Mothership directors Dael Oates and David Rosenbaum have teamed up with Goodby Silverstein & Partners to roll out the world's first 4G mobile phone, the Sprint HTC EVO. Titled "Firsts," the :30 cinematic TV and in-theater commercial showcases an elaborately choreographed domino effect toppling the world's technological and cultural "firsts." Visual effects were contributed by Mothership's sister facility, Digital Domain.
"This is exactly the kind of project that excites us at Mothership," said President Ed Ulbrich. "Goodby gave us great creative and the opportunity to present them with a solution. Dael and David are new directors who pitched the project in a new way - by developing a full creative concept and prototype. We've had a long history with Goodby and are thrilled they entrusted us with this important product launch. The results exceeded all of our expectations."
"Firsts" is set on an expansive and surreal landscape as a rudimentary stone wheel rolls across screen and the V/O states, "First is the beginning. First leads." The wheel sets off a massive domino chain of objects that have changed human culture. A 19th century bicycle topples a row of steam engines, a gramophone, microscope, typewriter and light bulbs. A seemingly endless queue of the world's first telephones and film cameras knock over a Ford Model T, which rolls into a towering wall of televisions avalanching upon impact. A lone TV rolls across the salt flat, felling the first airplane, rocket and a manned missile, which unlocks from its docking station and takes off into space. Finally a long chain reaction of circuit boards, VHS tapes, computers and mobile phones culminate in the last "first" standing, the Sprint HTC EVO.
Oates and Rosenbaum, who do not regularly direct as a duo, joined forces to handle the complex and ambitious Sprint spot, including overseeing a three-day live-action shoot at the Bonneville Salt Flats and the digital integration of hundreds of all-CG elements.
"Dael and I had a fantastic creative partnership. It all results in a better creative product when directors can check their egos at the door. Which was obviously very difficult for us," Rosenbaum said jokingly. Continued Oates, "It helped that we were humbled by working with an amazing creative team at Goodby. Jamie Barrett, James Bray, Nick Spahr and Cindy Epps gave us the guidance and creative freedom to make the spot better."
The 40-person production team, which included Mothership President Ed Ulbrich and Executive Producer Tanya Cohen, worked on the project over six weeks. Oates and Rosenbaum opted to showcase as many practical props as possible, which were then digitally augmented and enhanced by the sister VFX team at Digital Domain, with Aladino Debert as creative director. The directors tapped longtime collaborator DP Claudio Miranda, who has worked with Digital Domain on commercials as well as features, including the upcoming "TRON: Legacy" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."