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 May 2016

The third one is always the biggest!!

The last and final set for the Fisher Price commercial was to be a snowy, arctic type environment. Kind of like April was in Canada this year! Pfff... There was no CNC work on this set, it was all hot-wire bow cut styrofoam. This set was also fairly big for a toy commercial. 24 feet at the back end, 16 feet deep, and 16 feet wide at the front end.

Most of it was straight forward, rocky out-croppings, sitting on 2" slabs of white styrofoam. All supported by some basic plywood whalers.

 I hot wire cut most of the rock features, but Jody did the hard coating on the far back mountain range,
 and all the painting! I find if I work slow, Jody gets all the painting done by herself.....Does that make me a...? Maybe. Probably......... But she's awesome at it, and likes it too, and I like to make her happy :) Cause that's how I roll.

We didn't do a full final paint on the mountains, as experience tells me, it'll change on set.
She got it as far along as it needed to be, and with us having one studio build day, and one prelight day before shooting, there will be plenty of time to change anything. Idle art directors make for more work :) That's right Mr. Art Director, I know you read this blog! ;)

EVERYTHING was wild on this set, so setting it up, and adjusting stuff went really quickly. Notice any mountain range paint changes? Oh ya you do! The fore ground rocks didn't actually get any hard coat. 2 coats of latex, and 3 multi colored coats of a fine speckle, made these jump to life as granite boulders.
We used 2 kinds of snow for the scenic of the base. The very fore  ground, in your face snow, was 150 lbs of baking soda. This sculpts just like real snow, and gently blowing compressed air on it, gives it an un-matched, windswept look. The other snow we used is a fine ground styrofoam snow. It looks pretty real in your hands, as full size snow, but in the background, it gives a nice texture to things. If we used backing soda in the back, we might as well of used a white bedsheet. NO life to it at all. So the texture is what sells it!
The trees are something we have, and rent out. They take a long time to make, and are kind of expensive, so we just rent them out most of the time. :) The smaller pines are trees the we have, but bought and modified slightly a while ago.
The last step was to clamp on a miniature, remote smoker for the volcano type mountain. I don't think they actually even fired it up in the end But at least it was on standby!

And here's our student helper, Polina, Godzilla-ing her way through the set. Good times that Polina, good times!


Oh, and as usual, 13 days left in the My Rode Reel contest, so PUH-LEASE throw a vote to Endlewood, our short, 3-minute film we entered!!

It would be AWESOME to win!


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