Artem Case Studies
Trigger Point - Pyrotechnic FX and Props HTM Television
When a terrorist campaign threatens London, experienced Explosives Officers (Expos) are at the forefront of urgent efforts to find out who is behind the bombings before fatalities escalate. ITV’s explosive six-part drama, Trigger Point, is produced by Jed Mercurio – HTM Television - and stars Vicky McClure. We were very excited to be involved.
Artem provided all the pyrotechnic effects and special pyrotechnic props for the production, including set-piece vehicle and building explosions, aftermath effects, VFX elements and prop explosive devices and disruptors.
Vehicle Explosions – In Episode 1 the script called for a white van to explode in a populated housing estate. It was essential that the explosion and debris distribution patterns were carefully designed and meticulously tested beforehand, which we did using a similar vehicle on site at Artem. Our backlot area is perfect for the prepping, testing and filming of complex effects like this. Artem technicians cut the van in half and inserted an internal steel frame, allowing the two halves to pivot open but remain connected when the pyro mortars fitted within and beneath the van were fired. On the set, adjacent vehicles were rigged with pyro charges to blow out their windows.
As the series progressed there were two car explosion effects – each requiring pyro explosions, fireballs and gas-based fires – another car where the pyrotechnics mimicked the effect of the Expos disrupting an explosive device with a ‘Bootbanger’ and one transit van where the Expo team disrupted an IED with another waterjet disrupter device called a ‘Pigstick’. Each effect was designed and tested to suit the IED or disruptor device used in the plot and to minimise any impacts on the immediate shoot environment. Vehicles were subsequently redressed with distressed furnishing for aftermath scenes.
More Explosions – Artem technicians used huge air mortar rigs externally to simulate an IED exploding within a University building. For a mosque internal explosion effect we rigged a large area of green screen in the Artem backlot area and hosted the production for a day of shooting VFX elements, including several explosions and fireballs and banks of plate glass shattering on cue. We also used the green screen to shoot elements for the car ‘Bootbanger’ effect (see above).
Aftermath Effects – to add authenticity, Artem provided smoke, flame, airborne dust and debris for scenes showing the aftermath of large explosions. We also created silicone glass and gravel to rain down on the surrounding area.
Additional effects included a repeatable tyre burst rig, more on and off-camera Pigstick effects, bullet hit effects to destroy cameras, tyres, windows and panels, a bullet headshot, interior smoke, wet-downs, blood rigs and pools and coloured smoke effects.
As some of the explosive action was created by the bomb disposal team disabling IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) we made some waterjet ‘disrupter’ devices – two working ‘Pigsticks’ with stands and a prop ‘Bootbanger’. We also created a prop EFP (Explosively Formed Penetrator) and ten prop ‘Flashbangs’. Further props included detonators, mercury switches, a dead man’s trigger, gas meter units, robot cameras, working countdown timers and a delightful silicone severed arm with blood and internal tissue detailing.
Trigger Point was broadcast on ITV in January and February 2022. All episodes are available on the ITV Hub. See ITV’s trailer here.
- Pyrotechnics & Fire
- Visual Effects Elements
- Floor Effects