Tag Archives: special fx
The original version of this post was written for the Film and Television Institute in Perth, Western Australia a few years ago. It has since been updated and added to several times. In its current form it summarises the best and most accurate recipes and useful information currently available to Makeup Artists, to allow you to make your own Theatrical Bloods for Film, Tv or Stage.
THE HOLY GRAIL OF MAKEUP FX
As a Makeup Artist, I am often asked about the best way to make a CHEAP, REALISTIC artificial BLOOD, that won’t stain, and can be made in bulk for film and theatre.
The answer isn’t always what they want to hear, sadly, there is no such beast! As always, the classic designers triangle applies here: Good, Fast and Cheap. Pick two…..
Quite honestly, if you are only using a small amount then you are better off buying a good brand of theatrical blood as it will work out the same price to make your own and wont always be as good, and less fuss!
However, if you need a large quantity or are unable to source a good quality product in your geographic area, there are plenty of recipes around and one of those listed here is bound to suit your purposes.
In my personal Makeup FX kit I routinely carry between 12 and 16 different types of bloods at any one time. Yes, thats right- at least a dozen! The reason for is that there are many variables on a shoot, and rarely is one product suitable for every occasion. You need to mix and match. I carry runny bloods that dont dry, runny bloods that do dry, runny bloods that are mouth-safe or edible, bloods that stay where you put them, bloods in different colours in the above categories, opaque bloods, translucent bloods, blood pastes, blood that can be reactivated by a spritz of water, blood that will stay on underwater, blood that sets scabby, blood that looks fresh, blood for eyes, blood powder, blood capsules…. you get the idea?
Understanding Silicones: The uses of silicon in FX; Tin vs Platinum; Behaviours and Applications.
First point, for anyone who isnt sure, Silicone, the synthetic polymer, is correctly spelt with an ‘e’ on the end, to distinguish it from the metalloid element, Silicon. Technically, it is a misnomer anyway, that dates from their discovery in 1942, it was thought the structure of the compounds was similar to ketones, when they are in fact Siloxanes. However the name Silicone has become accepted and persists to this day.
Right, that’s out of the way, now to business…..
What is Silicone?
Here is the Wikipedia definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicone
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica explanation: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/544410/silicone
and for the real chemistry nuts, Dow Cornings spiel: http://www.dowcorning.com/content/discover/discoverchem/properties.aspx
Does any of that help? Well, maybe, but it wont necessarily help you make that mould/art piece/prosthetic or the like….
Basically, silicone, for our purposes, is a synthetic polymer, which sets, or vulcanizes, at room temperature, into a rubbery material. This is known as RTV Silcone. It comes in hard and soft formulations, is inert once cured, heat resistant, flexible (even in hard kinds) and very very useful! RTV silicone rubber is used in the movie, entertainment and special effects industry, and in theme parks. Soft “skin” silicone rubbers, used by make-up and Fx artists, were developed specifically for sfx makeup artists, and certain kinds are also used in the medical prosthetics industry. It is also used, in an uncured form, as a lubricant, which will be apparent to anyone who has ever spilt uncured silicone on their floor…. it is an immediate shortcut to the kind of slide action Tom Cruise was famous for in ‘Risky Business’…..
So how do you know what kind of silicone to use? That depends on what you are using it for…. First I will go through some basic information that everyone should know before they start. Continue reading
If you want to start collecting some good reference materials, this list gives you some idea of where to start looking- it covers a small selection of the books and DVDs in my Makeup & FX Library.
I currently have over 300 books in my collection, not including filmmaking books. I have books on ‘straight’ makeup as well plus other pictorial period and general references, hairstyling books, medical and forensic books, magazines, etc etc. They are in no particular order but I would start with the first two as they both contain information on the latest industry standard materials and techniques.