wealth of atmospheres, textures, vegetation worthy of the most demanding art critic: graphic author Marc Boutavant! Real-time 3D was the ideal technical solution. By almost totally removing the very time- and money-consuming traditional phases of CGI image calculation, we obtained an iterative production pipeline. This pipeline enables us to get almost unlimited enrichment of our images. Cherry on the cake:the real-time engine we used brought a considerable cut in global production carbon waste and thus, is fully in line with our concept. Marc is thrilled and so are we!”

CEO and executive producer Hanna Mouchez said, “Edmond and Lucy is MIAM!’s first production: the upcoming broadcast of the show will be quite a moving moment for us! This project has rooted our whole entrepreneurial approach. The concept of reconnecting children with nature resonates with the sustainable production pipeline we have created with our partners. We have produced a better-quality series, with a controlled budget while substantially cutting our environmental impact. This is a real revolution. At a time when calculating the carbon spend on any production will become mandatory for everyone in the industry, the use of real-time 3D is a solid competitive asset. France Télévisions and the CNC are historic partners without whom we would not have been able to complete this R&D work.”

“We are most grateful to them!”

Technological Innovation Benefiting the Environment 

Unity, real-time CGI rendering software 

Already much remarked in festivals and professional events, Edmond and Lucy is a world premiere: it is the first 52×12’ animated series, almost entirely made in real-time CGI, to be broadcasted on a linear channel. This choice of technology corresponds to an artistic and sustainable choice coherent with the series’ concept itself. 

Artistic ambition 

To achieve the artistic ambition of adapting the world of Marc Boutavant in CGI for the first time and giving life to the forest as a character in its own right, MIAM! animation’s teams have initiated a technological development so as to use the real-time CGI rendering engine called Unity. The choice of real-time technology means that kids and their families can take part in the adventure and continue discovering the show thanks to a whole range of additional interactive content (quizzes, activities, interactive video games). 

Sustainable ambition 

The use of real-time makes it possible to cut down the number of manufacturing stages in the series, notably the time needed for image rendering. The episodes are rendered on a single machine, in just a few hours, instead of being calculated using several computers over a period of weeks as is the case for pre-calculated CGI. Real-time therefore enables significant cuts in the production’s carbon release. 

Calculating our carbon footprint 

In pre-calculated CGI, images are rendered using air-conditioned render farms which work night  and day and are dedicated to one single task: rendering images. Episodes need compositing and  are often calculated three or four times in their entirety.

In the “best case scenario”, an HD image takes 20 minutes to render, i.e. 500 minutes for one second  of animation, meaning 229 days to calculate a single 11’ episode with a traditional CGI render  engine on a single machine. We can easily understand why studios use render farms with  hundreds of computers to bring this time down to a few weeks or months. 

With a real-time CGI rendering engine, a 4K image is calculated in half a second, meaning around  12 minutes for one minute of animation, i.e. 2 ½ hours to calculate an 11’ episode, on one single machine. 

The CO2 impact generated by the rendering machine step only is at least 336 kg of CO2 for an 11’  episode in traditional CGI (for an image which is four times smaller) compared to 0.15 kg of CO2 for  an 11’ episode in real-time CGI, i.e. 2200 times less (figures calculated by Workflowers). These figures are currently being integrated into the calculation of the carbon footprint for the production  as a whole. 

Edmond and Lucy are raised as brother and sister in a majestic chestnut tree they call home, a kind of  radiant city of the forest. Playing and growing up in the heart of nature, unravelling its mysteries and  living adventures in the great outdoors…what a wonderful life!