Monster orders for Inverness special effects team

Image caption,
The Lautens' Big Foot is on show at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

A special effects business has taken off in the Highlands.

Tom and Soibhan Lauten, who have worked on blockbusters such as King Kong, moved from London for a change of life.

They started a mobile snack bar while making effects as a sideline, but the hobby has won orders from film-makers and enthusiasts.

Mr Lauten said: "At Halloween our online sales go ballistic. We have to prepare months in advance to meet the demand."

The Lautens run Nimba Creations from their home in Inverness.

They exhibited at this year's Hi-Ex comic book convention in the city and run workshops at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.

On Saturday, the couple will be giving a demonstration on turning someone into a zombie using prosthetics they make from recyclable food-based material.

It is being held as part of the Invasion exhibition at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery which features props from science fiction films and the Lautens' Big Foot head.

The prop is among their pride and joys and has helped them win contracts in the past.

Shortly after moving north, the couple secured work on the BBC's Seven Ages of Britain programme.

Orders have also come in from film-makers of small budget productions, but also students and effects enthusiasts.

Mr Lauten used to make a 135-mile commute from his home to work as an effects supervisor in London.

He said: "After three years of doing that I was satisfied that I had done a little bit of everything. What I found I enjoyed the most was making stuff.

"Almost a year ago to the day, I also had bypass surgery and at that point we said lets try something else."

Loch Ness

The Lautens had been visiting the Highlands since 2002.

To help them settle into the area on their permanent move north they started the mobile snack stand.

But this is now being run on their behalf on the outskirts of Inverness while they focus on special effects.

The couple said the Highland landscape has been a rich source of inspiration.

Mr Lauten said: "If we fancy a slightly longer lunch-break we head to Dores and sit on the shores of Loch Ness and watch the clouds roll by.

"There isn't a season or type of weather when I don't find something up here that strikes a chord with me and I get an urge to write up an idea on the laptop, or sculpt a piece of clay."

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