Our man with the photos, Stuart Collins, pointed his camera in the direction of the production of a dealer video for the Rover 800. He tells the story to accompany the pictures – if you have the video, please get in touch.
‘In 1988, I was working for ABB (an industrial robotics company) and we supplied three robots to a production company to make a dealer launch video for the Rover 827 fastback. The five attached photos are from a stage at Shepperton studios where we spent a couple of weeks setting everything up.
‘The car was mounted on a turntable that also tipped forward and had the engine removed to make room for a couple of laser units that shone through the headlamp lenses. The two front robots (orange things) had mirrors and directed laser beams about, the rear (bigger) robot also had a mirror and was used to open and close the tailgate during the “show”.
‘All the lighting, lasers and robot movements where controlled by the soundtrack from a reel-to-reel tape player (1980’s technology) and I heard the three-minute track so often that I could almost hear it in my sleep for weeks after. Once the show sequence was all sorted at Shepperton, everything was broken down and transported to the NEC, where it was set up in one of the car parks.
‘We spent a few nights (it needed to be dark for the lasers) setting up and fine tuning while sleeping during the day. The finished product was mostly filmed on the Friday night (May 1988) to coincide with the Telethon charity event that year.’
‘A pilot coming in to land at the nearby Birmingham Airport complained about the laser lights in the sky, but the production company had already got permission from the CAA to use them within defined limits for the event.’