Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rockwiz Xmas special at the Palais

Rockwiz did one Xmas special 2 years ago at the Palais and it was a huge hit. So much so that the repeat performance this year was sold out for 3 nights. So we all had to raise the bar and a much bigger show with improved staging , larger screen and extra lighting was fashioned.
We layered red drapes from front to back and top to bottom  so the whole viewing stage was covered in drapes. It was then enhanced with a huge array of lighting. It all still had the "rockwiz" vibe even though it didn't have some key prop elements and wasn't at the "Gershwin" room.
Also had the thrill of navigating the very narrow stairs and catwalks that take you up and around the outside of the interior dome. One of the pics shows the view from the projector room which is up in the dome and accessed by this catwalk. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Helicopter simulator

I was asked by a mate of mine who works for "Heliexperiences" to help build a helicopter simulator. They had all the basic software and flying hardware but wanted to put it all together into a permanent enclosed faux helicopter. It had to be done in a couple of days and the budget was very tight. We made a couple of timber patterns and with a router duplicated the profile on to some thicker board. We fabricated a steel frame to hold it all together  (it also had to hold the weight of a large plasma screen ) . Its debut was at the Melbourne show and apparently it was a big hit. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Japanese Tv commercial shot in Melbourne

 Japanese TVC
The shooting and pre production for this particular Tvc was most interesting .....
The director and most of the Japanese contingent arrived in Australia the day before we started shooting. Not the ideal way to go about it given some of the locations were still undecided by the director. We of the art department had to work nearly all night in order to prepare for the first days filming. (it is fairly depressing when you get home and set your alarm and you have to get up in one and a half hours)
We were basically shooting background plates for a whole lot of CGI action that was going to be composited back in Japan. This meant doing weird things like building a mock cafe with a breakaway awning that collapsed on cue. (Damian seems to have found a nice spot to hide.) We also had to carry around a grey mannequin that was shot in various positions to replicate the hero in all this action.
Another set up was in Carlton outside a barbers shop. We had to add some signs and barbers poles to make it really obvious it was a barbers shop. The shot is basically stop animation. We had a whole lot of extras and furniture out side the barbers shop. Frame by frame we had to move the furniture along the street half a metre a time. (very Benny Hill)  There were about 80 frames so it took awhile. Before we did this shot we had to set up the furniture along the median strip so the director could work out the sequence and order of things. (Leon is bemused by the whole event.)
We are looking forward to seeing the finished product, it will be pretty wacky. I also hope it clarifies what is meant to be going on in the commercials cos we have no idea.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


A couple of weeks ago we shot part of a tvc in a foundry. It was a great location and all very Dickensian. Most of the work they do is sand casting with iron so it is dirty , heavy work. These guys are packing the sand around the patterns , then removing the pattern without breaking the sand away.
All the patterns are put on a conveyor waiting to be filled with the molten iron. It reminded me of some of the locations that were used in the terminator films.
Everything gets covered in the blue powder that gets painted over the moulds. I can only guess that it is a mould release agent of some sort. We had to get some replicas made of some of their castings so that they could be man handled without injuring anyone. The ones hanging off the gantry are the replicas. (with a bit of license) These were cast from a lightweight foam by the people at "Maker + Doer" . 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just Desserts

Over the last few weeks i have been working on a short film"Just Desserts". Produced by Donna Lyon and directed by Nigel Karikari. It was shot by Katie Millright. The film is set in a stylized road side cake shop. The art departments job was to convert a  bowling club into this cakRemove Formatting from selectione shop. 
We introduced some fake brick walls to help match the exterior that was shot at another location. 
The main room was partitioned to make a smaller space and a new front door was added to also match the exterior. It was all done on a very tight budget and so all of the construction was done by us at my workshop using mostly recycled set pieces. Faux brickwork can sometimes look a bit disappointing but we experimented until we were happy and in the end were very satisfied with the result.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Toast To Love" a Japanese musical/road movie....
I havent had much time to blog anything in the last three months as i have been working on the feature film "Kin". But we cant really talk about or show any pics relating to this film until it gets released mid 2010. It was directed by Amanda Jane ,Produced by Nicole Minchin and shot by Katie Millwright. It was shot on the "red" camera and from all reports it is going to look great.
But i have been trawling through some old pics and i found a couple from a Japanese film i designed about 6 years ago. It was shot in Japan and Australia and i did the Australian Leg. This particular set was built in at Jeffs shed due to its large size. Its a weird scene where the hero's car is driving at night through the desert and it comes upon some large Vegas style steps with dancing girls. Everyone starts singing and dancing and it gets all very Japanese. Didnt quiet understand why all this happened at this point in the story except for the fact that a musical interlude is required every 7 minutes in one of these films.
"Kin" on the other hand is not a musical , it is more a comedy/drama. It also has a story line that makes a lot of sense. I look forward to seeing the finished product...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

50th anniversary of the Bowl "Rockwiz" spectacular
"Renegade" films upped the anti once again. The first Rockwiz gig outside of the "Gershwin" room was at the "forum" theatre, then they filled the "palais" with a Christmas special.
This time they took it to the "Sidney Myer musc bowl" as part of the 50th year celebration. Talk about ambitious; lighting, sound and Art dept. crews bumping in after the M.S.O. finished at 11pm.
The next day we flew through the rehearsals and went straight into the show. It is all a bit different for most crews as it is a mix of live show and tv. The set pieces and contestants have to be positioned relative to various camera's , some of which have a set focus. Apparently it all went very well and even to schedule. (we were back stage moving set pieces between acts so i didnt catch much of the show) In one of the pics we can see Leon relishing the role of staging co-ordinator. You will also notice that the "rockwiz" contestant desks and signs are dwarfed in the huge bowl stage.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Late 08 we did a "M & M's commercial for "Fiction films".
Red had left his outer shell in the washing , ruining the other garments.
We contracted a latex specialist " Electra" to build us the suits. It was all shot in a dressed location and the characters were added in later by computer.

Trevor the "gaffa" can be seen in the B/G doing his normal lighting tweaking.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Medibank" private commercial
We were asked to build the "Medibank" logo in large 3-d pieces. We had a very short turn around time so we couldn't get foam cut, tough coated , filled and painted in time. So we projected the profiles onto timber sheet and hand cut each letter. We then wrapped the profiles in bending ply, then filled and painted. The meat was cut out of the central "i" before it was clad in thin sheet so that it would be light enough for the actors to carry.

The letters were set up at the botanical gardens where we shot the TVC (once again Leon is hiding)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For a fruit juice commercial we had to create a small garden of eden.
To an existing garden at Olinda we added 6 mature trees and masses of ground cover. The four fruits we had to display were mango,peach,orange and apple. The garden had to survive for a few days so we used artificial fruit. (also the garden had a large possum population)
We also had a butterfly expert who released native butterflies on cue.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For this APIA commercial we had to mock up a market scene in south africa (late 70's) We did this down at Avalon beach on the wettest day that year. We made a corn stall with half a 44 gallon drum as the fire pit. By the start of filming the extras had eaten nearly all of the 200 corn cobs.
Vic roads tvc
This set was huge. It filled the melbourne film studios. This set was filmed with the actor reacting to various green screen elements. A cgi achitectural model of melbourne and the citilink tunnel was then built to fit in this environment. Actors stood on platforms at the back of the set to look like they were on different levels.

This is a padded cell that was built by "Lance Davis design" for a "metallica" concert. The filmed footage shown on a huge lcd curtain during the concert. Bundit the scenic painter is in the corner.