Bobo is Back & the Big Burn

Wynonna Earp S2 Episode 8 No Future in the Past – Wynonna’s time travel vision quest has finally revealed the nature of the special connection between Bobo and Waverly – as show runner Emily Andras says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

Emily Andras 2
Emily Andras

“We always knew that Waverly and Bobo have a special connection, that he was fascinated with her in a way that didn’t exactly scream “healthy admiration.” But now we see that in the past, Bobo has been Waverly’s protector. We really leaned into this story line when we saw the incredible chemistry between Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Michael Eklund.” 

M Eklund 2
Michael Eklund

We’re all happy to see Bobo/Michael Eklund back, resurrected during Wynonna’s momentary mini-death. Being “special”, Bobo is the only revenant who could be reborn and as Emily says:  “Bobo is an enigma. He was as much an innocent victim of the curse as the Earps — but when he returned to Earth in demon form, he was one of the most vicious, conniving revenants. He can do whatever he wants… and I can’t wait to see what that is.”  Neither can we…

But time traveling vision quests aside, for us this week’s episode was all about the church burn.  This church does actually exist on the outdoor western town set at CL Ranch nearCL Ranch pic 2 Calgary. It was built for the series Lonesome Dove and has been used in productions like Unforgiven, Legends of the Fall, Hell on Wheels, Heartland and Shanghai Noon.  Each production dresses the town set to suit their art direction and other unique production needs.

Of course we couldn’t burn the actual church because of time and budget constraints so Leo proposed to director Paolo Barzman silhouetting fire against a full scale purpose-built  slat frame replica. Careful preparation and timing on a full building burn is crucial. And when it comes off as perfectly as this did our 021pyro-maniacal SPFX crew is very happy.  On this occasion the Alberta weather was dubious about cooperating and as the days advanced we were not sure if we would be in a dry grass field or under 10 feet of snow so the burn had to be carefully controlled for both safety and environmental reasons. It’s set up like a giant barbeque with propane jets placed in strategic locations in and around the building with the ability to turn off at a moments notice. Being lit for over 8 minutes of shooting we used up near 1000 lbs of propane gas at a very high flow rate. Being a night burn the effect is almost over-whelming. Still once the flames start you have no choice but to run with it and there is only one chance to get it right.   In a very lucky turn of events the fire truck was perfectly situated to reflect all those lovely flames and enhance the effect. Heartlandfire

Leo, Wynonna’s SPFX supervisor and BAI founder is an expert at burns. This is one of our favourite pics of him  – on the job during another burn on CBC’s Heartland. You never have complete control over a fire that big, so many safety precautions are taken to ensure there is no risk to the workers on set.  In this photo Leo is testing the air stream created so that stunt performers can pass easily up the stairs all the while looking like they are in maximum danger.

Baby P 1The party prop Alyssa worked hard to create was the comically cute baby piñata for Wynonna’s baby shower.  We found out quickly that peach is out as a party theme colour so peach coloured tissue paper no longer exists anywhere in North America! Ours was tinted, cut and fringed in our shop.  Gluing tiny rows of tissue by hand is a supremely finicky process, Alyssa’s patience was put to the test on this project.  These days Baby Pinata watches us work in the “fishbowl” our busy admin office. IMG_4242

And it’s not a Bleeding Art blog without a bit of gore – here’s a behind the scenes shot of Shaun Johnston/Juan Carlos and talented SPFX tech Megz Reynolds at the lunch buffet.

Season 2 of Wynonna Earp airs on Space and Syfy on Friday nights 10 pm ET, 8 pm MT. It is also available on iTunes.At Bleeding Art Industries, WE CREATE COOL. Check out our work @, our Twisted Tales universe @, and our products @

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COLD SNAPS AND COOL STUFF from Heartland to Wynonna and back again

We’re looking at January in our rear view mirror and are hoping that by the time this blog is posted the latest cold snap will break and some of the real white stuff will start to melt. The last few months have been so busy for us at Bleeding Art we thought you’d like to see a short list of some of the cool stuff that’s been happening at our shop:feb-blog-horse-pic

We wrapped Season 10 of CBC TV’s Heartland (episodes continuing to air Sundays on CBC).

We started Season 2 of Syfy’s award-winning Wynonna Earp – we can’t reveal anything about the new season except that we guarantee you’ll see lots of exciting mechanical special effects and prosthetics.

Dominique Provost-Chalkley

We welcomed cast member Dominique Provost-Chalkley from the series to our shop in early January and were thrilled when she tweeted about it afterwards.

We’ve been working on a fun project with Critical Mass, a Calgary-based digital communications agency with clients around the world – can’t wait to see this campaign hit the media as it put all our skills to the test.

We received one of our highest compliments ever when a former Calgary Police Forensic Crime Scenes Unit member said after seeing a test thumbprint made withbloody-thumb-print our blood:   “I took a look at the fingerprint, and from over 11 years in the Crime Scenes Unit seeing a lot of blood and fingerprints, it looks amazing. The colour is perfect and it gives us the detail we are looking for.”

 As a result of this great testimonial YouthLink at the Calgary Police Interpretive Centre contacted us for the blood they needed to make their upcoming adults only Valentine’s Day Fundraiser I BLOODY LOVE YOU as real as possible. There are still some tickets left to this event on Feb 14.

Ewan McGregor stars in Fargo Season 3

And our shop has been busy as well supplying our blood products, bruise powder, our new Colour Me Dirty wardrobe aging sticks to productions like Wynonna Earp, Dead Again in Tombstone, Knuckleball and Tin Star as well  as other products to the fine folks at Fargo Season 3.

