Special effects company, Artem SFX, got to stretch their model-making skills building shells for hermit crabs for a property website’s latest advertising campaign.
The new advert features hermit crabs wearing shells with miniature houses on top – built by Artem’s prop specialists as the client Zoopla were keen to use physically rather than digital special effects.
This meant the crustaceans had to be happy in their new costumes, leading Artem to use samples of real shells taken from the filming location in Costa Rica.
Some of the shells were moulded and cast in resin; others were replicated at different sizes using a laser scanner, 3D CAD and 3D printing.
Prototypes were sent for testing (crucial, given each shell’s 12 hour 3D print and post processing time), before a follow up batch of 21 shells were produced.
According to Artem project supervisor, Simon Tayler, the crabs seemed very happy with the new homes (possibly as a similar sized home in London costs over £2million…) before they were left to move back to their original shells and released back into the wild.
Should you be panicking about the welfare of the crabs – as though they were ripped from their shells like passengers on a United flight – Artem worked alongside animal welfare experts including cameraman Doug Allen, known for his work with David Attenborough; chief marine biologist, Ingo Wehmann and three highly-experienced crab handlers, all of whom were on set throughout the week-long shoot.
If anything, feel sorry for the poor folks at Artem sat devoting hours of their lives to hand painting and finishing the intricate details of each crab shack for a single minute ad.