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Mothership’s David Rosenbaum Directs Robotarm for Cisco

Mothership director David Rosenbaum teamed with OgilvyWest for “Robotarm” for Cisco that broke during the NFC Championship broadcast on January 22.

Press release from Mothership/Digital Domain:

Los Angeles, CA -- Mothership director David Rosenbaum teamed with OgilvyWest to tell a simple story about a complex concept in a “Robotarm” for Cisco that broke during the NFC Championship broadcast on January 22. Despite a four-week timeline, the all-CG spot delivers film caliber computer animation that is entirely photo-real.

The commercial depicts a cheerfully aware group of self-sustaining automotive assembly robots as a metaphor for Cisco Intelligent Networks that can fix and diagnose themselves. Nine unique robots star in the spot, all designed to emulate the look of classic factory machinery enhanced with distinct characteristics. Synchronized to Gary Numan’s “Cars,” the robots drill, rivet, screw, weld and hand body parts off to one another. The set was entirely built in CG, based on reference photography from modern automotive plants.

Rosenbaum collaborated closely with OgilvyWest co-chief creative officers James Dawson-Hollis and Bill Wright to approach the spot as if it were a live action shoot. Instead of shooting with cameras on set, they worked alongside Digital Domain’s previs team to frame up shots and work out compositions with rough animations.

"From the beginning we knew we wanted to use a factory metaphor to tell the story of complex computer systems that can diagnose and fix themselves," said Rosenbaum. "Together with the OgilvyWest team we took that idea to a new place—doing away with a traditional assembly line, creating robots with distinct personalities and bringing them closer together so they could interact. In the end I think we were able to humanize the technology and make it more understandable."

“The nature of the schedule forced us to work in an unorthodox way on this project,” added VFX supervisor Aladino Debert, also a Mothership director. “Doing look development and modeling while simultaneously animating, lighting and compositing, relied heavily on the technical and artistic prowess of our seasoned team and ability to turn around photoreal rendering very quickly.”

About Mothership

Hybrid commercial production company Mothership creates advertising, branded content, and entertainment for screens of all sizes. A sister company to Digital Domain, Mothership represents top global creative talent and enables them with all of the resources and expertise of the world-class, Academy-honored studio. Mothership creates the content, strategies and campaigns that take ideas from concept through completion, to roll out brand experiences across multiple media platforms.

About Digital Domain

Digital production company Digital Domain was founded in 1993. The company has created visuals for more than 80 movies, including Titanic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and TRON: Legacy and hundreds of commercials. Its artists have earned multiple Academy Awards®. Digital Domain recently completed visual effects for Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Real Steel and is in production on Jack the Giant Killer, 47 Ronin and a full slate of commercials. Digital Domain is headquartered in Venice, California with studios in Vancouver, San Francisco and Florida.


CISCO “ROBOTARM” Directed by: David Rosenbaum

Agency: OgilvyWest Chief Creative Officers: James Dawson-Hollis, Bill Wright Associate Creative Directors: Jeff Heath, Dennis Lee Agency Producer: Eric Rasco Agency President: Heather MacPherson Account Director: Efren Gonzalez Account Management Supervisor: Sarah Tabbush

Production, Animation, Editorial & Visual Effects by: Digital Domain Ed Ulbrich: President, Commercial Division; Executive Vice President Tanya Cohen: Executive Producer Scott Gemmell: Head of Production Aladino Debert: Visual Effects Supervisor Lee Carlton: CG Supervisor William Lemmon: Producer Alex Michael: Coordinator Fred Fouquet: Editor Colin Woods: Editor Brian Creasey: Generalist, Previs Artist Tim Jones: Generalist Trisha Mcnamara: Generalist Val Sinlao: Generalist Anthony Ramirez: Generalist Rick Thomas: Animator Stephan Brezinsky: Animator Ruel Smith: Animator Tom St. Amand: Animator Adrian Dimond: Technical Director Derek Crosby: Technical Director Tom Briggs: FX Artist Adrian Graham: FX Artist Cody Williams: Motion Graphics Artist Jeff Heusser: Nuke Compositor, Flame Artist Scott Hale: Nuke Compositor Niles Heckman: Nuke Compositor, Previs Artist Sven Dreesbach: Nuke Compositor

Music: Composition: Gary Numan "Cars" Re-record: kinseywhitehouse

Sound Design: Henryboy Sound Designer: Bill Chesley Producer: Kate Gibson

Mix: Rohan Young, Lime Studios

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.