When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Friday, 29 July 2011

ready, SET, sleeeeeep!

This past week was murder! We had a small basement set to build that we constructed in studio last Thursday. Thanks D Kubista! Then  I had a wedding to go to last Friday out in Ottawa, which is about 4 hours from here. Congatulations go to Mike Brown and Laura Berry(now Brown of course) This would normally be a great thing, if our Kingstar job wasn't looming over our heads. I got back from that trip at around noon on Saturday and we got into it pretty hard. This job had a number of different components to it. One part was a pretty big set build. It was essentially supposed to be a large 'warehouse loft' set. All painted white with 6 windows. Sound easy enough. This set had 2 walls 30 feet long and 16 feet high placed in an 'L' configuration. The six windows were 5'X10'. I say windows, but they were actually just mullions set into a frame. No glass was used as we didn't want any reflections in the glass that would show the crew or cameras. The other part of the build was a few set pieces. One was a 3'X4' light box that would be lit from the base illuminating the product. The other was a strange stylized floor sculpture that displayed the product in a central tube with LED lighting. Another was a 10' foot octagon stage that would have a queen size mattress display on top. And lastly was an 8'X8' wall arch that would serve as an architectural piece on set. I'm not gonna lie, this was a huge build for the time allotted. Joe was able to come in and help out with some of the build, but as he hurt his shoulder earlier, was fairly limited to what he could do. But appreciated none the less! We worked from 9am Sunday to 2 am Monday getting the work done on the set pieces. There was a lot of 2D routing with Aspire at the helm of our Techno cnc! They seemed to be the only ones not exhausted at the end of the day. Then we all headed home and got a good nights sleep. 5 am Monday came like a freight train! We loaded up the vehicles and headed to the studio. A mere 2 hrs later we were at the studio and unloaded. I headed out to grab the set lumber locally while the guys got started assembling the set pieces we built at the shop. All of our vac-formed stone panels arrived on time to the studio, so that took a load of my mind. We split into 2 teams, Mike and I took to building the 5, 2'X16' columns that would join the 6, 8'X18' foot window walls that Andrew and Joe were building. Due to space limitations in the studio, and that other filming for product shots was going on, it put us a little behind the 8 ball. We needed to get the walls built, stoned, and painted white before we could leave. This was finished at 3:30 am, and we all headed home. I was a super stellar boss and told the guys not to come in until 10 am. That came fast as well! We continued to build the rest of the set pieces, and mill the window trim, until 6:30 pm, at which point we loaded up for the 1.5hr drive to the city. The studio was like starting whole new day. Jody got the thank-less job of painting all the pieces white, while Andrew, Mike and I started assembling the stage pieces and all the window mullions. Hanging the windows was a huge job. We couldn't use the studio lift as the windows went in from the back of the set walls, and all the backdrop lights were connected and placed. So we had to snake a 12' step ladder around all the stuff. Every window was like threading a needle wearing baseball gloves. But we did it, on time and on budget! The vans were loaded and we hit the road at 11 am Wednesday. Jody and I were so exhausted, we slept in the van in a parking lot halfway back to the shop for an hour. After we got home I felt a little more awake........................but just until 4 pm. Thats when I hit the sack and slept till 7 am Thursday. No matter how long the hours, the job eventually wraps. I have to give a super special thanks to Andrew and Mike, who went the extra mile on this short deadline job. They hung on to the bitter end, and Jody and I are very grateful to have guys like these to work beside.

 The strange sculpture above. Laminated mdf with brushed aluminum finish.

The light table box getting ready for it's on screen debut.

 Set day 1. The chaos ensues!

 End of day 1 with a great crew (L-R, Mike Jody, Andrew and Joe)

 Set day 2. Only forever left to go. And counting!

 Final set built! Yaay!

 Final set with backdrop lit.

 What a ride..........................................................Goodnight.


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