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Zoopla films crab ‘house movers’ in Costa Rica


London-based Royle Productions filmed hermit crabs in Costa Rica for a new spot for UK property site Zoopla.

The ad features the crabs ‘moving house’ in shells moulded onto tiny but very human model homes of all styles to reflect the property market.

Locations all over the world were considered for the shoot as the production team sought the right combination of accessible beachfront and crabs that were a suitable size.

Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast proved the best option, with servicing from La Casa Films. 

A decision was made early on to avoid using visual effects wherever possible. Instead, seashells favoured by hermit crabs were sent to London where tiny 3D-printed models of houses were moulded onto new versions of the shells. These were then flown back to Costa Rica for filming.

“We needed to ensure that the hermit crabs would naturally and comfortably do what we wanted them to do – move from their original shells into the ones that we created with the houses on top,” says Sarah Marcon, a producer with Royle Productions, in comments to KFTV.

“All professionals assured us that they would happily do this. It was in their nature to find somewhere to dwell and they move from shell to shell numerous times in their life."  

For more on filming in Costa Rica and for local contacts see our production guide.

“We worked with marine biologists from the University of Costa Rica throughout the production and had specialist crab handlers on the shoot who were responsible for the welfare of the hermit crabs at all times, day and night. 

“At the end of the shoot the hermit crabs went back into their original shells and were released back to the wild.”

La Casa Films has extensive experience working on international advertising campaigns. The company’s recent credits include The Journey Begins for US building supplies firm 84 Lumber, which caused controversy during its Super Bowl airing for its tale of a Central American immigrant and her daughter making their way to a new life in the US.

Client: Zoopla
Creative Agency: 101
Agency Production: Royle Productions
Production Company: Riff Raff 
Director: Augusto Sola
Executive Producer: Matt Fone
Producer: Sarah Marcon
Production Service Company: La Casa Films


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