The-Artery Uses Virtual Production Technology On Mercedes Campaign
April 27, 2018

The-Artery Uses Virtual Production Technology On Mercedes Campaign

NEW YORK CITY — Mercedes-Benz USA’s new “What Makes Us” brand campaign celebrates the company’s ongoing commitment to reinventing what is possible, including innovations in luxury, sustainability and performance. Comprised of six stylized :30 television commercials, the campaign underscores integral qualities of the brand and features narration by Jon Hamm.
Merkley+Partners conceived the campaign, which began airing during The Masters golf tournament and includes the spots First, Can’t, Difficult, Curious, Fearless and Stubborn. Connected to the evocative phrases is captivating imagery that draws parallels between all that one word and one brand can encapsulate. 

Two of the spots — First and Can’t — are entirely CGI, and were shot using VR technology that allowed the team at The-Artery to use virtual cameras to capture imagery and angles of the Mercedes vehicles much like they would have using practical camera equipment. Nurulize’s ( Nu Design is a VR collaboration tool that combines the worlds of production and VFX into one VR space, where directors, production heads, and producers can rapidly iterate in an expressive, precise and intuitive environment.

In the First spot, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar is revealed from beneath a shiny sheet, that looks as if it might even be liquid metal. The narration mentions alchemy and the ability to create something from nothing. Further defying logic and gravity, the camera angles help to create a feeling of weightlessness. Can’t features a Mercedes sedan that has been designed to be remarkably aerodynamic, a trait once thought to be reserved for sports cars.

The-Artery ( founder and director Vico Sharabani brought together a creative team that included cinematographer Paul Cameron (Westworld) and VFX supervisor Rob Moggach to co-direct the project. Cameron, who was located in Los Angeles, worked within a virtual world, choosing camera bodies and lenses inside the space that allowed him to ‘shoot’ POVs and angles that would have taken considerably longer using traditional production techniques. The Nu Design software enabled him to move the camera while its artistic direction was recorded virtually and used for final renders. Sharabani, in New York City, and Moggach, in Toronto, were able to monitor and interact with the process in realtime, as if they were standing together on a physical set.

Visual effects were created with the help of SideFX Houdini and the two spots were rendered with the support of Gridmarkets, a virtual render solution and Redshift. Foundry’s Nuke was used for compositing and Autodesk Flame was used for finishing. The spots were edited in Adobe Premiere and graded using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve.