Delivering technically challenging TV props
It might be a surprise that not all of our projects are related to jewellery or silversmithing. Our expertise and experience are applicable to a variety of industries and solutions, including film and TV, precision medical parts and wearable tech amongst others. All of these bring their own challenges, and our work for independent production company Bad Wolf was no exception.
Bad Wolf creates ambitious, imaginative drama for the UK, US and global TV markets. Based in South Wales, London and Los Angeles, Bad Wolf is the result of over 15 years of creative collaboration between founders Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and the production and creative community of Wales.
Bad Wolf called us in to help design and manufacture props for one of their TV projects. The art director needed three keys of antique appearance that were brought together by different characters to form one master key. We were also briefed with creating a bronze figure of the goddess Diana.
As usual with TV and film work, the emphasis was on technical excellence, attention to detail and short timescales. This was a project that meant we had to pull out all the stops to achieve the deliverables to a tight deadline.
The props featured heavily in the episode and were to be filmed in very tight close-ups, so getting the visual element right and ensuring they looked completely authentic at the outset was crucial.
The items had to herald from the distant past and have a strong antique look and feel, so we worked closely with the art director to create a strong visual storyboard and concept drawings. We then used our specialist industry software to quickly take the keys into 3D form.
We overcame the technical challenge involved in bringing the three keys together using a combination of silversmithing bench skills and modern rapid prototyping. We used heavy bronze casting to bring the items to life, using hidden guiders and magnets to allow the camera to get very close to the physical action.
For the statue of the goddess Diana, the art department provided us with a large hollow cast bronze figure that we needed to resize and reproduce as accurately as possible. Our large object high-resolution scanning was ideal for this purpose, and once we had a 3D file we rescaled the model and manufactured a prop version in SLA plastic which was finished using model-making techniques to look like solid metal. The final master was created in bronze with not a detail missed from the original model – the perfect miniature.
All of this was achieved in very tight timescales that even surprised the art department. Our capability to deliver technically and visually challenging props quickly and to such a high specification has led to many other TV and film commissions, including the new series of Doctor Who.