Behind the Scenes of Mercedes-Benz's #LookUp Ad | Inspire
Behind the Scenes of Mercedes-Benz's #LookUp Ad

Behind the Scenes of Mercedes-Benz's #LookUp Ad

2 months + 10 people = 1 awesome ad. Here's what it takes to produce a 360-degree virtual reality commercial.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa's #LookUp advertising campaign invites you to "unleash your senses in a world of imagination". Producer Dries Uys of the visual effects and animation agency Sinister Studio, and copywriter Annette De Klerk of Net#Work BBDO, explain how they created the magic.

What was the rationale behind the #LookUp campaign?

Annette: We wanted to showcase the exhilaration and wonder of driving the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet. It's an experience that can't easily be described and has to be felt to understand fully.

How long did it take you to make the ad and how many people worked on it?

Dries: Two months with a team of 10 operators.

What was the most important element in creating such an immersive experience?

Dries: Detail and complexity. If you look closely, you'll notice that each origami animal is made from various textured paper. The car is a computer-generated model, but it's wrapped in photo textures of the real car. The leather-stitched seats, chrome trim, LDC display and each button are actual photos of the real car.

The ad integrates 360-degree video with virtual reality (VR). What was the biggest challenge in pulling all these different things together?

Dries: The film had to work for both platforms, so the challenge was how to make the 360-degree video constantly engaging while ensuring the VR was not overwhelming. The key was to guide the viewer visually with story elements. This ensured engagement without having to bombard them.

How does shooting in 360 degrees differ from conventional filming?

Dries: With conventional filming you have a camera pointing in one direction. You have the crew behind the camera, so you only have to consider what happens in front of your camera. When it comes to 360-degree filming, you film with multiple cameras pointing in all directions – there's nowhere for the crew to hide. Luckily, for the C-Class Cabriolet filming we didn't have this issue because our whole environment was computer-generated.  

Why were children so integral to this ad?

Annette: Unlike adults, who've lost their sense of wonder, children are fully able to appreciate the sensory pleasure a ride in a car like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet gives. We took them for a drive and asked them to describe the experience to us. We then used what they said to create a fantasy drive, where adult senses are delighted and reawakened.

Were there any hilarious or precarious moments during the creative process?

Annette: When asked what the drive felt like, one of the kids answered, "It feels like aliens kissing my butt". Kids are really funny!

What do you think the next innovations will be in terms of VR?

Dries: The integration between VR and augmented reality (AR) will be the next big leap. We are very excited about point cloud render formats that allow the user to interact with pre-created worlds without the need for game engine style platforms. This will, in short, turn the 360-degree passive experience into a depth-oriented interactive one. 

Get your VR goggles and experience the 360-degree virtual reality commercial:

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