Creating some (major) cool in 2018

Telling our own stories by creating our own work has always been one of the key goals of our company. It’s the start of a new year and new adventures and we’re excited to have a variety of our own very cool and interesting projects on the go (no spoiler alerts but keep an eye out here and on our social media channels).

With a current change in audience taste, demand is being created for the more human realism of hands-on practical effects versus digital effects. Part of this trend is a growing appreciation for the edgy hand-crafted artistry of our distinctive style of stop motion animation. We established that style with our first film Skeleton Girl, Canada’s first stereoscopic 3D stop motion animated film. It had its world premiere in New York, was chosen as one of the top short films in Canada, and toured the globe to overwhelmingly positive comments.

We continued experimenting with our fabrication and stop motion capabilities, creating a musical animation called The River, set to the ironic and iconic Canadian trio, The Arrogant Worms’ River of Snot. The River also toured, and in fact was invited to be part of Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn horror festival, where, very shortly, it is going to be screening a second time. For all of you appalled by the volume of nasal secretions from a crazy bad cold – Edinburgh has officially declared it a horror story!*

The Seance Project Title Card

We’re continuing to  help others create their own cool with our services, products, equipment and props, but we’re re-focused on pitching, building and creating our own arsenal of original properties as well. From a live-action ghost series to stop motion animations, and possibly a feature or two thrown in. We’ve also started dipping our toes into the world of VR, an exciting area for continuing to create cool – a goal foremost in our mind no matter what project we’re working on.

We know it will be an exciting and productive 2018 and want to wish all of you a terrific year as well. We look forward to giving you a peek behind the scenes (or as Nancy says “behind the screams”!) as we continue to create cool this year.  Follow or chat with us via the social media channels below and let us know what you’d like to read about in our blog, we’d love to hear from you!

Wynonna Earp Season 3

We did some amazing things on seasons one and two of Wynonna Earp and are very appreciative of the support and well wishes we received from all the Earpers out there. Though we are not part of the crew for Season 3 (you will see our blood and perhaps a limb or two), we wish the cast and crew a super successful shoot.  Although you won’t get the great behind the scenes blogs we did for the first two seasons, we can’t wait to take you “behind the screams” on the new cool and creative projects we’re working on in 2018.

*note that you can watch both Skeleton Girl AND The River (as well as a behind the scenes making-of video) by going to our YouTube channel below. Check them out and let us know what you think! 

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Continue reading “Creating some (major) cool in 2018”

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Body Hits and Blown Off Doors

Last week’s Episode 11 of Wynonna Earp “Gone as a Girl Can Get” took us down a Purgatory rabbit hole where Wynonna didn’t exist. In this alternate reality Waverly is still in the closet but Nicole hopes that she’ll escape before she walks up the aisle with Perry. Bobo is released from the asylum by “his angel” Waverly and all hell is breaking loose at the Earp homestead – now a Revenant clubhouse – with a dark side Doc running the show.  It’s Crazy Town. Earp homestead has been taken over

In this behind the scenes blog we’re going to talk about bullet hits – a practical effect that can be routine or spectacular. Easily the most emotional moment for us this episode was when Doc’s deadly aim hits Dolls and Doc’s look of astonishment and horror when he realizes Dolls isn’t wearing his body armour. Dolls retaliates and Doc receives a fatal shot in return. We’re hoping the alternate reality has temporary consequences.

Dolls gets hit by Doc in an alternate reality

When Dolls is hit, the impact, blood spiral, and body action were epic.  It’s a perfectly choreographed moment.  Here’s what SPFX Supervisor Leo Wieser had to say:

“All things conspired to make the body hit on Dolls visually fantastic. What we had were two “squib” effects placed on actor Shamier Anderson, one for entry and one for exit.  From studying forensics,  we know that a bullet may not just pass through a body in one straight line but may deviate course, bounce off bones, and delay and change the line of the exit.  With this in mind we staggered the timing on the two hits so that as the performer takes the hit, he then pirouettes around and a second hole opens up for the exit wound.

