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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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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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

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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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.

img_5328
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.

2016-06-03-16-25-02
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.

If you’re not already following our blog, you can by clicking on the upper right column to start following it.

DON’T MISS THE SEASON 10  FINAL EPISODE OF HEARTLAND -IT AIRS SUNDAY JANUARY 15 ON CBC

 

HALLOWEEN – OUR FAVOURITE DAY!

skeleton

We love Halloween; given the gore and horror focus of some of what we do, it does bring people to our door who might never visit otherwise.   We’ve been working hard with local businesses and performing arts companies to boost the Halloween scare factor. The proliferation of pop-up Halloween stores (you know, the ones that show up a month before and close up and leave right after), impacts local businesses like ours that are around all year. So we hope that initiatives like donating 10% of our blood sale revenue to the Canadian Red Cross will encourage our Calgary customers to think of us first while helping a very worthwhile cause (also one of the reasons we were honoured with a Calgary Award last month).

This month has been about partnering with a few different businesses on various Halloween (and/or themes of a darker nature) community-based projects. If you’re looking for cool and scary experiences to have or where to buy your stock of goodies, check them out.

SONY DSC
Our rubber glass and bloods create a very realistic effect.

Early one Monday morning we started the week off with just the right amount of bloody fun in a mini-workshop with the staff of Chuckles, one of our Calgary distributors. Their enthusiasm for learning all about the cool stuff you can do with our bloods, blood jam, slime, bruise powder and rubber glass was contagious. The Costume Shoppe (another Calgary store that carries our products) and Chuckles are all stocked up with our most popular items, and with their extended Halloween hours it will be super easy to go gore shopping. In Edmonton look for us at Theatre Garage and in Vancouver at Just Imagine.

Coming up later in the month, Alberta Ballet’s Dracula will be offering some chilling vampire goodies at their lobby gift table…including our popular blood jam.  The ballet is “an extravagant evening that will transfix you from the first kiss to the last bite”, “…more operatic theatre than horror movie kitsch. Lavish costumes lurk in every corner and vampires take flight with mesmerizing choreography and extraordinary special effects”.  And we were very pleased to help fulfill this production’s pyrotechnical and fog needs, knowing that audiences will be wowed with the result.

Last Thursday, Telus SPARK’s Adults Only evening was a bloody good time!  Local makeup artist  Jade Brunes and her team did free gory makeup demos on everyone – using our most popular products.  Watch for Jade and her team at other events around Calgary during the month of October; we’re thrilled that she’s such a great ambassador for our products. jade-spark

Screamfest started October 14 – and where would they be without buckets of blood from Bleeding Art?  Yes it’s true, gallons of blood are used and we’re very happy to ensure that the blood flows freely till the last and scariest night on October 31.  Not for the faint of heart and not recommended for young children, Screamfest is guaranteed to scare the pants off you….too much fun!

We’re often approached to create exterior props for neighbourhood Halloween haunted houses and usually decline as few people have the budget necessary for the professional level work that we do. But this year we said yes to a client whose home is spooktacular! Days were invested in this project and we can’t wait to see it in all its ghostly glory on Halloween night. You can find this Monster Mansion on Signal Hill Drive October 31st or watch our Facebook page for night-of pics!

And the final question – is your costume ready yet for Halloween weekend?  bai-blood-melanie-rivest-knox-fanexpocanada-2015You can be sure that upping the fright factor of your outfit by taking your monstrous makeup to the next level will make you the hit of the party – or at least scare the heck out of all the kids in the neighbourhood. Have a look at our Youtube how-to videos or visit any of our distributors for quick tips and how-to’s… Halloween, it’s a boo-tiful thing.

And remember, whether it’s us or one of our distributors, or another local business – supporting local is good for everyone. It re-builds the Calgary economy at the most basic level which right now is a top priority for us all. Finding the cheapest possible costume or product doesn’t benefit anyone down the road. Support the businesses and companies that are here all year round, they need you now more than ever.