How We Created a Giant Interactive Tree Prop Out of Foam – We Are Creative Works [Episode 15]
We Are Creative Works Episode 15
This is the fifteenth episode in a series called We Are Creative Works. In these videos, we show off different projects that our talented team is working on. Below is a transcript of the video.
Hi, my name is Martin Kuntz. I’m head of the Foam Department.
Recently, we got a project for a client called Oak Mountain Lanes in Alabama. They came to us with the idea of wanting sort of an enchanted forest themed laser tag so we had the challenge of coming up with a lot of custom props for that project.
This project was really unique in the sense that everything was entirely custom. It’s a one-of-a-kind theme.
They came to us wanting a really impactful center prop. Their idea was something along lines of like an Ent from Lord of the Rings or a giant enchanted tree.
I ended up doing just some quick hand sketches. Based on their approval I ended up making some 3d models in a program called Mudbox.
The face was done the CNC. The main basic shape was cut on the hot wire but then the majority of the work as far as the final result was almost entirely hand carved.
So that took a lot of time. We implement a lot of tools that we use. We use a rasp, we use a wire brush to create kind of the texture a lot of times we’ll end up using a torch and that will help give an added kind of rough texture that recreates something similar to like tree bark.
The prop itself is probably one of the biggest props we’ve made to date as far as I can think of that’s gone in a laser tag but I think in the end the tree we created was probably about 23 feet.
So, logistically with props that are that large it’s not only figuring out how you’re going to ship them and how you’re going to cut them into pieces but how you’re going to be able to get them through a door especially a single door so we had to engineer the props so that it could come apart, be easily assembled, and fit through a door easily.
The main base of the tree itself actually is kind of shaped like a “U” and I want to say if the average door height is 7 foot 4 or something like that it’s 2 inches short of that so it just barely can kind of squeeze through and then the other part fits on top and then all the limbs get then applied to that.
Once it was finished it was then placed on top of a platform. The platform is really important not only because it raises the foam so that kids aren’t going to damage it. Not only that, the platform houses the fogger which has a tube running from that so that it’s able to be hidden.
There are going to be targets placed on the tree itself and then when those targets are shot there are lights in the eyes and there’s a fogger that can be triggered in the mouth so it creates a lot more interactivity especially when you have fewer players.
This project was very exciting and challenging and a lot of fun. I always enjoy a challenge and I think what we ended up providing was something that was really exciting for the client.
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