When the French army joined WW1, they were dangerously unprepared for war. Their soldiers were forced to face down German machine guns in bright red uniforms that were totally unfit for purpose.
To illustrate this idea for the ‘Soldier’s Kit’ episode of WW1 Uncut, we wanted a light-hearted, humorous approach, that still told the story but left the consequences largely to the audience’s imagination.
To achieve this, we looked at cartoons, comic strips and newspaper illustrations from the period for visual inspiration.
Having identified the look of what we’d like to achieve with this piece, we used TV Paint to draw the animation frame by frame. We then coloured it in Photoshop and composited it in After Effects.
The scene pans across a battlefield with many camouflaged soldiers marching across it. When the camera goes past a soldier in a bright red uniform, it does a double take and goes back. The soldier looks up nervously, the other two soldiers to the left and right jump out of shot to get away from the obvious target, and the machine gun starts to fire. When the cloud clears, we see the French man has got away, but in classic comic style, has got himself a bit caught up in the hedges.
(Animation at 04:30)
View our complete “Behind WW1 Uncut” articles:
- Behind WW1 Uncut #1 – Trenches: Blackboard
- Behind WW1 Uncut #2 – Trenches: Board of War
- Behind WW1 Uncut #3 – Soldier’s Food: Ration-ality
- Behind WW1 Uncut #4 – Soldier’s Kit: Quelle Dromage!
- Behind WW1 Uncut #5 – Barbed Wire: Cowboys
- Behind WW1 Uncut #6 – Barbed Wire: Cottage Industry
- Behind WW1 Uncut #7 – Barbed Wire: Wiring Parties