AZUL - SCI-FI SHORT FILM (2021)
SYNOPSIS: A gig-economy worker in a near-future Mexico is forced to confront a war he's spent his life avoiding. Directed by David Karlak. Production Design by Leri Greer. Prop manufacture by Jonah Pope. Props Design by Benjamin Donnelly. Painting by Luke Shadbolt & weathering of select props by Nic Gribben.
I worked as a Prop Maker for an fantastic Sci Fi short film set in Mexico titled AZUL. I lead the process of props manufacture here in Brisbane. We had a small team, primarily myself as Prop Maker and Ben Donnelly as Props Designer. I worked with Ben to design the props for manufacture.
The builds consisted of two types, custom builds using resin 3D prints of the concepts approved by the director and then scratch building parts/kit bashing to create extra props to flesh out the world. I was in charge of all the physical manufacture so I got to work on and assemble the hero props as well as building my own designs for the kit bashed items.
PHONE (HERO PROP)
The central Hero Prop for AZUL, was this fantastic future phone design. This prop will sleeve around an iPhone which will provide a functional screen for custom graphics. Below you can see the finished and weathered phone case prop for AZUL.
The phone design also included a “modular battery” on the rear. To create this we laser cut it from transparent red acrylic and I used a router to add a nice fillet to the edge. This was followed by sanding and using the buffing wheel to bring back the glossy surface finish where the router work had been undertaken. The laser cutter also etched the design of the graphics. This allowed for peeling back the sections for the graphics to easily add paint.
SCHOOL VR HEADSET (HERO PROP)
The other main hero prop build was this VR Headset. Essentially it’s used as an educational tool in schools in the film. It’s also uses a combination of an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, hence the flip up faceplate. This was designed to sleeve around a mobile phone VR headset so that the head straps could be incorporated.
Here you can see a custom controller that I’ve scratch built for use in a cool action sequence. I used the concept art from Leri Greer as a basis to work from and crafted the prop from there.
I also made a bunch of futuristic WIFI routers and water trackers that could be used for set dressing in the streets of Mexico. They’re supposed to look like people cobbled them together using whatever tech they had at their disposal.
I had free reign with this and had a blast using found objects and junk to create these props! These are two of the designs I came up with and I’ll have more to share soon.
I also designed some sci-fi grenades for Azul! I was inspired by a metal part we found at a junk yard and used that as the basis for my design. For context, in Azul people are using found parts and combining them with widely available 3D printing to create weaponry and gear such as this.