Tag Archives: special effects

Blood Cannon Video

For our production of Teresa Rae King last spring at Triad Stage, we ended the show with a murder-suicide. The director asked if we could have a blood cannon to create two gunshot exit wound splatters on the transparent walls. Of course I said yes, and then immediately went away to learn what a blood cannon was and how to build one.

Now that it is complete, I put together this video showing how it worked.

Blood Cannon

A Relaxing Weekend of Props

Props from Hamilton and More Featured in New Exhibit Celebrating Design Elements Rarely Seen Up Close – I posted about this earlier in the week, and now it is getting more coverage. This March at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, props from Broadway, the Santa Fe Opera, as well as from films by Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson, will be on display. Oh yeah, and some of my props, too.

Watch the Met Opera Stage a Sea of Blood – Find out how J&M Special Effects managed to flood the whole deck of the Metropolitan Opera with fake blood. This article has some striking photographs and video of the effect, and it delves into the kinds of logistics it takes for dealing with such a large amount of fluid.

How to 3D Print on Fabric – This video has been circulating the internet for the last week or so, but it is still too cool not to share. Uncle Jesse shares his techniques for 3D printing directly onto fabric to make effects like dragon scales and the like.

You Gotta Have Heart – Emma Pickles shares how she sculpted, molded and cast a squishy human heart. And she does it (gasp!) without any Smooth-On products! It’s actually a good look at using cheaper, more traditional methods and materials for creating a convincing prop.

Video: Blood Bags

My next book, The Prop Effects Guidebook, is due out this coming February. Where The Prop Building Guidebook taught you how to construct the physical props, this new book will teach you how to do all the magic effects that a prop person is called on to provide.

I filmed a series of companion videos to the book which demonstrate the techniques and effects presented within its pages. I will be posting these videos to my blog over the next three months as we approach the book’s release date.

The first video is on blood bags, one of the essential tools for any play with a blood effect. I demonstrate how to make one using an impulse sealer.

Blood Bags

You can pre-order The Prop Effects Guidebook now at most major retailers. It will not be released in time for Christmas, but if you need a gift, The Prop Building Guidebook is sure to please the props person in your life.

End of the Week Link-o-Rama

StarWars.com has a great interview with Bill Hargreaves, one of the prop makers on the original Star Wars trilogy. He talks about how he got the job, how he built many of the props, and what it was like working on the set. His most famous creation was the bounty hunter droid, IG-88, and he has gone on to build props for the Indiana Jones films and many others.

Speaking of interviews with cool people, the Greensboro News & Record talked with me about my work on Deathtrap, which begins performances this Sunday at Triad Stage. “Eric Hart won’t be on stage when “Deathtrap” opens Sunday, but his talents will be seen in every thrill delivered and every goosebump raised.” Aw, shucks.

CineFX has a cool (though very gross) look at the creatures and special effects in The Strain, a TV series based on the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Don’t read this right after you’ve eaten.

So, this is something I really want to try someday: hydro-dipping. I first started coming across videos of it a few months ago. Now, Make Magazine has collected 12 tutorials on how to hydro-dip. I can try to explain it, but once you see the videos, you’ll know what it’s all about.


I was a big fan of He-Man growing up, so I really enjoyed seeing this Instructable on making a He-Man Power Sword. Blast Replicas uses an interesting technique of creating a “skeleton” with thin plastic guides, and then adding body filler between the guides to fashion all the curved and beveled faces. The paint treatment on the final piece is also pretty sweet.

Millennium FX created a giant polar bear operated by two puppeteers as part of a PR stunt for Fortitude on Sky Atlantic. Be sure to check out the video which has some “making of” footage that’s sure to be helpful to anyone who needs to build an articulated animal form.

Tested visits Monsterpalooza 2015, a convention for creature makers, practical effects shops, and special effects makeup. I’m amazed at all the high quality work being done out there in the world.

For those of you building things out of craft foam, WM Armory has compiled his ten best tutorials on crafting foam. I’ve linked to some of these individually before, but here they are together in case you’ve missed some.

Finally, here’s a beautiful video showing a couch being made. It’s a real couch, not a prop couch, so they have some pretty sophisticated machines for some of their processes (they roll their own springs!), but it is still very satisfying to watch the final piece grow out of a pile of raw materials.