Engineering secrets of carnival floats

[From the description]

Rio de Janeiro – January 29th 2013

1. Wide shot City of Samba where carnival factories operate.

2. Wide two large grasshoppers on a float car.

3. One of the grasshoppers moves.

4. Man soldering in the other grasshopper.

5. Medium shot, grasshopper moves legs and head.

6. Grasshopper’s segmented mouth opens.

7. Man inside float car pulls levers which move the grasshoppers.

8. Zoom out from moving grasshopper head reveals body.

9. Zoom out of Ismael Santos with soldering mask.

10. Close man fixing cables in grasshopper’s joint.

11. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Ismael Santos – Robotics artist – “This kind of robotics as incredible as it may seem is best done by people from our land (the Amazon). We were born with this gift. It’s we who make these things and in Rio and S�o Paulo no one is able to imitate us”.

12. Zoom out, man entering a large puppet representing a construction worker. 13. Man inside puppet, pulling levers.

14. Wide shot of puppet moving.

15. Close up of moving head.

16. Man looking upwards.

17. Zely Lanoa sorting out chains and steel cables.

18. Tilt up to fake construction machine moving.

19. Zely Lanoa inside rotating crane, a part of the scenery.

20. Wide shot, steel structure that will become 12 meter high oil rig.

21. Close up of men pulling chains.

22. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Zely Lanoa – Iron structure specialist – “Each one of these towers is going to be supported by a set of wheels like these which were designed imitating these rotating chair wheels”

23. Close up ball bearings which will support the structure.

24. Men in front of large iguana. Tilt up to head.

25. Man enters iguana from below.

26. Various men pulling cables inside iguana.

27. Wide pan left showing moving iguana head.

28. Close up iguana eye blinks.

29. SOUNDBITE (Portuguese) Jo�o Nepomuceno, Robotics artist “I had made other animals, but this was the first time we make one of these. It was difficult, we watched several videos to see how it moves its hind legs. We took it apart three times until we got it right”.

30. Wide pan iguana.

31. Two men inside a large puppet pulling levers, tilt up reveals moving head. 32. Close up guinea fowl head.

33. Wide shot guinea fowl moving head.

34. Various two men moving serpent mouth.

35. Serpent neck being lifted upwards.

36. Serpent moves head sideways.


LEAD IN : Its nearly Lent and that means it is carnival season ! And the world’s most famous party takes place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Preparations are well underway ahead of the official launch today. (Feb 8)


STORYLINE : Carnival is not all about sequins and samba. In Rio great pride is taken in the complex floats built just for the parade. Work is intense at the City of Samba in the month before the carnival, where sophisicated float cars are under construction. This is one of the toughest competitions in Brazil. A forty-member jury will issue points in ten categories like timing, music, originality, rhythm and ornamentation. This is where art meets engineering. Artisans from Parintins in the far east of the Amazonas state specialise in this craft. Their isolation stimulated their creativity and they are unmatched even in industrial parts of Brazil. Nearly one hundred of them move to Rio before carnival, to show the city folk how it is done. At the Vila Isabel warehouse, moving grasshoppers are part of this year’s topic: agriculture. Ismael Santos and his assistants are testing cables and pulleys for realistic motion. On the day of the parade ten people will be pulling levers hidden below the float car. The grasshoppers will be covered in elastic fabric and painted. Next door at the Grande Rio warehouse a man enters a puppet.

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at
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