The team at Perception developed a wide range of concepts for MGM, specifically designs and animations to populate Detroit 2028 in the 2014 remake of Robocop. Perception worked both on-site with Director Jose Padilha, and from their NYC offices developing point-of-view HUDs, large-screen interfaces, and a virtual newsroom broadcast package. Perception’s knack for realistic future-tech was a perfect match for the film’s gritty aesthetic, not just serving as set-dressing, but as a crucial story-telling component.
Early in the production, several members of the Perception team were flown to Canada to work closely with the director on his vision. They worked side by side to ensure all graphic elements supported the story while still maintaining their look and realism. As today’s film audiences grow increasingly more tech-savvy, the importance of Perception’s sci-fi UI work to look and function with the highest level of authenticity is imperative. The UI work in this and all of their film work is designed and built as if it were actual functioning software, and holds up to the highest levels of scrutiny.
The HEADS UP DISPLAYS (H.U.D.s) for the EM 208, ED 209, Robocop 1.0, and Robocop 3.0 are some of the main storytelling devices throughout the film. The director was adamant that everything on screen must have a purpose. This meant that every design choice had to have a reason to exist and couldn’t just be there for set dressing. Additionally, each H.U.D. had to show a progression in technology. Like all of Perception’s projects, the process starts off with a range of designs.
It was important to the director that no space was wasted. These screens were like another character in the movie and the story was dependent on the information they were conveying.
The EM 208 and ED 209 robots are the precursor to Robocop so all of the H.U.D.s had to feel like they belong in the same family. Perception created a logic that remains at the core of each design while improving the look to convey the developing technology.
The Novak Element is a prime time news show, featuring Sam Jackson as outspoken host Pat Novak. The entire show exists on a virtual set, where Novak is immersed in holographic projections of video feeds, infographics, maps and data. Perception was tasked with creating this complete design, including the set, the control room interface, the show package, and many other screens that appear throughout the segment. The animation needed to be seamlessly choreographed with Sam Jackson’s actions in order to create a fluid interaction with the video and data feeds.
For the control room Perception created the entire tabletop console and UI panel, which was built on a modular grid system containing a specific number of unique shapes. The intent was to build in flexibility so the monitors and panels of information could be re-arranged very easily in compositing, and create an infinite amount of unique combinations.
Perception created a full on-air broadcast show identity for The Novak Element. This package included the animated show open, redesigned logo, lower thirds, and several dynamic transitions. To create a cohesive look and powerful brand throughout The Novak Element, the Perception team approached this part of the assignment as if it were an actual show.
In addition to all the other content created, there are some elements that don’t fall into any organized category. Some of these materials include screens for the Pentagon, laboratory equipment screens, OCP corporate brand video, and a range of medical diagnostic screen UIs.
The entire team at Perception is thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute so much material to the Robocop mythology. Being fans of the original, it was an honor to collaborate and re-tell the story in the reboot. Here is a tease to some of the work Perception did for the film.