WynonnaEarp_gallery_211Recap_10We knew that this would be slow motion so timing was very tricky so that it didn’t read as a double shot.  We also knew that the consistency of the blood had to have a number of thixotropic qualities (see non Newtonian fluids). What usually happens with stage bloods that are thinned for such use is that the visual becomes what is lovingly referred to in the military as a “Pink Mister”.  Although realistic, this does not read as dramatically on film.  Here we made a special mix of our Bleeding Art Industries bloods with acrylic thickeners to achieve polymerization and to get a stringy ribbon effect.  We used the same mixture in Doc’s back hit, but the spread of multiple devices made more of an explosion of blood and flesh than a water spray.  As the name suggests, a “squib” hit utilizes a pyrotechnic driver to open and push the blood load out and into the air.  This effect is only for advanced and certified pyrotechnicians and should not be attempted without a high degree of experience.

The front doors blowing off the asylum when Bobo makes his dramatic exit, is an effect we worked hard to achieve. The effects was achieved with weighted pulls.  The doors were built to be light weight from wood materials and strung with high strength ropes.  To get the correct angle of trajectory, pully systems were set up to redirect the control point from where the door was calculated to fly.  Here the doors weighed about 30 lbs a piece and we did have to be very careful as to where they ended up as we didn’t want to injure any crew.  Testing of the rig was first done with sandbags, weighted to the same weight as the doors.  This would give us a good idea of strength of operator pull and final resting place of the doors.  When comfortable with the sand bags we went on to testing with the doors.  I have left the section of video intact showing a not so near miss between our operator Keifer and one of the doors.  We pride ourselves on safety and I wanted to show how incredibly important testing is to demonstrate repeatability and practicality of the effects we develop.  Even on the day, we were confident on the landing points of the doors, but we needed to take time to reassure the crews that we could do what we said we were going to do.  We had exact landings every time.

The behind the scenes demo testing can be seen here.

So what happens next? Showrunner Emily Andras talks to Entertainment Weekly about Episode 12, the finale for Season 2:

“It’s going to shake out in a blistering finale. Look, we have a lot of hanging threads that we are very excited to close off. You’re going to get answers on a lot of things you’ve been waiting to find out all season. We’re going to get… let me put it this way: We will get some closure on maybe what Waverly is.”

 “It is really emotionally taxing. I cried twice in the episode — which is pretty unusual for me because I’m very cold-hearted and I already know what’s going to happen. I hope it makes you feel things. At the same time, we now have the privilege of kicking off the new story for season 3. It’s definitely one of my favorite episodes of the year. It’s crazy y’all.  Brace yourselves.”

The final episode of Season 2 of Wynonna Earp airs on Friday, August 25th on Space and Syfy  10 pm ET, 8 pm MT. It is also available on iTunes. At Bleeding Art Industries, WE CREATE COOL. Check out our work @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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Crank up the Creepy Factor

In Wynonna Earp Episode 9 “Forever Mine Nevermind”, Wynonna’s nesting instinct is more combative than cozy – whether she is hitting Home Sense for colour coordinated cushions or not.  This episode was action packed and we were kept busy with several major SPFX projects needing completion in record time.

Starting with the knife in the eye of the shopkeeper…..After some seriousAntique prop knife apprehension about making a knife-in-the-eye prosthetic, it worked out well with the golden dragon hilt gleaming amongst the bloody mess of the shopkeeper’s ruined eye. The knife was made hollow and light and attached to a plastic eye cup to protect the eye, then a gelatin appliance was applied over that cup and made up to be a bloody mess.

Fake burned corpseFor the burned cadaver we initially thought we could use a burned body that we had in stock (yes our stock room is full of interesting and unusual objects). When that proved unworkable we quickly changed direction and made a new one in two days using a zentai suit, expanding foam, part of a skeleton, latex and some hands and feet we had available. The result was a disgusting looking burnt corpse that revolted everyone who saw it. Success!

