While automotive repairs are his forté, Paul Drolet also has a knack for brickwork.
Just over four years ago Drolet started Salmon Arm Auto & Truck, located in the city’s industrial park. Since then, he and his team have built up and expanded the business and its reputation in the community. In 2019, while looking for a way to promote his business, Drolet decided to apply the patience, skilled hands and eye for detail he uses in the garage to working on vehicles of 1:43 scale or less. The result was a 30-second Lego stop motion video.
The experience was fun for Drolet and the feedback encouraging, so he eventually decided to make another. This time around, though, Drolet upped the ante, and the brick count, to create a fluid 55-second video. The end product combines combines multiple set pieces, special effects and a humorous, albeit exaggerated look at what can happen in the garage, based on real-life experiences.
“I will say besides discharging a fire extinguisher, everything in there happened to me,” laughs Drolet, explaining the video was intended to be a kind of gag reel of amusing mishaps.
To bring the commercial to life, Drolet ordered new Lego sets, as well as numerous minifigure heads – each wearing face masks, and also bought more sophisticated stop-motion software to work with. Once he got down to it, Drolet estimated his latest brick-based ad took about 15 hours to shoot. To control the lighting he filmed at nights.
For one scene, in which one of the mechanic figures accidentally catches fire and is put out by another figure with a fire extinguisher, Drolet explained the filming process took from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. to complete.
“Every character, you’ve got to think about what action they’re taking and what you’ll notice is as I’m moving to the next character, the previous characters are still moving and acting,” said Drolet.
“It’s a big of a feat of animation… you have to always think about every motion that’s happening.”
Thankfully Drolet had resources to draw on, including his brother Ben Drolet (owner of the former Shuswap Computer, now Sunrise Remote), who assisted with editing. Paul was also able to dig into his kids’ Lego collections for needed pieces, and is wife found the music that helped tie everything together.
Given the effort, time and money I put into the ad, Paul thinks it will be his last stop motion project for a while. While his kids love video, Drolet said his six year old was keen to get his hands on the pieces for other creations.
“He made quick work of taking everything apart,” laughed Drolet, adding one of the main set pieces, a garage, as well as some of the vehicles and characters, were given a new home on his office desk.
“It’s nice because if you’ve seen the video and you come to the shop, it’s all there now.”
Since going up on Salmon Arm Auto & Truck’s Facebook page, Drolet’s video has received plenty of love and shares.