Create mechanical effects

Business Sectors (Suites): Physical Special Effects
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 01 Mar 2017


This Standard is about your ability to create mechanical effects, including the use of animatronics. It assumes you have the required knowledge to work in this area of mechanical engineering. It also assumes you have an understanding of physical special effects and the part mechanical engineering can play in this area of work. This Standard is for you if you create mechanical special effects.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. create mechanical effects in line with production breakdown and

    budget constraints

    1. work in collaboration with relevant people from other key

    departments to ensure that produced effects meet production


    1. use reliable information to interpret any designs or visualisations

    provided by the production to create effects

    1. provide any designs or documentation for effects to relevant


    1. source materials appropriate for mechanical effects being


    1. maintain the health and safety of cast and crew at all times

    2. confirm that all mechanical work meets existing safety protocols

    and provide documentation to that effect

    1. demonstrate a wide range of techniques and methods to achieve

    desired mechanical effects

    1. record and document tests in appropriate formats, providing these

    to production for feedback

    1. provide alternative solutions and designs if the effects cannot be

    produced within the original design, budget and schedule

    1. liaise with other departments to ensure any vehicles are prepared

    in ways that minimise risk

    1. confirm that appropriate safety measures and necessary

    documentation are in place when working with pressure vessels

    and pipework valving

    1. document all aspects of risk assessment and risk management in

    appropriate formats

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. script breakdown, budget, constraints and schedule for the

    physical special effects

    1. how to use mechanical engineering to create production, props,

    effects and stunts

    1. construction materials and a wide range of techniques, including

    how to select appropriate fixing and attaching methods

    1. traditional and innovative technologies for cutting and shaping

    2. fluid mechanics

    3. the calculation of forces

    4. the design of various mechanisms

    5. motors, drives, their proponent parts and how each is used to

    produce effects

    1. how breakaways and release mechanisms work and the safety

    protocols when employing them

    1. a knowledge of projectiles and their trajectories

    2. how mechanical effects are operated and react in different

    environments, including under water

    1. how to operate mechanical effects within appropriate safety

    protocols, adhering to current industry standards and legislation

    1. the legislation and safety measures which exist for working with

    pressure vessels and regulated pipework valving

    1. camera rigs and how they can be employed

    2. how to use roll cages and vehicle preparation for stunts

    3. current and emerging technologies and how these can be used to

    create mechanical effects

    1. how Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided

    Manufacture (CAM) and 3D printing can work together to design

    and produce mechanical models

    1. the manufacturing processes used in mechanics, including coded


    1. what can be achieved by post production and visual effects


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Mar 2020





Originating Organisation

Creative skillset

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Physical Special Effects Professionals, Special Effects Trainee, Special Effects Technician, Special Effects Senior Technician, Special Effects Supervisor

SOC Code



Mechanical; Physical special effects; Design; Plan; Explosive effect; Breakdown; Budget