It’s robot-boy with attitude, baggies, and an iPod. New York-based UVPhactory created the new video for hip-hop artist Peter Miser and yes, these cool hip-hop robots can dance.

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Ever feel like a robot at work? Slouching around between the water-cooler and your keyboard, surfing between email and record stores, watched over by a single-track boss with no sense of humour and too much steel up their spine? Then you

New York’s UVPhactory created the concept, designed and executed the 3D animation, lensed the live-action footage and completed the offline and online editorial for the three-and-a-half minute video for Miser’s new single, Scent of a Robot.

The single tells the story of a cubicle-dwelling everyman who inadvertently discovers that he’s a robot. The video switches between human and robot perspective – first we see the human face (Miser) brushing his teeth, getting to work, getting an earful from his boss (the cyclops style floating robot), then we switch to see Miser as robot. The baggy jeans, the attitude, the feeling of talent forcing itself through the motions of a dull job – the transition from human to robot is obvious, but the character remains the same throughout.

Existential design

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“Pete’s song poses a series of existential questions,” says UVPH

Work started in the summer of 2004 when Miser commissioned UVPH to create the video. “We got to work shooting the live-action footage in a variety of New York locations: subways, a Manhattan office tower after hours, an apartment and even in the bathroom of our offices,” says Welsh.
“Things really clicked when we heard Scent of a Robot. I thought the lyrics were powerful, but I didn’t want to just illustrate them, I wanted to find an unusual angle,” says UVPH creative director Alexandre Moors.

“The lyrics are about a guy who finds out he is a robot. I thought it would be interesting to have a robot schooled in all the human behaviours, who sees things through ‘human’ eyes, who thinks he is ‘more human than human.’”

The ‘more human than human’ theme is the company’s nod to Blade Runner – in classic sci-fi movie the phrase is the slogan of the company that designs the Replicants.

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Moors continues: “He has a robot wife, a robot co-worker, commutes in robot subways. It’s a metaphor for all of us – we can be formatted, programmed like robots and run nine-to-five. So we wove in as many jokes as possible – the video is full of little quotes and motivational posters on the walls of the corporate office, all the guys riding the subways are robots with their robot iPods.”
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Moors added, “I gave everyone at UVPhactory an assignment and encouraged them to let their imaginations and creativity run wild, to enjoy themselves. For me the greatest challenge was the creation of the robots – to make them original. 
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“Everyone is making robots these days but I’m really in love with our little character. He’s a cartoony mix – a modern Steamboat Willie actually modelled on Pete Miser himself. 
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“He wears baggy shorts, has big hands, short arms and a lazy gait, like a young urban hip-hop kid. The end product is fresh and sunny, which is much harder to create than dark and cynical.”
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<h2>Making robots dance</h2>
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