Lobster, Artichokes and the Alamo. How Geomedia brought the coasts to San Antonio.
In a recent gig in advance of the Alamo Bowl, Valero wanted us to help them show how they provide gasoline from coast to coast. In order to do that, we had to bring Maine and California to Texas.
When you think of Maine, you obviously think of salty sea dogs and lobster. The sea dog was easy – add a hat, add gloves and drop some “r”s and you’re set. The lobster, however, was a little trickier.
Our original idea was to work with what nature gave us and just use a real lobster. Unfortunately, in order to do that, we’d need a lobster wrangler on set to make sure we weren’t mistreating or otherwise damaging the crustacean. (No word on if we would be free to eat it after the shoot.) This seemed like more trouble than it was worth, so we decided to have a prop lobster made.
The thing about lobsters is, they’re really big. When you ask for an eight pound lobster, you may be surprised when the prop you get back is the size of a fire extinguisher. It dwarfed our salty sea dog! Strike two.
Finally we decided to ditch the practical effects and let our 3D animation and visual effects team take a crack at generating a lobster for us. We shot our sea dog holding a weighted and painted candle in his hand, so that everything would look right, and sent it to post. What came back was lifelike digital lobster that not only looked real, but moved too! Fisherman and lobster were united at last, as it should be.
Invasion of the Giant Artichoke
The artichoke, on the other hand, that bad boy was all real. It actually started as a joke. During casting, someone said it would be funny if the California representative was dressed as an artichoke. A quick google search turned up a costume designer who had made one, and we were sold.
Shipping it turned out to be pretty tricky. They don’t really make boxes designed for human-scale artichokes. When it arrived in Texas, the suit was a little dinged up. Luckily, director Murray Breit and a few handy assistants were able to repair it.
Of course, the thing was awkward to wear and a pain for our actor, so we had to call in Murray again to rig up a system to suspend the costume. His genius saved the shoot and the actor’s back.
With our actors and props in place, we shot our segments and went to work turning a set in San Antonio into two coastal vistas. Such a stunt required solid planning in the pre-production stage, on-set ingenuity during video production, and some solid time in the visual effects studio. Check out the video above to see the difference once our post production crew got their mitts on it.
P.S. If you’re looking for a 5 1/2 foot artichoke costume, we have one at a very good price.