Tell us about the film. Last summer, more than 30 people lost their lives to drowning in just seven weeks. Many of them were young men and boys. We developed a hard-hitting film targeting 11- to 15-year-olds as well as primary-school-aged children to help prevent people from drowning. It focuses on a boy who meets his friends near a river and takes part in a dare that has tragic consequences. One of our regular clients, Chrome Productions, working for the agency HROC, approached us directly.
What were the challenges? We needed to find innovative ways to produce a safe and effective method of submerging an actor and the camera into a tank of water. Since all the action takes place in the tank, it was practical to build the set on Artem’s spacious back-lot in Perivale. Drawing on resources from our extensive stores department, we were able to make a strong 1.5 metre-deep water tank filled with warm water. A hydraulic platform was modified with a comfortable seat and quick-release harness and adapted to carry a waterproof camera. The Artem technician Matt Loader, working with the director Stephen Parker, carefully co-ordinated the camera and the actor Jack Kane as they were lowered into the water timed with delivery of the emotive script.
We wanted to make everything comfortable for Kane, as we couldn’t expect him to deliver his lines every time and so reset needed to be simple. There were almost four tonnes of water in the tank and it wasn’t the warmest day of the year. Our pool heater sorted that easily.
What other ads have you worked on recently? The Asda gnomes have kept us busy along with regular updates to the Confused.com and Brian the Robot campaigns. In the past, we have worked on the Churchill the dog ads as well as the Carling trick-shot campaign. We also brought to life pilot characters from Titanfall for its highly anticipated Xbox launch earlier this year.
What are you working on next? As always, we are working on several very diverse projects. The workshop has just built large foam rubber props for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. We are also creating a small handful of replica chocolates that do not melt under studio lights.