DirecTV Goes Sci-Fi For “Ice Cream”

DirecTV goes sci-fi with their new “Ice Cream” spot directed by Rupert Sanders with MJZ for Grey New York. The film features a man headed toward the fridge to grab a bowl of ice cream who is followed by a pair of incredibly realistic cyborg robots as they fight their way through his apartment.

The spot highlights DirecTV’s capabilities of watching and pausing live TV from room to room, and was aired nationwide on the World Series Game One. MPC’s main task was to replace the arms and legs of the in-camera cyborg suits with 3D.

Legacy 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.

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