Best Burger

Specialized prop for print ad for Pierre Food Service

Created for an ad agency, the client requested that the branding iron be painted so that it would appear to be glowing red hot; that is reflecting more light than was apparently being cast upon it. As the purpose was to sell hamburgers, the idea to mock up an oversize burger and making a translucent iron with internal neon was not possible. The final solution to coat the branding iron with Scotch-Lite reflective beads and use a beamsplitter to reflect gelled light directly back to the camera. The final result was actually too bright, and was toned down by airbrushing the final photograph. As this was done about 1988 (prior to Photoshop) it actually was airbrushed.


Pictured here are some of the stages that the branding iron went through in its' creation. The original model, cut from sintra plastic, is glued to a piece of foam core. Then, a foam core box was built around the model so that the blue GI-1000 silicone could be poured on it, resulting in the mold on the left. On the bottom right is one of the casting resin copies made from the mold, and on the top left is one of the finished branding irons.


The finished props were hit with spray glue, then dipped into a small tub of Scotch-Lite beads. This is a personal test, done to show the prop shop that hired me, and the ad agency that hired them, how the effect works. As the light source was a flashlight held next to the lens, rather than a proper co-axial beam splitter, the shadow from the light source is off to one side of the iron here.