Stardust's Holographic Worlds for Blackberry and BBDO Moscow

Stardust's Holographic Worlds for Blackberry & BBDO Moscow

Stardust has been tapped by BBDO Moscow to create eye-popping holographic video content for client Blackberry MTS that will be shown on a unique, new mixed-reality "presentation station" (RealFiction's Dreamoc 3D Display). The installation incorporates physical products with free-floating holographic elements. MTS will show the futuristic-looking installation at major public venues across Russia, including all three Moscow international airports, as well as trade events, conferences and MTS retail stores starting in March.

Director Alan Bibby and the production team at Stardust created full-color 3D animated imagery designed to appear as if floating in space within the Dreamoc 3D display. This content was then seamlessly integrated with a physical MTS Blackberry Storm2 smartphone affixed on a stand in the middle of the Dreamoc.

"Designing for this unique medium presented some interesting challenges, but as creative problem solvers, being able to make a dimensional visual sculpture rather than just a flat image was very enticing for us," said Alan Bibby, director, Stardust.

"It was also an opportunity to work with a new and unfamiliar technology, something we always welcome at Stardust -- whether it's using new software tools and production gear, or creating content for new platforms," added Aaron Maurer, senior art director, Stardust.

Because the Blackberry Storm2 phone works globally, BBDO wanted to showcase that quality while also targeting audiences where they might be using mobile phones, or as they're about to travel overseas. The agency brief for Stardust was to highlight how the phone could take users across the entire planet, from the USA to England to Africa, Asia and back again. Swirling around the Blackberry are compelling visuals of miniature worlds -- natural environments, menageries, cityscapes, monuments and other iconography indigenous to each of these global regions -- all projected into the environment in a holographic 3D illusion.

Due to the Dreamoc's eye-catching nature and novelty, passersby would be getting up close and personal with the machine, scrutinizing Stardust's work, which meant Stardust had to deliver on compelling, engaging visuals that complemented the phone. But perhaps the biggest challenge for Stardust was maintaining the idea that these are individual objects in space, and that the illusion of depth wouldn't come from matte paintings, depth of field or the usual tricks of the flat screen, but instead be driven with animation.

"Stardust was a terrific collaborator," said Alexander V. Dudin, commercial production manager, MTS. "Not only are they staffed with top-notch professionals who pay attention to every minor detail of production, they're extremely friendly and very easy to deal with. We always felt like we were the 'important' client and every new day felt like we were getting closer to The Big Result. Stardust will definitely be top-of-mind when we look to develop future productions that require a mix of creativity and technical know-how."

Production began in mid-December and wrapped early March 2011. The animated imagery was created in Autodesk Maya 2009 and rendered with mentalRay 3.1. Additional tools included NextLimit Realflow 5 for water VFX, Autodesk Mudbox for additional modeling, After Effects CS4, Trapcode Particular 2, and Form to create the environmental ephemera like rain, snow and dust storms. Frishluft Lenscare v1.4 was used for city dissolves, and Knoll Light Factory 2.5 for lens flares, lights and suns.

To quality-check the imagery and ensure the graphics would translate perfectly from the computer screen to its intended medium, Stardust purchased its own Dreamoc machine, so it could review the material with the agency and client in-situ. Stardust invites all visitors interested in checking out the Dreamoc device to drop by their studios in New York.