TV Props for Custom Interactive Displays

Custom interactive displays— TV props for retirement savings commercial

Yet again we’ve shipped out an incredible project! Our client needed 7 of these custom interactive displays for a commercial on retirement savings. Each of the TV props is composed of an MDF base, an aluminum support and a foam body. The entire unit is finished with automotive paint and each of the 14 pods enclosed a tablet PC and rotary encoder.  With enlisted help from our technology partner, M1 Interactive, to code a custom-scripted software that rounded out the whole experience! The participant spins the knob and sees their savings grow on the screen!

Each of these TV props has two foam bodies that are attached to the support shaft. These curved kiosks were CNC routed from a double-layered sheet of high density foam and although this material is stiffer and stronger than other types of foam, but it still needs reinforcement. We start out by giving each a layer of self-leveling hard-coat which is spread out over the surface and naturally evens out to a smooth finish. However, bubbles or defects will always appear. The whole Bridgewater team comes together to apply filler, sand, and repeat. At this time, the Sintra (a brand of PVC plastic) hoods are also being fitted to the foam. This design feature shades the kiosks’ screens to prevent glare and keep the image crisp on set!

Everyone at Bridgewater has been designing, making and fabricating for years and one specific skill gained over those years is knowing our materials and their properties. The Sintra, for example, has very specific thermodynamic properties. Specifically, it is able to deform when heated and then cool and harden back into a new shape. We CNC-routed these hoods from a flat sheet of Sintra, sanded them, and heated them in our oven to make them malleable. When pressed them over an MDF forming tool and cooled they are able to retain this bent shape!

Diffuse LED lighting effect for TV props

To achieve the diffused lighting effect in the TV prop support pillars, the LEDs need to be evenly distributed. We used an array of LEDs soldered to a thin strip of PCB (the material used in circuit boards). The support columns are aluminum, milled in-house, with a plexiglass insert over a thin layer of airbrushed white.

At the end, each of these custom interactive displays will be powered by a small power supply hidden in the base and a dimmer that controls the lighting intensity and turns the lighting on or off.

Autobody finish and custom props assembly

Finally, the foam bodies are ready to be sent off to the paint booth. We set up a particle-free enclosure to ensure that no dust or dirt floats into the paint. After a layer of primer, these custom props are airbrushed with a few layers of automotive paint.

All the pieces are now good to go. A bent aluminum rod is attached through a hole at the top of the support shaft. Shaft collars are welded to a small plate and attached to the back of the foam kiosk bodies. Lastly, these heads can be slid onto those aluminum arms and secured atop the structure. Here are all the parts laid out before the TV props are assembled.

Custom interactive display— face plates for TV props

All the parts are finished and ready to assemble. Having our own in house CNC Milling capabilities allows us to turn these parts around in a fraction of the time. The toolpaths are programmed on a computer and sent to the mill where the shape is cut from a solid sheet of aluminum.

As the other parts are completed we sand off the metal burrs and smooth the edges of the face plates. Finally, they’re sent off to be primed and painted with the rest of the custom prop parts.

Putting the final touches on our TV props…

The TV props are almost ready to go! Here you can see them all lined up to receive their PC tablet. Before we can put everything in, the wiring needs to be organized to fit in the small cutout. Additionally, each of the computers has to be loaded with the custom software created by M1 Interactive. Plus, these computers are brand new; so, we have to set them up and turn off notifications or anything else that might interrupt their use during the commercial production. Each of the tablets is also kept tethered to an outlet to ensure they are charged and ready to be used right off the bat.

The tablets are carefully adhered to the back of the face plates. Then, the spinner knob is hooked up with a small microcontroller to interpret the custom software. Finally, the computers are inserted into the kiosk and held in place with a few strips of velcro so that they can be easily removed to reach the power button or charger. Before sending them out to the client, each stand is screwed through the base to a pallet to guarantee a jostle-free delivery!

Altogether, these TV props were a fantastic project for Bridgewater Studio, and we thank our clients for this unique opportunity! We made a quick turn-around— in and out in under a week, but the quality never suffered! Bridgewater is a fully-capable, one-stop shop for all things custom and one of the fastest Chicago scenic studios. We have a full wood and metal shop, two CNC machines, a fully-stocked paint studio, 3D printers, a brand new direct-to-substrate printer, and more! To see more of our TV props and custom interactive displays, check out our TV and Film section— or look at some of our Special Projects. We’d love to help you complete your next project. To schedule a visit, or just start a conversation, give Bridgewater Studio a call at (312) 702-1335.

custom interactive displays kiosks for tv commercial prop
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