VIDEO: Bot & Dolly
Bot & Dolly, the Visual FX shop that got bought by Google for making a super viral YouTube video, has shown us a glimpse of the cinematic flair of the robot revolution. Their video Box, has garnered over 4.7 Million views in its 3+ year run, and their work for the filming of Gravity helped Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki gain ten Academy Award nominations and 7 victories, including in the category of Cinematography. Soon after, they were acquired by Google during a robotics shopping spree. Hopefully one day we will see a continued body of work from a Visual FX shop to take their place. One that doesn't fear a little experimentation in industries that might not be considered their own. But for now, enjoy the videos below, which feature a mixture of highlight reels and making of clips.
The first video shown here is the original Box video created by Bot & Dolly. The creators of this video have stated that they wanted to run an experiment to see if they could do projection mapping on a moving object. Thus the entire video does not involve any compositing. Instead, there is a projector, a camera mounted on a six axis robot, and 2 panels also mounted on six axis robots, all moving perfectly in sync. The result is a number of optical illusions involving trompe l'oeil drawings that give us the feeling of depth. This, combined with a human actor produces an semblance of something close to magic. To the viewers who were watching this performance live, they saw what you see, even if their perspective wasn't perfect, the illusion still looked remarkable.
This next video describes some of the making of Box. This video is well worth a watch. You have to see it to believe it, and you really get a sense of the environment that these people work in, which is spectacular in and of itself. The immense amount of creativity and collaboration that occurs in this warehouse space is undeniable.
The above video is one of the scenes in Gravity which was filmed using the help of Bot & Dolly's robots. The scene is narrated by Alfonso Cuarón as part of The New York Times' Anatomy of a scene series. Lastly, below is a short making of film of how scenes like that were filmed for Gravity.