The creepy dolls both small and human sized were an Creepy doll #2interesting challenge. There was a lot of discussion about whether dolls were scary or not and if they were, what made them so. The vote was split down the middle, so our job was to guarantee a high creep factor on these dollies. Big doll had a custom face mask and fitted silicone gloves with wig and costume completing it. Small doll was made to match using a vintage doll as the body and building a new head. Both costumes were made by the costume department.  Plaster shattering extra pieces were made to break on the floor and (should it be required) broken on screen as a VFX element.  In the end the broken elements were not used except as dressing for the aftermath.

Jeremy’s witch vapour guard was a silicone piece cast from a mold of his face to ensure a good fit.  This was a simple peel away element that the makeup team of Joanne and Gunther wrangled on the day to great effect.  The charred witch’s head was the burned original from a previous episode, carefully made from non-toxic materials for everyone’s safety during the burn.

The burning painting was real – we fired up several paintings to get the right effect. Watch our You Tube channel for upcoming test videos.  Lots of extra paintings were issued by the art department for us to test.  In the end, a nichrome heating wire was used and wrapped around yellow fireworks star material.  The outside of the frame was saturated with accelerant so that once the burn broke through the rear, the painting itself would seemingly combust.  It was done in one take (although Leo wanted to do more).

The spark hits for the gun shots to the big doll’s body were different as no blood would be present post hit.  The idea was that the bullet would be hitting porcelain and make a small spark on the hit.  But they looked great – it’s always interesting creating a realistic visual for a supernatural concept. Stone witch prop knife

And lastly, the Stone Witch’s stone/blood knife was constructed so that when the hilt was squeezed, blood would come out of the reservoir in the hilt and through the holes drilled into the blade of the knife to simulate a realistic bleed from a cut wrist.  Again the tests looked great and will be posted at a later date.

Will be fun to see what happens in the next episode with the cliffhanger ending of Nicole opening the door to the widow. In Entertainment Weekly Emily Andras says:

I almost can’t even talk about it. Brace yourselves — but put your faith in love.”

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 @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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Everybody Knows – Demon Daddy or Doc?

We’re still in celebration mode about the announcement at San Diego Comic-Con that Wynonna Earp has been renewed for Season 3 – great news for cast, producers, crew and you the viewer!

cast pic
Wynonna Earp company at San Diego Comic Con

We think that a big part of the show’s success is due to its unique combination of sci-fi/supernatural, strong female leads and the originality of the setting that Alberta delivers. It is so cool to see this modern metaphysical western take full advantage of southern Alberta’s natural beauty with the skilled support of our production crews’ knowledge and experience.

There’s no doubt the best special effect in Episode 7 was the look on Doc’s face when he told Wynonna he would do anything Tim Rozonto keep her healthy and make her happy. This episode was all about driving the plot forward on the Who’s Your Daddy question and though that hasn’t been answered for sure, the sweet sincerity of Tim Rozon’s Daddy Doc has us rooting for him.

The practical special effect we worked hardest to achieve in this episode was the WynonnaEarp_gallery_207Recap_03extensive cobwebbing on the ghost posse. The guardians have been asleep for a very long time and are covered with cobwebs.   Maintaining the cobwebs throughout the episode required constant respraying on the costumes through many sets and locations.   Our expertise in safely and quickly spraying a large amount of cobwebs over entire sets (and actors) was put into play.  In the second episode we covered an entire chapel set in cobwebs and our mega web sprayer was just the ticket for this job as well.

In testing a number of techniques for making webs, including the age old spinners, we opted to go to high volume hot glue guns, carefully selected hot melt sticks, with a specialty air nozzle.  With this sprayer in hand, Keifer our onset technician had perfected his spray technique in such a way that there was little possibility of injuring our performers.  (do not try this at home)

This week we were also thrilled to see the Comic Trips video of their Bleeding Art visit posted on YouTube. Hosts/producers and pop culture treasure hunters Kat and Paul visited us in April this year.

