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.

Monday, 9 May 2016

2nd of Three!

I have been spending most of my free time gearing up for filming this summer. This means that the blog is kind of a close second at the moment. We're spreading filming out across most of the summer, with the first scenes already shot last fall. This means shotlisting and blocking the remaining 30 scenes! Lots of work and thought goes into it all, and adding locations and schedules from everyone involved, also adds its set of lengthy problem solving skills. I may regret this at some point........but probably no way!!

But back to the miniature sets:
The second of three sets we built for this commercial was a tropical islandy set. This got the least documentation, because the deadline was creeping up fast, and we were soon to be without the Jody, due to her Boston Marathon race!
The main piece, where all the miniature action was going to take place, was a small island. This needed a smooth skin "beach", and rocky pieces. This was all made from hand carved styrofoam. We went with 2" foam, with the rock chunks added on top. Once carved, we coated it with a Durobond mixture, and added texture with crumpled tin foil. This resembled a kind of lava rock look.

With me working the island portion, Jody, and our student helper Polina, worked on cutting all the palm leaves, and painting them up. After they were base coated, Jody airbrushed some more coloring onto them. We had to go quite a bit darker than real palm trees, as these are all being shot against green screen. And we don't want the leaves to get keyed out by mistake, making a monstrous amount of work at the post production end! The final step was to slice them up with scissors, to get the individual fronds.

The trees came out great! Running down the center of the leaves was a piece of wire. This allowed us to be able to 'pose' the leaves as we needed, and give us something to attach to the trunk!
This was the only image I was able to grab of the set :( Just too many people and gear in the way!
I wish I had a picture of the 8'X8' water portion. It was really cool! We used a textured acrylic, similar to a ripply patio table glass. This was suspended above a really weird looking metallic blue sheeting. It looked like something Elton John would wear. But under the acrylic, it gave the water tremendous depth. When we shot it, we drifted dry ice over the surface, and the whole thing became VERY pirate-y!

AAAAAAAAND, once again, if you haven't cast a vote for my 3 minute short, Endlewood,
The link is here:

Just click "VOTE", log in fast, and your done! I would be so stoked to win this, so thanks again!!!!


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