Bear head

I’ve spent most of the last two days trying to solve the issues with ventilation in ways that don’t make it really unpleasant for the actors. The thing about testing to see if the fogging still occurring is that really the only way to do it is to put the head on and start a timer to see when the eyes fog over. So, I’ve spent a lot of time with the bear head on. The other night, I edited the short video of the bear during bouts of testing.

Right now, I’ve got it on again as I’m writing this. Aðalbjörk and Josa, the actresses who will take turns being Hringur, came over to test my mock up. They agreed that it was only mildly obnoxious and that the fogging didn’t seem to be happening.

So, I’m putting the real one in now, or rather, I’m testing the real one before doing the last thing that will make it permanent. My assessment is that, while it does seem to stop the fogging, it makes the impression of heat in the head more intense. See, what’s happening is that the hot air coming out of my nose and mouth is bouncing around in a much smaller area before exiting the character, which means that it feels like I’m breathing in a steam bath.

Here are the steps I’ve taken. I had already replaced the fiberglass cheeks of Hringur with foam for a more huggable bear, but I used the standard upholstery foam rubber. I switched that foam out for a reticulated foam. You can see that reticulated foam (on left) is much more porous than your standard foam rubber (on right).

FoamsHringur bear

Next I honeycombed the new cheek to let even more air flow through. Although this allows more air through, it also makes the cheek weaker. I can get away with it here because the surrounding fiberglass adds structure.

Hringur bear

I covered this with netting and put in plugs as I did with the other holes that I cut in the bear.

Hringur bear

Hringur BearIn theory, the finished bear is not noticeably different from the original bear, but is cooler. What I’m finding is that when I’m moving around, enough of a breeze gets through all of these small holes to cool the head down somewhat, at least compared to what it was before. I’ve been in the head for about fifteen minutes now, including a dance break, and there’s no fogging. Björgvin is coming by to pick Hringur up for rehearsal. Oh, please, please, let this work when they rehearse with it.

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4 Responses

  1. -d-

    It’s nice having you in Iceland instead of Portland because I can read your posts in the morning instead of the evening.
    I’m trying to figure out if puppeteering is an art or a science.

  2. momk

    IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE WHAT MORE COULD BE DONE TO ADDRESS THE VENTILATION PROBLEM, UNLESS PEHAPS REMOVING HRINGUR’S EARS?!

  3. Mary Robinette Kowal

    I did think about that, or rather I though about opening the fur so that there was a passage from his ears into the head. I realized that it would make no difference in the mask, because the bicycle helmet more or less seals off the top of the head from the rest of the mask.

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