Hamley's Set up
Bear taped to the tripod
Stormtrooper keeping control
Rob Valenta congratulating the kid's effort
Tobias talking things through with the Hamley's Representative
Hamleys Summer 2013

We were approached by Director Rob Valenta to help make a film installation for the shop front of Hamley’s new Terminal 5 store at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The design is a big red London Bus with six TV screens for windows on the top deck, with children and characters waving out at the passing foot traffic of T5.

Sounds simple enough, but we had to go back to school, dust off the textbooks and revise Pythagoras’ Theory so that we could make it appear as if the characters were looking down from the top deck. Maths GCSE does have it’s uses.

We shot tests with Rob to figure out which degree would give us the impression of looking down on the customers. We decided that 15 degrees down at a distance of 10 ft would save us from having to build an immense 15 ft tall rig. All this factoring green screen too! Finally we had the figures we needed and we moved on towards the shoot.

Rob wanted to film three children / characters simultaneously so that they could interact with each other, but also be used in any of the six windows at any time. Everything had to match.

We decided to create three individual set ups with exactly the same lighting rather than try to use larger sources. That way we had greater control therefore duplicating the lighting was simpler.

We used 3 of the Canon L-series 50mm lens with Canon 5D’s so all we had to do was measure to align each camera exactly dead-on to the subject. Simple.

The really tricky part was keeping 30 children entertained, but with a little help from small toys and electrical tape, we strapped bears and creatures to the tripod to keep the children focused on looking down the lens! Failing that the Hamley’s bear and a Star Wars Stormtrooper helped keep them under control. Just.


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