Tag Archives: effects

Links for the End of June

Gothamist has behind-the-scenes photos from Shakespeare in the Park, as well as how they make blood for Shakespeare in the Park. Both links feature the Public Theater’s costume master Luke McDonough, as well as my old boss, props master Jay Duckworth.

Harrison Krix is back with another great project, a life-sized shark gun from League of Legends. I don’t do the video games, so I don’t really know what that is, but it looks cool and lights up and opens its mouth.

Ars Technica has a fascinating article on how Disney built and programmed an animatronic President.  D23 has a similar article; though theirs has far less of the technical information, they have many more pictures of the other animatronics used at Disney parks.

Finally, here is an interesting piece called “Practical Effects Can’t Make a Comeback Because They Never Went Away“. While the article itself raises some good points, it also contains a fair amount of videos giving behind-the-scenes looks at the practical effects in various films from throughout the years.

HBO Intro Sequence, 1983

HBO Intro Sequence, 1983

If you have ten minutes, you should check out this video showing the creation of HBO’s intro sequence from the early 1980s. The video is from 1983 as well, and has a great vintage feel. It is fascinating to see the creation of one of the largest scale model cityscapes at the time. Props people are sure to recognize many of the techniques used by these model makers (though the three-month time frame they had to build it seems luxurious for most of us). The creation of the rest of the effects are interesting as well. While this occurred in the heyday of motion-controlled cameras, those were the only systems using computers. Everything else was created by hand, and every effect was achieved with an analog solution.

All Props Day

All Props Day

So it’s the day after Halloween, but most of my links today are for Halloween-related props, because that’s what everyone has been writing about for the last couple of weeks. Luckily, us props people can use some good fake blood advice any day of the year.

First up is fellow SPAM member Deb Morgan, props master at the Lyric Opera in Kansas City, showing us how to make some fake edible blood and a blood bag. It’s a basic recipe that most of us know, but it’s great to watch how the different ingredients affect the final product.

Next is another SPAM member Seán McArdle giving his local Fox News channel a show-and-tell of fantastic props he has built. Besides his own take on the blood bag, he’s got a really cool non-pyrotechnic gunshot effect for a musket.

Ed Edmunds makes monsters and effects for haunted houses, and created the animatronic electric chair prop that essentially transformed these rides from cheesy diversions to high-tech affairs. Check out his interview in Esquire Magazine to learn more.

Finally, check out this super-cool video where artist DiResta makes a quick vacuum-formed mask, going from clay sculpt, to plaster mold, to vacuum-forming, to paint:

End-of-the-week Links

Well, I am off this weekend to Bucknell University, where I will be signing copies of my book during Homecoming Weekend. If you are in Central Pennsylvania, feel free to stop on by. I’ll try to post pictures and updates on my Twitter. I also have some stories I’ve found around the Internet this week:

Props master extraordinaire Jim Guy is profiled in yet another news article. He talks about how he got started, his favorite parts of the job, and how new people can begin a career in props.

LiveScience takes a look at the technology behind horror-movie monsters. Though it seems a lot of films just use CGI for everything, many effects are still practical. In fact, advances in technology have made it easier to use all sorts of prosthetic, animatronic and makeup effects for movies.

While we’re on monsters (it is nearly Halloween, after all), I enjoyed this article on a Philippine monster-making company. Their creatures are actually based on the characters from Philippine folklore, but done in a more-Western style.

The Credits talks with the makeup maestro for the new Carrie film. They discuss in detail how they did the infamous “pouring of blood” scene; it’s a little trickier than you might expect, but it led to a much more consistent result on-screen.

Finally, Non-Toxic Kids lays out ten reasons we need stronger laws about toxic chemicals. Though aimed at parents, the reasons are just as relevant to props people. While we may feel adequately informed about the dangers of industrial chemicals and supplies, we also use plenty of household cleaners and chemicals that you may not realize are also toxic.