Bipolar helps Uber introduce aerial ride-sharing service
June 21, 2019

Bipolar helps Uber introduce aerial ride-sharing service

WASHINGTON, DC — The Uber Elevate team recently previewed a video that shows what it sees as another revolutionary transportation offering - the aerial ride-sharing service Uber Air. The company called on creative boutique Bipolar Studio ( to create the integrated campaign, which includes a centerpiece film, experiential VR installation, print stills and social content. The Airborne video premiered at the two-day Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, DC. 

According to Bipolar Studio’s director/creative director, Gevorg Karensky and managing partner David Karapetyan, Uber approached the studio to help create a campaign that would allow attendees to feel the experience of flying on an Uber Air vehicle. The campaign’s imagery is 100 percent CG. 

Airborne begins with an Uber Air flight traveling from Mission Bay HQ across sun-soaked skies above San Francisco and landmarks like Warriors’ Arena and Transamerica Tower. Dusk gives way to early evening, as lights blink on the ground below and buildings appear as silhouettes in the far background. The Uber Air flight lands in neighboring Santa Clara on Uber’s Skytower. Total travel time is 18 minutes, compared to an hour or more in rush hour traffic. The multi-floor Skytower is equipped to handle a high volume of commuters, and each hour can land up to 1000 eVTOLs — futuristic-looking vehicles that can hover, take off and land vertically. 

Also part of the new campaign is a four-minute VR installation that gave attendees a full flight experience inside a built-out physical cabin, so they could see and feel what passengers would experience. The installation will travel to Uber events globally. 

"We worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Bipolar Studio to create an entirely photoreal VR flight experience, detailed at a high level of accuracy: from the physics of flight and advanced flight patterns, down to the dust on the windows,” says John Badalamenti, head of design for Uber Elevate. “This work represents a powerful milestone in communicating our vision through immersive storytelling and creates a foundation for design iteration that advances our perspective on the rider experience. Bipolar took things a step beyond that as well, creating ‘Airborne,’ our centerpiece 2D film, enabling future Uber Air passengers to take in the breadth and novelty of the journey outside the cabin from the perspective of the skyways."

For the animation, Bipolar built a new system through Houdini where the flight of the vehicle was not animated but simulated with real physics. The team coded a custom plug-in to be able to add a the speed of the aircraft, its weight, direction, etc. 

To bring the city to life, Bipolar had to entirely digitize San Francisco. They spent a lot of time creating a pipeline and built the entire city with actual data matching the terrain and the buildings. They detailed the buildings, filled the streets with moving traffic and people generated by AI. Some of the areas required a LIDAR scan for rebuilding. 

There were a lot of areas in both cities that are still under construction, so they studio helped them speed up and finished it all digitally. The entire Mission Bay Uber headquarters, The Warriors’ Chase Center Stadium and even different areas, like Six Flags in San Jose. They rendered out 32-bit EXRs in 4K with each frame having multiple layers for maximum control by the client in the comp stage.