Comic Trips pic 1
Kat and Paul were impressed by our exotic Canadian pop culture.

Their excitement was contagious when we invited them to get up close and personal with our famed human autopsy torso that featured prominently in Wynonna’s Episode 8 Season 1. Watch the YouTube video of their entire visit to Calgary and Comic Expo, or if you want to just catch our part look for it at 6:30 – 17:19 in the posting.  We were the first place they visited – so much fun that our shop was their introduction to Canadian pop culture.

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 @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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Demons Exorcised

Decapitated Head
Ronnie head being prepped for shoot.

In Wynonna Earp Season 2 Episode 5 “Let’s Pretend We’re Strangers” the Wardens dispatching of Ronnie was very well done by all involved. In keeping with our environmentally sensitive company policy we re-used and recycled too. Ronnie (Joel Cochrane) had his head cast at Bleeding Art many years ago for a theatre production.  Using the original mold we cast a new head and dressed it to match present day Joel.  What you didn’t see was the gout of blood that poured out of the neck through a custom designed tube and pump system.  Our on-set technician Keifer Dallison worked hard to create it and made sure it functioned effectively when the cameras rolled.  Click here to read Keifer’s first hand detailed account of the on-set realities of the decapitation scene: Wynonna Earp Season 2 Episode 5 SPFX Behind the Scenes on a Demon Decapitation

Wynonna Earp's Ratty
Ratty had a stunt double for his Wynonna and Waverly blender scene.

The bloody ratty blender scene was, for some of us, gorier to watch than the Ronnie decap. The rat was lovingly crafted by Alyssa,sculpted in oil based clay and then cast in silicone. He wasn’t sacrificed in the scene. Ratty lives happily in our shop, on display and occasionally taken out to play.  He’s so life-like in his furry squidginess you can’t resist poking his tummy like Wynonna did.

But the real  piece de resistance in this episode was Demon Lucado’s exploding head. Here’s a close up shot of the Lucado

Wynonna Earp's Lucado explosion
Lucado loses her head under pressure.

dummy post explosion; the clean up on that one was epic! Again we reused a head/neck mold from a previous casting and created the exploded IMG_6052head which was then attached to a dummy with lifelike hands. Alyssa was the hands model, which were made of silicone with matching nailIMG_6049 polish. She also volunteered her pinky as a model for Wynonna’s cut off finger which was not actually seen on screen.

The end of the episode cliffhanger – the positive pregnancy test – was the most surprising plot turn yet – can’t wait to see where this goes!

We will be posting some additional behind the scenes videos that we may not include within the blog every week. Watch for these on our You Tube Channel (link below) as they are posted. You can also subscribe to get all.

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 @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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*This post is an edited version of what was first posted for Episode 5

Cheerleaders, Liver + Lipstick

Now that we have your attention, in Episode 3 it was fun to watch the mix of Canadian culture – like rabid small town hockey team fandom and American traditions like homecoming and cheerleaders. Yes, we have cheerleaders in Canada – but not at hockey games!

Unlike in Episode 2, the practical special effects were kept to a minimum in “Gonna Getcha Good”.  The Marzaniok monster wasn’t our creation. We would’ve loved to have taken a shot at that project but time and budget didn’t allow it. Despite our reputation for pulling mechanical SPFX rabbits out of exploding hats in record time, sometimes it just can’t be done.

Prep for liver extrusion sceneliverMaking a realistic liver and testing ways to pull it out of a human torso was interesting; our experience in that area from the famed live autopsy scene in Season 1 Episode 8 served us well. Below is a test video as we worked on different concepts in the shop.

