Wynonna Earp Season 1 Episode 4 – Forgive me father…where are your legs?! AKA – Suffering for your Art: Leg Casting…Not for Sissies!

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The fourth episode of Wynonna Earp aired this week and we’re very excited to talk about our work behind the scenes. In this episode we had quite the effects list, most of which we haven’t  talked about as we’re trying to avoid nerding out on the detail of FX things that excite perhaps only us.  I loved Emily Andras’s and James Hurst’s writing for this one; they gave us so much to play with.

The use of mirrors has always been one of my favourite projects because of the sheer spook factor.  We had done a number of tests on mirrors that would break, shatter, and do illusion things.  Much of this got combined with the CG component because of the limited amount of time we had to do the physical effects on set.   If you check here on our YouTube channel, you can view some of those tests.  We also engineered a set of screws that could magically look like they were being removed from an unseen force.  The test footage can be found here too.

In the prosthetics realm, we had a challenging adventure with the illusion of father Malick’s missing legs.  The idea was that the actor could play the scene and then reveal his amputated stumps, proving that he couldn’t have done the things of which he was accused.  This is a perfect example of a mechanical illusion that creates a more effective reveal than CG.

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We did a number of test fittings and created the illusion so that the actor could be within the bed.  Here, we see Wade (our best boy) doing the initial fitting, then after a number of alterations, the actor – Terry Lawrence – is called in for the final fit.  The effect was completed with small pneumatic devices to puppet his stumps.  Again, YouTube tests can be found here.

It was an especially painful effect for me personally, as we had decided that the most cost effective way to do the legs was to cast them.  I was elected to be the model and had to do something I had never done before: shave my legs.  WARNING: TMI ! Generally speaking, my body hair is minimal, except for my legs.  I had an entire weekend to get the job done (clear my schedule!) and thought I had accomplished the hairless legs goal…until the casting session.  Emotionally I was doing well; our head fabricator Alyssa had the honour of slathering me with the silicone molding material, and when that was completed we believed we had the casting information we needed.  At this point we found out that I had not done as well as I thought on the leg-shaving process.  I would have appreciated knowing before this point that the very sensitive area behind my knees is also very hairy. So hairy in fact that the mold locked. Alyssa very diplomatically left the room while I adjusted to this new information (sound of sobbing). Eventually I bit the bullet and allowed Alyssa to proceed, effectively ripping out most of the hair I missed.   I learned two valuable lessons:  1. Ask for help when prepping for a leg casting, and  2. It takes real guts to wax your legs, definitely not for sissies.

By the time we got to this episode, we were well into the season… and it was busy.  Just the thing we signed on for.  We hope you like this glimpse of our work behind the scenes.

– Leo

PS: I will never make fun again of people who have waxing done.  That takes real guts!

Wynonna Earp Season 1 now airs on the SPACE Channel on Saturday nights right after Dr. Who. Season 2 is coming this summer – we will be posting the air date on Facebook.

Wynonna Earp is also available by clicking here on  iTunes.

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