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.
Much of our inspiration for designing future tech in film comes from our work and research for real technology companies. Our technology audits always inspire the directors and film executives, often times leading to storylines that are propelled further through these technologies.
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.
From our style frames above we created several motion studies that display different types of information the robots are receiving. As the robot scans different people throughout the streets its AI can predict who is a THREAT and who is a NON-THREAT. As you watch the motion studies you can see how the robots operating system works using eye scans, facial recognition, fingerprint scans and several other complex applications to single out threats.
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.
Throughout the film there was numerous scenes involving data visualization. We created a look for each different data set. From Robocops HUD when he reboots and escapes headquarters to medical screens throughout Omnicorp and more. Our designs and how the audience is fed all this complex data while watching a film is a key ingredient to taking the viewer on a journey they never knew.
This data is critical in telling the story. Throughout the movie these graphics are an addition in helping to tell the story and many times the graphics take on the role of telling the story themselves, adding to the emotional connection between the viewer and the characters of the film.
We designed the OMNICORP logo and all the collateral that a global corporation uses. Below is a logo animation we built as an introduction to OMNICORP to use several times in the movie for news conferences and introductions to executives.
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.
Perception's design is dually focused on both feature film technology visualization & next generation user experience for the world's most innovative companies. We function as strategic design advisors, visionary ideation consultants and architects of the future.