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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Profiles > Airheads not so dumb

Lee Harris and his 'airheads'

Airheads not so dumb

A Notts entrepreneur is hoping to swell the crowds on screen with 'airheads'.

Lee Harris and his business partner Dean Sipling have created lifelike inflatable 'extras' for film and TV.

The pair, who've worked as part of the production team on shows such as Bonekickers, Teachers, Waterloo Road and Playing The Field, believe they've spotted a gap in the market.

"CGI is expensive. It's fine if you are doing a $100 million film like Gladiator but not for film and television in the UK."

Meadow Lane crowd

Packing out Meadow Lane

Similar technology has already been used in Hollywood. Seabiscuit, Rocky V and Dodgeball all used inflatables.

Test dummies

Lee and Dean have already put their creations to the test.

They're based near Meadow Lane and on Sunday 15 March 2009 they filled the Family Stand with a thousand 'airheads'. Lee says they got a great response.

"The nationals all picked up on it. The Times, Five Live... they loved it.

"At one point the human fans were chanting 'you're not singing anymore' to the inflatables."

Inside Nottingham Synagogue

Inside Nottingham Synagogue

Spot the difference

Dean believes their blow-up dolls are now very lifelike. However, some of the earlier prototypes were not.

"We tried to superimpose the faces of ourselves, our families and our partners onto the dolls. It looked a little odd so we went down the mask route."

Some of the other early efforts had other faults too, including slightly green skin. Not ideal unless you are filming a crowd scene involving aliens.

The Frances Finn show is on BBC Radio Nottingham, 0900 – 1200 weekdays (103.8 & 95.5FM, DAB and online).

last updated: 26/03/2009 at 16:22
created: 26/03/2009

You are in: Nottingham > People > Profiles > Airheads not so dumb

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