Mothership, Digital Domain Collaborate on Nike Short
March 9, 2012

Mothership, Digital Domain Collaborate on Nike Short

LOS ANGELES — Director David Rosenbaum of Digital Domain's advertising and entertainment production company Mothership ( was called on by Nike to launch its new Flyknit technology and shoe collection. Rosenbaum worked directly with Nike to conceive "Biomorph,” a :51-second short that marks the debut of the new shoe technology. The spot premiered at the annual 2012 Nike Innovation Summit on February 21st and is also featured on Nike’s Website and YouTube channel. Sister company Digital Domain handled visual effects.

Nike approached Mothership with the mandate that the launch film should be performance-driven and an expression of how Flyknit shoes are knit seamlessly to form to a runner’s foot like a second skin. Based on that brief, Rosenbaum developed a thirty-page story with images and a concept to convey both the unique attributes of the shoe and how those attributes impact the running experience. 

“I was inspired by the concept of body schema—a term used across disciplines to describe the way that tools work with, and become extensions of the body. That really resonated with the way their Flyknit technology is designed—becoming an extension of the runner’s foot, seamless and lightweight,” said Rosenbaum. “From there the story of the progression of a barefoot runner’s stride with threads that weave themselves around his foot to reveal the Flyknit shoe began to take shape.”  

The Flyknit shoes are the first to be manufactured entirely in-house at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Rosenbaum met with Nike engineers and watched the shoes get made on customized industrial knitting machines. Nike tackled a complex runner’s challenge by creating a new material and method for making shoes; Rosenbaum worked with Digital Domain’s artists to develop a visual expression for the innovative weaving process in which these shoes are made. In addition to developing the spot concept, every aspect of the execution from storyboards to shoot, edit and effects were done in-house at Mothership and Digital Domain; Rosenbaum also commissioned the music, a custom track composed by David Wittman at Elias Music.

A very limited run of Nike Flyknit shoes was issued to coincide with the debut, however the highly-anticipated collection will be available in a wider release this summer.

Credits for Nike “Biomorph”

Client: Nike 

Andy Walker: Creative Director
Jesse Canright: Executive Producer
Barb Freeman: Production Manager
The Bergeron: Producer

Production by: Mothership

David Rosenbaum: Director
Ed Ulbrich: Chief Creative Officer, Digital Domain and President, Mothership
Tanya Cohen: Executive Producer
Scott Gemmell: Head of Production
Tiffani Manabat: Producer
Birthe Lauchengco: Production Supervisor 
Paul Cameron: Director of Photography

Animation, Editorial & Visual Effects by: Digital Domain

Ed Ulbrich: Chief Creative Officer, Digital Domain and President, Mothership
Tanya Cohen: Executive Producer
Scott Gemmell: Head of Production
Aladino Debert: Visual Effects Supervisor
David Liu: CG Supervisor
Nicola Wiseman: Producer
William Lemmon: Producer
Rachel Mariscal: Digital Production Manager 
Colin Woods: Editor
Richard Poulain: Storyboard Artist 
Brian Creasey: Generalist
Casey Benn: Generalist
Dave Carlson: Generalist
Gideon Vandergrift: Generalist
Kevin Culhane: Animator
Adrian Dimond: Technical Director
Michael Lori: Data Integration 
Ken Jones: FX Artist
Eric Ebeling: FX Artist
Jason Mortimer: FX Artist 
Rafael Colon: Lead Nuke Compositor 
Scott Hale: Nuke Compositor
Sven Dreesbach: Nuke Compositor
Jeff Heuser: Flame Artist 

Music by: Elias Arts

Composer: David Wittman 
Creative Director: Dave Gold
Executive Producer: Ann Haugen