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My Risky Rig Experience‹ Back to News

04/02/15

A few weeks ago, I offered to risk my life in the name of Art. (Or should I say, Artem.)

Some people might think I risked my dignity too, sporting this slightly too small and slightly too see-through boiler suit for the occasion:

sofa rig post office 

Following the success of the Post Office Christmas ads - for which we produced plenty of props and effects, ranging from a model of Robert Webb's head to confetti canons - Alex Phillips, one of our SFX Supervisors, was approached by production company Hotspur and Argyle to produce a variety of effects for the next series of Post Office commercials. You can now watch the latest commerical by clicking here, and behind the scenes here.

Along with the brilliant dog parachute and a specially prepared table (which involved rigs to balance props on top of Robert Webb's head and his dog's), one of the effects involved Webb shooting head first through a sofa. To achieve this, we began by reconfiguring the sofa and fitting a hidden smooth ramp, suitable floor fixings and modifications to the upholstery, which would enable Webb to be easily propelled forward and upward.

At Artem, we always carry out tests in our workshop to ensure that all runs smoothly on the day of the shoot, and I volunteered to test the working of the sofa rig.

post office sofa rig

Removing most of the stuffing inside the cushions and creating a secret opening allowed me to move through the sofa without getting stuck or bashing my head. Having said that, I didn't always move through the sofa with the most elegance when we did the tests, and sometimes had to scrabble my way forward a bit to get fully through - so the technicians made various adjustments to the system in order to make it work most effectively. On set, the stunt coordinator arranged a flying rig and Webb was able to easily transition into triumphant position on the floor in front of the bemused family.

I feel my life is complete now that I've flown through the same magic sofa as Robert Webb. I wonder if I have anything left to live for? Maybe not, in which case I don't see why I shouldn't put myself through any life-threatening tests again...

Robert Webb post office sofa rigdog parachute post officecake stand rig post office

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