Claire Sullivan on how there's no business like Snow Business
Claire Sullivan, Marketing Director at Snow Business, who design and create artificial snow environments for the film and television industry talks to us about working on everything from snowflakes to blizzards. If you need a winter wonderland for your project, get on the (snow) blower to these people.
Hello Claire, thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Can you tell us how Snow Business started?
By chance in 1983, Darcey worked for a paper merchant and took an unusual call asking for ‘paper snow’. The order was so small the company Darcey worked for was not interested but Darcey, who has always loved snow, had the contacts to make it. The rest is legend.
What are the services that Snow Business offers?
We just love snow. We manufacture and sell artificial snow materials as well as real snow. We design, manufacture and hire or sell the snow machinery.
We can provide skilled technicians to create magical scenes for film, events or windows. You can buy a single snowflake from us or call us in to create a terrifying avalanche or blizzard. If you’re looking for snow – you need to talk to us.
Can you tell us how some of your snow effects are created?
We normally use about seven or eight different materials within any single shot to obtain whatever look the director requires.In the background we will use inexpensive coverings, in the mid-ground products are used that reveal more detail.
For foreground we use high resolution products. For trees, or roofs we use stuff that will wash away easily. For footprints, or blood we use materials that interact in the way required. We use warm snow for actors to lay on and on and on.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects you’ve worked on?
The areas we had to cover for Band of Brothers were huge, we had to build two special machines in order to dress snow at the rate of 1-square metre per second in order to turn huge landscapes from autumn to winter in time for the shooting.
For The Day After Tomorrow we had to build giant wax rigs to coat hundreds of square metres of set with ice.
What’s one of the most challenging projects Snow Business has had to work on?
The most challenging thing however, for Michael Mann (before CGI), was to get a single snowflake to fall as a couple kissed but have the whole area full of falling snow for when the camera pulled back – it made the poster!
Do you work strictly on feature film and TV projects or have you done work on short films as well?
We do short films, commercials, stage work, weddings, fashion shows and even parties. We make it snow for them all.
What’s it like seeing the snowy landscapes that Snow Business creates in the finished projects?
It is great fun when members of the public stumble into an unexpected snow-covered landscape. Everyone, and I mean everyone, smiles and the children always go straight into snowball fight mode.
What advice would you give any filmmaker looking to create an artificial snowy landscape?
Involve us early. There are lots of ways to achieve what you want but inevitably when you leave it late, the options remaining are the expensive ones.
Are you able to tell us about any projects you have coming up?
Unfortunately not, we work strictly under confidentiality agreements, just keep your eye on the new releases and think of us whenever you see snow.
You can follow Snow Business on Twitter: @SnowBusinessInt
Check out their work and range of services at their website.