The Mercedes-Benz multi-year global sponsorship of the Masters Tournament is a partnership rooted in prestige and high performance. In keeping with this impressive pedigree, their longtime creative agency Merkley+Partners sought to push creative boundaries in their elegant marketing campaign, “What Makes Us,” narrated by Jon Hamm. The-Artery, known for exquisite storytelling and technical capabilities, envisioned a revolutionary VR solution.

To realize this new approach, The-Artery Founder and Director Vico Sharabani brought together an elite group of creative artists and skilled technologists. Emmy®-nominated cinematographer Paul Cameron (Westworld) and VFX Supervisor Rob Moggach co-directed the project, which features stunning production values, and gorgeous interplay of light and shadow. Renowned editor Michael Elliot contributed to the sophisticated editorial narrative, brought to life by an original musical score. Moody and mysterious, the campaign evokes the fearless, powerful and curious spirit of the Mercedes brand with a series six of intense broadcast commercials - including two fully CGI spots that were “shot” in a completely virtual world.

This pair of 30-second commercials, titled “First” and “Can’t,” are the first to be created utilizing a novel, real-time collaborative VR software application called Nu Design with Atom View technology. This cutting edge software from Los Angeles-based Nurulize allowed the directors and artists to run a VR-based production, shooting the spots, via the internet, across the North American continent.

Cameron, in Los Angeles, worked within a virtual world, choosing camera bodies and lenses inside the space that allowed him to “shoot” for POV and angles that would have taken weeks to complete in the real world. The software enabled him to grab and move the camera while all artistic camera direction was recorded virtually and used for final renders. This allowed both Sharabani (in NYC) and Moggach (in Toronto) to interact live and in real-time as if they were standing together on a physical set, establishing an entirely new production paradigm.

In addition to the expertise of these talented artists and Nurulize, the two spots were rendered with the support of Gridmarkets, a virtual render solution that partnered with The-Artery to make it possible to output the challenging multi-layered files in a fraction of the time previously required.