Friday Links

Friday Links

Stage Directions has a round-up of some of the top theatrical special effects companies out there. They talk about the most challenging effects they have pulled off in a live performance, and how they work with a theater to plan it out and make it happen.

The Wire has a short history of ventriloquism which is quite fascinating, if a little bit creepy. I especially enjoyed the video of Ray Alan performing with his “Lord Charles” dummy, who was performing a ventriloquist act with his own, even smaller, dummy.

Pop Chart Lab has a great poster giving a stylistic survey of graphic design. It looks like a handy reference for when you want to check if your period piece has correct-looking paper props and ephemera.

Marvel Entertainment has started their own web video series on cosplay, and the first installment shows them planning and designing the costume they will build. And hey, looks like they are borrowing a costumer from the world of theatre to help them out. Go, theatre!

How to Copy Carve a Rotary Phone with a Router

How to Copy Carve a Rotary Phone with a Router

Here is a great video showing how to copy carve a rotary phone out of a chunk of wood using a router. The video comes from Matthias Wandel, who runs the amazing Woodgears.ca. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s on my list of the 100 best sites for the prop maker. He is an engineer by trade, and approaches woodworking from a unique angle.

I just (re)discovered his YouTube channel, where he has videos for many of the projects he posts on his site. The aforementioned video for copy carving a phone is there, as is a video showing how to build your own copy carver.

Video: One-piece silicone block mold

Video: One-piece silicone block mold

You may have noticed I did not post much last week, and that this blog has become a little more sporadic over the past few months. Well, there is good reason for that. Last Thursday, my wife gave birth to our first son. It’s the best prop we’ve ever made.

Speaking of props, I shot a quick video on making a one-piece block mold from Alumilite QuickSet silicone rubber (the kind you can pick up at many hobby chain stores) that I’ve been meaning to put up. It’s not pretty, but it shows off the basics and gets the job done.

Links for the End of June

Gothamist has behind-the-scenes photos from Shakespeare in the Park, as well as how they make blood for Shakespeare in the Park. Both links feature the Public Theater’s costume master Luke McDonough, as well as my old boss, props master Jay Duckworth.

Harrison Krix is back with another great project, a life-sized shark gun from League of Legends. I don’t do the video games, so I don’t really know what that is, but it looks cool and lights up and opens its mouth.

Ars Technica has a fascinating article on how Disney built and programmed an animatronic President.  D23 has a similar article; though theirs has far less of the technical information, they have many more pictures of the other animatronics used at Disney parks.

Finally, here is an interesting piece called “Practical Effects Can’t Make a Comeback Because They Never Went Away“. While the article itself raises some good points, it also contains a fair amount of videos giving behind-the-scenes looks at the practical effects in various films from throughout the years.

Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies