DirecTV Experience Not Just For Watching

DIRECTV is promoting its cutting edge approaches to home viewing with a series of television commercials featuring filmed by Rupert Sanders with MJZ for Grey New York. In “Robots”, a man headed toward the kitchen to grab refreshments (ice cream, coffee) who is followed by a pair of incredibly realistic cyborg robots as they fight their way through his apartment. The spot highlights DirecTV’s Whole Home DVR service, providing the ability to watch and pause live TV from room to room. In “Submarine” a man watches passively as a crew member struggles to stay alive, revealing to us the high quality picture and sound of DIRECTV. “Don’t just watch TV. DIRECTV”.

DirecTV Robots

Click on the image below to play the Robots video.

Click on the image below to play the Submarine video.


The campaign was developed at Grey New York by chief creative officer Tor Myhren, creative director Denise O’Bleness, creative director/art director/copywriter Perry Fair, agency producer Andrew Chinich, account directors Alison Monk and Tamar Arslanian.

Filming was shot by director Rupert Sanders via MJZ, Los Angeles, with producer Laurie Boccaccio, executive producer Eric Stern, director of photography Greig Fraser.

Editor was Neil Smith at Work Post and Spot Welders.

Sound was designed by Jay Jennings at Birdhouse Sound, and mixed at Sound Lounge, New York, by Tom Jucarone with executive producer Gloria Pitagorsky. Music was by Atticus Ross.

Post production was done at The Moving Picture Company, Los Angeles, by VFX producer Andrew Bell, VFX supervisors Franck Lambertz and Mike Wynd, Flame artist Franck Lambertz, support artists Brendan Smith, Saron Marcussen, Brinton Jaecks, Ryan Knowles, Ben Persons, Adam Frazier, Kim Stevenson, 3D artists Mike Wynd, Ross Denner, Daniel Marsh, Fred Durrand, Ian Wilson, Danny Wynne, John Cherniack, Maria Ocantos, colorist Mark Gethin.

MPC’s main task was to replace the arms and legs of the in-camera cyborg suits with 3D. Legacy FX was hired by MJZ to design the cyborgs and build the suits. Although the suits were extremely realistic, Rupert’s vision was to strengthen the robotic nature even further. The MPC team therefore proposed a full 3D takeover of the upper and lower arms, thighs, shins and crotch areas. MPC rotoscoped the front armor detail on the in-camera suit in preparation for the 3D robotic inner workings to be composited across 45 shots. The team also took on the huge task of restoring the background that would be visible through the limbs. This task was made even more difficult as every shot was handheld and no repeatable clean plates captured. To achieve this, the 3D department made a proxy model of the entire set and projected photographs of the set onto the model. This projected proxy model was used with a 3D camera track to aid the 2D team with the background detail required.

The 3D matchmove department tracked the cyborgs to enable the animator and lighting department to render the robotic detail. Tracking markers were removed from the cyborgs in Nuke, and the cyborgs were replaced 100% in 3D within the second fire explosion shot. The fire explosion in the first pause moment, and the foreground crystal chandelier details, were also created in 3D. Once rendered, the 3D was composited in Nuke and Flame.