We did have fun with the edible lipstick, as seen in the demo video below. A mold of the original lipstick was made out of food grade silicone and colour matched chocolate was added in. Edibles are challenging.  Multiples have to be made, cleaned up and replaced after every take. They have to colour match perfectly and they have to taste at the very least decent. Last thing any actor wants is 8 takes of a scene where they have to eat something that tastes gross.  The smile on Waverly’s face was a real one as the lipstick itself was made from white chocolate dyed with food colouring to achieve the dusty rose shade.


The ladies in black appeared again in Episode 3. They escaped their prison crate by setting off Doc’s dynamite in Episode 1 (Below is a fun test video for the explosion), and started their haunting again in Episode 2.  Show Runner and Executive Producer Emily Andras talks about the reappearance of the ladies in black in an interview here with Entertainment Weekly.


We also worked on the blood soaked eyeless corpse. This effect incorporated our popular Bleeding Art Blood – a line of products that we use on set that are also available for sale from our online store. bloody hands

Can’t wait for Episode 4 – Calgary fans watch for special appearance by Kane’s Harley Diner in Inglewood and how “talk to the hand” takes on new meaning.

Get Wet

SIDE NOTE EPISODE 2:  KY OR GET WET?  We checked out this great video – goo girls scene prep – and realized that some of you might be confused as to what that goo was: make no mistake it was our own slime! Costume and makeup also used our slime and our Get Wet products to achieve the final effect on that episode.  KY jelly and sugar are good guesses but not the secret to our formula.

Season 2 of Wynonna Earp airs on Space and Syfy on Friday nights 10 pm ET, 7 pm PT. It is also available on iTunes.

At Bleeding Art Industries, WE CREATE COOL. Check out our work @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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Wynonna Earp Season 2, Episode 1: Hala Monster Kicks Off Second Season

Thousands of Wynonna Earp fans were rewarded for their patience on Friday night when Episode 1 of Season 2 (“Steel Bars and Stone Walls”) aired on Space and Syfy. It started right where Season 1 left off – with a bang: the echo of the gunshot fired by Waverly.

Instead of shooting at her beloved sister Wynonna, Waverly shot and killed the female Hala monster, a Bulgarian devourer of souls, one of the scarier creatures we have ever made. Below are a couple of pictures of the head in progress in our shop.

One of the challenges in creating this creature was figuring out a way for the actor, stuntman and MMA fighter Chris Lafantaisie, to see and breathe through an eye-less and nose-less headpiece. Alyssa, our talented head fabricator, made it happen by installing a coloured mesh behind the fleshy front. The VFX team contributed to the look after filming wrapped, and Season 2’s first demonic creature was made.

Hala head and body 121616Stuntman Chris Lafantaisie was impressive when his 6’5” frame was encased in the costume and head piece. His energy level and commitment to the Hala character included breaking through a glass case made of tempered glass that had been rigged with pyrotechnics. Often in film sheets of breakaway glass are used but this was not an option in this situation because of the size of the pane of glass.

Although it was brief, we loved the look of the tentacle egg that Waverly walked up to in the lab. As part of the construction of the glow in the dark egg, a pneumatic piston and airline were inserted to animate the creature in the egg. It was a great effect in the actual episode with the piston pushing the tentacles up and the airline making them move.

Wynonna Earp Season 2 tentacle egg
We had fun playing with our mini crew dude and the egg before it left the shop.

And lastly, the episode wrapped up with what everyone loves – and that’s a big bang of pyro. Doc’s dynamite is tickled by an unknown hand and – kaboom!

Episode 1 was jam-packed with action, launching the new season with explosions and monsters.  Follow our weekly blog for behind the scenes Practical SPFX and Prosthetics from each episode. Our next blog will be posted the week after Episode 2 “Shed Your Skin” airs on June 16.

Season 2 of Wynonna Earp airs on Space and Syfy on Friday nights 10 pm ET, 7 pm PT. It is also available on iTunes.

 

 

 

At Bleeding Art Industries, WE CREATE COOL. Check out our work @ www.bleedingartindustries.com, our Twisted Tales universe @ www.twistedstories.com, and our products @ www.shopbleedingart.com.

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