‘Swarm’ is the result of a creative and innovative collaboration between Lexus, Director Sam Brown of Rogue Films and KMel Robotics. ‘Swarm’ takes existing quadrotor technology out of its typical engineering environment and moves it into real world settings and locations. As the quadrotors interact with everyday objects, in everyday spaces, they convey a more human story and connect with viewers on an emotional level. The result is a playful and entertaining story of quadrotors exploring the city at night while we sleep.
The quadrotor technology was developed by KMel Robotics and uses innovative 3D mapping software, complex algorithms and motion capture camera equipment. Each quadrotor has reflective markers that respond to infrared light emitted by the cameras. Over 100 times per second each quadrotor is finding out where it is and working out where it should be, in order to achieve precise, synchronized and amazing movements.
The bespoke quadrotors created for ‘Swarm’ took design cues from Lexus vehicles, including the iconic spindle grille, LED headlights and LFA exhaust. The ambition was to bring warmth and personality to an existing colder technology, and the design brief was to balance both high-tech circuitry and aerodynamics with character animation.
‘Swarm’ Creative Story
The story begins with several single quadrotors coming out to investigate various locations across a city. Inquisitively and playfully the quadrotors interact with their settings and each other as their numbers begin to grow. As settings change you realize there are now multiple Swarms of quadrotors throughout the city flying in precise choreographed patterns and imitating what they see. The story concludes as playtime comes to an end and all of the quadrotors join together and rush up and out of a skyscraper. As the sun begins to rise and people begin to stir the Swarm flies out over the city and into the distance.
‘Swarm’ Additional Background Information
‘Swarm’ was filmed in Vancouver, Canada at multiple city locations including a public swimming pool, local supermarket, a vintage barber shop, hotel and the famous Museum of Anthropology designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.
Sam Brown of Rogue Films is one of London’s leading directors, awarded a Gold Cannes and Creative Circle. His commercial portfolio includes work for Virgin and Samsung as well as music promos for artists such as Jay-Z who have marked him as a unique talent.
KMel Robotics was founded in 2011 by University of Pennsylvania graduates Daniel Mellinger and Alex Kushleyev. They are specialists in hardware design, high performance control and focused on developing high-end engineering platforms that push the limits of experimental robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Lexus commissioned Jonathan Goldstein to compose a cartoon-inspired original track for ‘Swarm’, and this was recorded by a 56-piece orchestra in Angel Recording Studios in London.
The car sequence end frame features the Lexus LF-NX crossover concept car, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motorshow, September 2013.
Behind the Scenes Documentary Films:
‘Amazing in Motion’ is an inspiring set of global projects, created by Lexus, to showcase its imagination, innovation and design excellence. It builds on the Lexus ambition to connect with the hearts, as well as the minds, of luxury consumers.
The ‘Amazing in Motion’ series began with ‘Steps’, a project that explored motion through two 11ft figures brought to life by the art of puppeteering. The figures were created from beautifully finished 3D printed shells married with carbon fiber skeletons. Set against the backdrop of a stunning nocturnal cityscape, we follow a figure on its journey, culminating in a grand finale when it finds what it has been searching for. The ‘Steps’ campaign can be viewed at: amazinginmotion/steps.
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