tpr blog – here's a glimpse of what we've been up to

"Ars est celare artem" the art is to conceal the art

Artem – one of our most unique clients – have been working on a range of hugely exciting projects this past year, it would be unfair not to share. Artem took no time off following the Olympics, (where they helped bring Danny Boyle’s vision come to life) or for their 25th Anniversary this year. They have been beavering away backstage at Warner Brother's West End hit – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as creating numerous adverts for Carling, Baileys and Snickers. Not only this but they have been working on feature films such as Humming Bird and TV series MI High –only to name but a few.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a childhood favourite of so many, including us here at tpr, so it’s hard to imagine it coming to life – thankfully Artem were at hand to help Sam Mendes to create some of the more extreme moments of Roald Dahl’s imagine. Working with Marcus Hall Props, they were briefed to devising a series of experiments for the Oompa Loompas to carry out in their laboratory, and to design and build an inflatable suit that would transform Violet Beauregarde, the gum-chewing winner of one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, into a giant blueberry.

First they set to work helping the Oompa Loompas to make mischief – the experiments needed to be visually engaging with bright colours, bubbles, and smoke, but they also had to be contained in a very small area on stage with dancing action around them. The created a total of six different 'laboratory' units incorporating air and fluid pumps, with lots of tubing and crazily-shaped containers with bubbles floating from one and smoke rising gently from others to replicate the effects of the Oompa Loompas' wacky sweet manufacturing experiments.

The inflatable suit was more complicated to create (although no problem for Artem), as it had to fit each of the child actors playing the part of Violet Beauregarde and be self-contained under their outer costumes. It also had to be simple enough for the child actor to operate as well as being safe.

Laura Sindall, an Artem technician, created a couple of alternative designs that were trialled to get the best look. The air supply had to be tiny in order to be hidden, but at the same time had to be capable of ensuring full inflation of the suit. It was decided that diving components with their safety margins and long reliability record provided the ideal solution. Additional safety controls and the use of switches meant the pneumatics can be contained in a small backpack the actor is wearing. Other safety valves ensured the suit could not over inflate and squash the child!

Artem are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2013, they combine the best of engineering expertise with creative flair to provide everything from puppetry to props and pyrotechnics to animatronics. In 2012 Artem also helped to bring to life the enormous creative and logistical vision of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics. Landmark film projects completed in 2012 include British thriller Welcome to the Punch, Hummingbird starring Jason Statham and some work on the opening of Les Misérables.

Artem are such a fun client to have, their projects never cease to amaze us – with such range and creativity, they truly as the masters of physical special effects!!