WHITE RHINO 2 - Mechanical Puppet.
One- 30" long mechanical running puppet.
Silicone rubber, power net, fibreglass, plastic eyes, & mechanisms.
Run, head moves, & chest breathes.
Available with Adavance Notice.
Creating puppets within the intensely short schedules of some commercials is a whole discipline unto itself. This original Toyota 'rhino tipping' job provided us with substantial challenges. We had three weeks in which to complete a full-sized, 12 foot long White Rhinocerous animatronic walkaround suit, as well as a matching roughly one-fifth scale 30" long, mechanical White Rhinocerous that could run in full gallop, with all of its body mass, hip and shoulders, the knees and ankles of all four legs, running fully synchronized and totally convincingly. Within these tight deadlines every moment and every decision has to count. Success in this business requires thoroughly well thought out planning and utilizing every time saving technique, device and scheduling strategy that can help.
Originally, to save time, we had purchased a very accurate small rhinocerous model that we could refine and retexture. A few days into the schedule, it became important that we make this rhino larger. This left us with a much greater challenge- our worktime had been reduced to two and a half weeks, and we now had to sculpt the whole scale model rhino from scratch.
Mechanical Rhinoceros In Action-
The process that the mechanical movement of our scale model rhino was worked out is pretty amazing, if we do say so ourselves. Footage of a good side view of a white rhinocerous in full gallop was looped so it would repeat the movement over and over. This was imported into a computer in 'Lightwave'- a three-dimensional, computer animation program. Analyzing rhinocerous skeleton references gave us exact placement of pivot points, and an animated overlay of an entire computer-simulated galloping rhino mechanism -chaindrive and gears included- was rendered in Lightwave, overlaying this looped real footage cliip. This computer animated mechanism was printed out at the scale of our new, enlarged scale-model rhinocerous; the parts were machined to match the blueprints, and the real running mechanism was assembled.
For the outer skin of our mechanical rhino- the model was sculpted in oil clay, molded, and a core was created inside the mold to carefully control the thicknesses of the skin so it would mate up to our mechanism. A very pliant, softened silicone rubber skin -to give the rhino a very organic sense of weight and movement- was cast. Intermediary vacum-formed core pieces were mounted onto the mechanism to lightly support the rubber skin and to keep it from being chewed up in the mechanism's many moving gears and parts. The skin was then velcro-mounted over the mechanism and these springy,vacum-formed core pieces; and our scale model rhino was off and running at full gallop. The head was mounted on a control rod and left loose of the body, so it can be puppeteered independantly while the rhino is running. Colored powders are applied over the painted rubber skin, to reduce the natural oiliness of the rubber skin on shoot days.
WHITE RHINO 2 - Credits
TOYOTA TACOMA 'Rhino' commercial. Dave Merhar, director.
BEAT SODA 'Rhino' commercial. Tito Lara, director.