amexctdzoom.jpg (6864 bytes)As you probably know, real crash test dummies are almost impossible to come by and if you do find them they are usually unsuitable for photography. "Real" Crash Test dummies are owned and operated by the Dot. The dummies are all  made exactly the same,  in order to control the standardization of  test results. Individual car companies create their own dummies that they conduct tests with and  which are  usually made seated
  The real ones have very substantial mechanisms, that you do not get to see. and are made from gunmetal, and designed to be very  tough, and durable. They cost about $100,000.00 each. The differences between ours and the real ones are  that  the real ones are coated with a rubbery type skin, and since the viewers of our photogrpaphs don't have the  luxury of touching  the skin, we could make ours hardwhich allows us to control color much better.  We don't have sensors,  and other than that we put  in techie joints so we have  the ability to move them and lock them down. We make armatures for the specialized postures and create heads with special expressions or looks to suit a particular objective or design, which do not come with the real ones.
   We can rent you existing dummies or parts or we can make a totally custom dummie to your exact specifications. We can come and set them up for you, box them for transit, and  rig it to do whatever you want it to do,  in advance, to insure that there are no suprises on set. We will style them any way you want them.

These dummies which we call the MK5  series refined versions of the MK. Call us for a quote on your project.


Crash Test Dummy for Chevrolet

All over the Place The Chevrolet Job came around from the Lexus job. They had to be freestanding . There was no rush on this one it was just the drama of it all. For example,  the client  didn't know we could make the heads, so they had an artist in London make the heads. We couldn't paint the bodies  until we saw the heads, to match the color.  Fedex was suposed to deliver the heads  and they screwed upand left them at LAX. So we  sent  a guy down to the airport Saturday morning to pick up the heads. Then we stayed up on Saturday night to paint all three dummies. The flight was on Sunday and the shoot on Monday. We airfreighted our stuff out on Sunday for delivery the next day.  We setup at the Bonneville Salt Flat. On site we used an internal armature that was completely concealed, and they did in fact stand there. We had a hidden base that went with them, that was flat aluminum and white and was hidden in the salt flats. We had a special orderded four wheel drive, to get us in and out. We also got and  set up the barriers, which was an ad on. We got those in Mormon Town, driving down the road with 200 barriers. We also got special top hats,  which flew in from New York and looked like shit, so we sent them back and scrambled to Barrons California Hats,  who have been making hats for the stars for years. These guys we left the arms open because we really needed control over their movements.


Client: Lexus
Photo: Pete Mcarthur
Client: American Express


Over the Weekend

The Lexus Dummy that arrived at the photographers  on Friday was molded in a seated position, ugly as hell, orange ,   a guy, and all beat up, and was to put it bluntly, unnnacceptable. An alert call to Rick Elden ensued.   By Monday ( note the weekend turnaround )   the new dummie is on set in LA. We came in on a 4ft dolly with the dummmies support coming out of it's back  over  to a vertical, so it could be fully articulatable. Legs and  arms,  angle of torso, the whole bit is flying and it could be locked down and fully placed in any position. The Paper came down and swept and we were able to punch one hole for the armature. Minimal shadow and minimal damage, all behind the dummy, so we didn't break up anything.  We were onset to retouch the skin, get her dressed, four guys putting an evening dress on a dummy.

Looking good, everyone is happy,   and honored in Communication Arts as a great Ad


Client: American Express
Photo: Lee Crum
Client: American Express

Three's Company

The ad originally called for a guy, a girl and a kid,  we had the girl from the Lexus, yet we needed a guy and a kid. So we were comissioned to make a guy and a kid. Three days before due, word came down Kid as crashed or  crashing  didn't fly, so we had to make a new adult, which we did, immediately, and personally flew the three to New York from LA.  and  then drove to New Jersey, to set up the dummies on the dragstrip at Raceway Park, in Hacketstown. We went really all out on these guys, total lockdown ability and poseability. the knee joints, the elbows, wrists, the knuckles even. The heads all swivel, tilt, and hold,  just like a real person, giving infinite variety of position. We took off the arms and legs, heads and hands so we could make a small box. Each dummy had it's own case for transport and they handled the flight no problem. 

The small print

We price each project individually, depending on the requirements of that particular shot. If we create new parts or whole dummies, we own them and everything must be returned to us unless a buyout in arranged in advance. Buyout prices are generally double the production cost. We usually grant the rights to use the dummies likeness in the ad for which it was commissioned. All other uses must be negotiated seperately and in most cases will cost extra. Changes once a project is underway will cost more money. It helps a great deal if we are brought in to the production process early, since we know just about everything there is to know about getting the job done and can save the production alot of time and money. We are also production designers dontcha know.

Phone 323-550-8922   Fax 323-254-6860
2767 Broadway Eagle Rock, Ca  90041 email All contents Copyrightę 1999 Elden