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, 18 September 2013

Let it snow!

Last weeks shoot went very well!
Part of the job was a miniature snow effects set.
 75 pounds of baking soda was the snow of choice! This got spread around the edges of the model base. It was sculpted into approximate hills. The soda is very fine, and even the finest brush leaves unnatural marks in the snow. To deal with this, the soda gets sieved over the brush marks, then gently tamped with a super soft, oversized cotton ball.

 Jody does a great job on this sort of thing. She seems to have a natural talent for shoveling snow, probably because it's full size snow to her!
 I put the scissors in for a scale reference. After the snow gets gently tamped to remove the brush marks, we spend quite a while with the compressor, gently blowing the baking soda, letting it drift and carve, just like it's full size counterpart. It's not hard to imagine the upper photo as being a real landscape in the arctic.

This was one of the sets that needed to be dressed. We didn't build it, we just had to dress it

The first step was to get the snow berms laid, and the chicken wire stapled down. This will be the structure for the snow blanket.
With the chicken wire all in place, we rolled out the fluffy blankets, and overlap the seams away from camera.

We use 2 different sized snow flakes on set. We use a large polyflake, which is a ground up white plastic, for the background due to it's larger texture. For the close to camera snow, we use a ground up styrofoam flake, which is amazing, and ultra-realistic even up super close.
The other part of the snow was using our small snow foamer over the windows in the set. this machine basically pumps out chunks of soapy foam that falls super realistic. You can set the size and quantity you want at the machine. This foamer was about 18 feet in the air on a Sky High stand. This made it a little difficult to reload, but we survived! Not the most fuel efficient car on the lot, it used over 2 gallons of fluid for the window scenes. Jody was tasked with running the machine. But due to her small stature, she had to stand on the lift to reach the remote. Silly Jody ! In fact, when she was getting off the lift, she banged her eye, which left a slight bruise. So you can imagine the jokes at Jamie's expense on set :)

It was a great shoot, that's for sure!

Back to the Zerby Derby.

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