TV/Film students at DeSales University got a real-life lesson in mold making, thanks to Reynolds Advanced Materials. Greg Schrantz, a materials specialist at the Macungie-based company, stopped by the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, September 29, to speak to students and show off his work.
Schrantz took students step-by-step through the process of mold making and casting. He explained how to work with silicon rubber molds, urethane rubber molds, and latex molds, and showed students proper pouring techniques.
It took just minutes for him to demonstrate how to make a mold of a giant dime. But the real highlight came when he helped students make molds of their thumbs – a process that will soon come in handy. The class has to create a fake arm for a film it is currently working on called She Looks a Lot Like Me.
"Making our thumbs is an example of how to create a prosthetic body part,” said Chuck Gloman, chair of the TV/Film department at DeSales.
Schrantz poured the material into plastic cups, and one by one, students placed their thumbs inside. The sensation may have felt a bit weird but students loved the end result.
"The thumb is crazy,” said Andy DiAngelis, a TV/Film major. “It's really cool how accurate mold is, and it can definitely be super useful in filmmaking, especially with all the different materials that we may not have known about before. It will be a really good tool in the future to know all this stuff."
Reynolds Advanced Materials is behind some of the special effects you see in Hollywood movies. And this wasn’t the first time Gloman teamed up with the company. "Last year, I had them help me with creating a prosthetic arm in a movie that I had done,” he said. “I didn't know what materials to use. I called them up and they got me everything I needed. It worked out very well for the three seconds I used it in the film."
Next month, students will get to hear from alumnus Chris Lehman, a producer on the dance reality TV show Bring It!. "The graduates want to help,” Gloman said. “They come back all the time."
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