Animatronic Gnomeo Prank!

TCS creates an Animatronic Gnomeo to help Paramount  promote "Sherlock Gnomes"

He's just a little fella. And he's made out of painted plaster. But you're in for a surprise when he comes to life!

When Paramount Pictures needed a live promotional campaign for their upcoming release, "Sherlock Gnomes",
they turned to Jasen Smith of Experiential Supply, the company known for their blockbuster  "IT" and "Ready
Player One"
Live Activations. The "Gnomes" promotion called for a prank-style reveal of the "Gnomeo" character.
Unsuspecting passers-by would come into contact with what they thought was just a static plaster figure...and they would then be recorded as they reacted!

But this Gnomeo had to be more than just a static figure. He needed multi-axis movements of his head, neck, mouth, eyes, blinks, and when he comes to life, he does so in an incredibly expressive way! To handle this incredible task, Experiental in turn sought out one of the most trusted, capable, innovative, and clever Makers and facilities in the Animatronics business: FX legend Rick Lazzarini & his award-winning company:
The Character Shop.

Lazzarini and his TCS crew went to work, creating digital 3D CAD files of the inner workings, while the artists here began making a life-sized sculpture of the head and body based on digital assets and rendered turnarounds provided by Paramount. After a few pose and expression changes, the final sculptures were approved. SIlicone molds were made, from which epoxiglass parts and flexible silicone skins were made, as well as an epoxiglass "underskull" to house the expressive animatronic mechanisms. The painted facial silicone skin was finished with a gloss that looked like a ceramic glaze...and all the more astonishing when it flexed and came to life!

But there was more to the project as well. Secret cameras and microphones and speakers had to be hidden in the tableau, so that the voice of Gnomeo could be heard "coming from the source", and voices and reactions of
those pranked recorded. This meant a different kind of challenge for TCS, which was handled with typical innovation and technological know-how. The mics and speakers were hidden in realistic replicas of rocks, flowers. Since this prank would be held in different cities: New York, Mexico City, etc.
, wireless transmission was ruled out. This resulted in a hard-wired control system allowing monitoring of audio and video
of the target, as well as a mic'ed Voice artist to supply the words Gnomeo was to say, with his movements then
provided by two TCS puppeteers.

A live prank session in New York was made into a Cartoon Network promotion, and a similar prank setup in Mexico City provided Spanish language promotion for the Hispanic market.

All told, our Animatronic Gnomeo was a success! Check out some of the video and behind the scenes photos that shows the  incredible talent and work that goes into making a project like this from scratch!