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FISH, FOALS & GOBI DESERT CUBS – The Creative Creature Challenges of Heartland

In every season since the pilot episode in 2007 of CBC TV’s Heartland our main focus has been practical special effects.  But this past season provided some extraordinary opportunities to exhibit our skills at making creatures of the animal kind. While the beautiful real horses of Heartland are always front and center, the script writers this season included a number of scenes which required combining the use of real creatures and their artificial duplicates, also called stuffies.

To ensure safety and control, realistic looking creatures are frequently created to stand in for the live ones being used.  Ever since we designed and fabricated a life sized male animatronic lion for a zoo exhibit, we’ve prided ourselves on building realistic looking animals.  Before the fabrication process begins extensive research is done, starting with the observation of the live animal. Close attention is paid to all the details of the creature from its skeletal structure to the look of its fur or skin.

Our newborn foal stuffie ready to go to the Heartland set for the birth scene.

For Heartland this year we began with the birthing of twin foals. Predicting the timing of the actual live birth with the pregnant mare and scheduling the shoot to coincide was a logistical challenge. But it all came together to create a beautiful birth scene. We utilized the newborn stuffie emerging from its amniotic sac that we created to simulate the birth on screen and then featured the live newborn foals afterwards.  We learned some amazing facts like the nature of the natural hoof coverings that foals are born with to protect the mare’s birth canal and uterus from injury.  These coverings are nibbled off by the mare shortly after the birth and the foal is able to stand and nurse within an hour. Here’s a behind the scenes test we did in the shop as part of the process in determining what we needed to do and what changes were to be made.

The twin grizzly cubs we were privileged to meet.

The scenes of the Gobi desert bear cub were a favourite of ours this season.  The cub footage featured twin grizzlies that had been orphaned and arrived in Alberta.
This gave us the unique opportunity to observe the cubs at close range with their trainers and use this research to create a stuffie bear cub with fully articulated limbs which is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. We can’t wait to see the final episode for this season on January 15 – when you’ll find out what happens to the injured cub.

Oh yes and the fish – we created adult rainbow trout from silicone. img_5433 About 14” long, these little beasts gave ultimate control of the fishing shot and ensured that no biological issues would arise in the waterway where we were shooting.  The jaws were reinforced for fish hooks, they were weighted to float or swim and one was realistically floppy so the actor could interact with it in a lifelike manner.

Though not of the creature variety – in late December Heartland’s cliffhanger episode 9 aired. We were pleased that the truck and trailer crash was so frighteningly real. To storyboard it, we built a scale model of that scene including the truck and trailer with the goal of creating the most realistic sequence of events. The results on screen made that attention to detail very worthwhile.  And how did you like our boulders? They are super fun to play with as they weigh less than 5 lb. each.

For more pictures of our creatures, visit our photo gallery here or if you’re interested in renting any of them, visit the Creatures + Prosthetics section of our rentals site here.

Did you see the episodes that showed the above creatures? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Heartland horse blog VIII

We often get called in to make horses appear sweaty without having to run them off their feet to make real sweat. We have tried numerous techniques and products to achieve this look; ultimately, it depends on so many variables. What was the horse doing to get all sweaty? What colour of horse is it? Will it be inside or outside? Will we have time for a proper clean up? Will the horse be saddled? Depending on the answers we get, we can use a plethora of materials to stage sweat. Different formulas of corn syrup-based sweats, glycerine and even simple uses of powdered dyes and dirt with water. Without giving away all of our secrets – a sweaty horse can be harder to make up than you think!



This is our final Heartland horse blog posting for the season. Thanks for following and for the comments and we’ll be back for Season 8. For more information on the series, click here.

Heartland horse blog VII

Sometimes we get called out to Heartland to make a horse look like it has been abused or neglected. In one particular episode, Scott and Ty come across a horse that had been abandoned in an old barn and left for dead. Let me tell you, it’s no easy task turning a fat-bellied, well fed horse into a skinny emaciated one! The ribs had to be painted on, as well as the shadows to create depth in the skin. Sometimes I feel bad making the horses look like this and then I remember – oh yeah, they’re going to be stars!



Heartland horse blog Part VI

Sometimes we have to paint one horse to look like another. In this case, it was two grey horses that had to match the lead. The dapples (spots) on the horse were matched and painted on with water-based paints for easy removal. You may be thinking “how hard can it be to paint a horse?”. Well, the real challenge is matching them. Like people, no two horses look EXACTLY the same as each other so we’re compensating for dark or light spots, mane and tale length, feet and distinctive markings. A lot of horses don’t like you up in their eyes, nose and ears so you have to be patient and know what works for the horse. We have come up with different non-invasive techniques that won’t stress the animal out, require a lot of clean up or be any burden to the wranglers. In the end, painting horse hair is unlike painting anything else. Every time is a challenge but also an opportunity to develop a new approach. Let us know – now that we’ve been posting some behind the scenes blogs of the special effects make-up done on the horses, do you watch them a bit closer and the make-up effects that may have been done?

Heartland horses


Heartland horse blog Part V

When it comes to delivering a realistic wound, we have to do our research. In this case it was tough. This episode’s plot contained horses that are part of the Tennessee Walking world (if you missed last night’s show – a Tennessee Walker is a breed of gaited horse known for its unique four-beat “running walk” and flashy movement). The horses are being abused and treated horribly to benefit a selfish showman. The horses pasterns (a part of the leg of a horse) are rubbed raw, and caustic materials such as paint thinner and battery acid are applied so it is too uncomfortable for the horse to use pressure to push down with its hooves, resulting in a showy, unnatural walk. They then use weighted straps and chains to chew through the animal’s skin. This type of abuse is soaring. In order to simulate the effect, we had to create various stages of “burning” on the horses legs; the green colour simulates the battery acid mix that is slopped on. The biggest challenge is getting three completely different looks for different scenes in one day. If you’re in Canada, click here to watch the episode.

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