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.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Batman!

The in studio days have been quite long. I'm glad that there is 4 of us getting things done! But up at 4 and in bed at midnight is dragging me down. But I can sleep when this is wrapped!

We loaded in on Monday, and got the styrofoam bases glued up on the floor, with ratchet straps wrapped around the bases to squeeze them tight while the spray foam hardened. The risers weren't ready when we got there, but with the studio being 11000 square feet, with no columns anywhere, there was plenty of floor space to spread it out in! Monday was an in-studio build day, so there wasn't a lot of pressure. Tuesday was a pre-light day, so all the grips and electrics were in studio, this made things a little more crowded for sure, but lots of room to work still. We tried to get any of the messy work, like sanding the base seems, done on Monday, so we wouldn't get everyone's stuff covered in dust.
Clearly Jody feels quite gigantic on the dinosaur set, as she threatens the dinosaur toy with a good squashing. Maybe we need to re-think the current "Extinction" theory. Hmmmm.......

John and I worked on getting the road areas painted on the Imaginext Rescue Heroes set. This was just 2.5 sheets of 3/4" plywood, seemed, sealed, painted and textured. The sidewalk pads will remain "wild" on this set, so that when they do the close up play with the toys, they can move to a smaller base, and set the pads where they want them.
In the end, they decided not to use our awesome 3d moon :( It was so much easier for them to light a flat one, so Jody and Anna whipped up 2 different sized ones for the art director Alan to choose from. They ended up going with the smaller 18" flat one instead. All I can say is that there will always be a full moon at the shop when this job ends!
 Jody and Anna worked on getting the Batman set dressed and ready for camera. Alan gave them a hand when he wasn't busy running around putting out little fires everywhere! The art dept. was amazing in getting all the jack stands attached to the flat mdf Gotham City backdrop, and the trace paper over the window cutouts.

The backdrop did go through several revisions in it's panel order, based on what the camera angle was. So there were a few minutes here and there where all you could see were buildings moving back and forth. It was like an architectural mambo.

Once the set was dressed and lit, it looked great. I was able to grab a shot of the monitor with the approximate camera angle, to get a feel for the whole thing in frame.

After the opening shots, we removed the mountain from it's base pad, and had it on a riser so they could get the camera in as close as possible to the toys. This also meant we had to sawsall the front of the mountain right clean off. It took longer to get the styrofoam bits of the set than actually cut it. The running joke was everyone asking if we called the gas company before we started digging!
We also got a good start on the Monsters University base as well. This will be kind of a rural industrial park area. The mdf in the picture is going to get covered in artificial miniature grass, with a small curb separating the asphalt from the grass. We'll also plant taller grass along the curb, and some saplings in small round garden beds.

It was a great day today, even though we could only really work when they weren't rolling. Lots did get finished anyways though.
Tomorrow, Jody and Anna will be manning the sets, while John and I do the last of the building for the Rescue Hero's set at the shop.


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