Artem Case Studies
Ramez in the waterfall Masscom 98
Artem were asked to provide realistic male Gorilla suits for Ramez Galal’s latest celebrity prank show which is to be broadcast on MPC Egypt and streamed on his YouTube channel during Ramadan (6 May – 4 June 2019).
This is the third series of Ramez’s prank show for that Artem have been involved with for Egyptian production company Masscom98 and Eproducers and filming took place over thirty days in the Indonesian jungle on Bali.
Due to the nature of the prank Ramez had to be dressed in under 3 minutes. Usually on films or TV technicians are given time to ensure the actor is properly dressed and that everything is seated correctly. However for this prank, Ramez would be rafting down the river in disguise each day with the celebrity. He would run up to the jungle location to be dressed and ready to perform the prank, all before the celebrity made it up the steps to us which meant that the Artem technicians had to be able to get Ramez into the suit in 3 minutes, and Ramez had to be able to remove the complex mechanical head himself, in costume.
This meant Artem had to design the suit in a way that would allow on-set technicians to dress him as quickly as possible, was durable and was easy to maintain. Two suits were produced that could be rotated for cleaning and hygiene.
Ramez’s schedule meant that he couldn’t come to Artem for a life cast which usually the first step taken when creating a custom built suit. Artem Technician Richard North travelled to Egypt to meet Ramez, take vital measurements, and carry out a 3D head scan. They could then craft the suits to fit him as closely as possible without the need for Ramez to be London.
A life cast was taken from an Artem technician who was the same size as Ramez and Artem’s head Sculptor Stan Mitchell sculpted the form of the male Gorilla body in clay over the cast. Costume fabricators headed up by Emily Pooley used the full size clay figure to produce patterns that could be used to create the powerful muscle shapes that give Gorilla’s their unique appearance in flexible foam. Digital files were produced from the 3D head scan taken in Egypt and a Gorilla’s head was drawn in our Freeform plus CAD package. Ramez’s and the Gorilla’s heads were then machined on Artem’s Multiaxis Robotic Arm.
The gorilla’s head was moulded and a flexible skin was made in foam latex. A core was created in fibreglass and then handed over to the Artem’s animatronic team, and cut into sections. Using a combination of springs, hinges, and cables the team produced a lightweight head that Ramez could operate with his own jaw. He was able to open the Gorilla’s mouth, snarl the lips and lower the brow to create a menacing look without the need for a complex electronic head and control system.
The chest and hand were also sculpted and moulded and cast in a similar way to the head and two sets of hands were produced to cater for different requirements. A set of gloves mean that Ramez had enough dexterity to grab and pick things up and extension arms were produced for the correct proportions and to allow him to walk on all fours.
An under suit was tailored to the life cast and the flexible foam muscles adhered in the correct anatomical position. This was then covered in a four-way-stretch synthetic fur fabric. The chest and face were detailed with airbrushed skin tones and individual hairs were added to create a realistic fur transition.
Ramez attended a fitting at Artem’s West London workshop with the technicians who would be travelling to the Indonesian location and the team had an opportunity to have a “dry” run with the costume. This ensured that any last minute adjustments could be identified and carried out before relocating to the Indonesian jungle for the demanding thirty day shoot.
The filming location was on the Telaga Waja River and the journey each day from Gianyar involved a 1 hour drive to Sobek and a 45 min raft journey down the river. The prank was split into two parts, with the celebrities receiving a drenching from an elephant before being dropped into the river by a collapsing platform and once they were safely back on dry land were scared by a menacing Gorilla. Over forty camera operators and technical staff were involved in the filming.
Artem technicians Emily Pooley and Adam Sawatzki were based in the “Gorilla House” provided by the production. This was where Ramez was to be dressed and the technical nerve centre was established. Once unpacked form their large waterproof travelling bags the suits were prepared and everyone waited for the terrified celebrity to arrive.
Ramez would be soaking wet when he arrived in the Gorilla House to be dressed in the suit and only had minutes before appearing in costume in front of the celebrity. A routine was quickly established and Adam and Emily worked closely with Ramez to refine the dressing procedure.
Ramez’s appearance in front of the celebrity as a fully grown Gorilla emerged, charging form the jungle put large demands on the suit and quite often the celebrity reacted angrily once Ramez revealed the prank, by pushing, punching or wrestling Ramez to the ground.
After interviewing the celebrity Ramez needed to remove the costume as quickly as he was dressed to accompany the now relieved celebrity out of the jungle.
With two pranks a day planned the suit needed to be carefully cleaned and prepped, a task that took on average two hours. Once the days filming was complete the suits were bagged up and after another raft ride, and long drive the suits were unpacked again cleaned, dried and any repairs carried out to be ready for the next day’s filming.
Clips of the show can be seen here and check out the other two projects we've done with Ramez and Masscom98
If you are planning some thing silmilar or would like to discuss high quality super realistic full or part animatronic costumes please call our London office on +44(0) 208 997 7771 or email us.
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