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February 20 2014

February 11 2014

Watch a Foreshadowing of Season 4

'Game of Thrones: Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing' answered fans' burning questions: Who is Oberyn Martell? Which actor had a weird moment with a sausage? Does King Joffrey have redeeming qualities? (Spoiler alert: No.) Watch the video below for a preview of Season 4.

February 04 2014

Meet Deborah Riley

GOT welcomes a new production designer for Season 4. 

January 21 2014

Season 4: On the Set

4 countries, 180 days of shooting, 600 script pages: get a glimpse behind the scenes of Season 4.

December 04 2013

Overheard on Set: Into the Woods

By Cat Taylor

Photo by Helen Sloan

Ah, Craster’s Keep. Deep in the woods of a private estate north of Belfast, in at least six feet of mud (OK, inches), is the resilient set of the last wildling outpost before the Wall. It’s a strange set – with semi-permanent snow dressing, you do feel as if the temperature has dropped once you walk into the white-washed trees, even in the rare sun of late summer. 

We’re shooting nights again this year and sometimes that leads to unusual early-hour conversations.

"Just be aware there are two bodies in the car, yeah?"

"Careful where you step, you’ll rip the snow."

"They could really have their own show, ‘Chickens on Tour.’"

"Anyone seen the sword blood?"

Reposted bybonejanglessiekohaku

November 27 2013

Overheard on Set: The Pre-production Meeting

The pre-production meeting is a chance for all the department heads to get together with the producers and discuss what are likely to be the challenges and requirements for a particular episode. Generally lead by the 1st AD, the script will be broken down scene by scene and each one analysed for potential questions or difficulties. For example has the location be confirmed? Are there enough of a certain type of costume for the numbers in a scene, and will our cast need any training for a particular sequence. On a show like Game of Thrones, that tends to lead to some rather unusual conversations.

“We’re going to be killing the stuntmen 3 times each at least, so we’ll need to look at beards and hair.”

“They do say an owl is twice as hard to do as the eagle, and you know what that was like.”

“There is no silent wind, only noise wind.”

“We can’t tube the silent wind across?”


November 14 2013

GOT Wedding Planners . . . for Your Unforgivably Memorable Event

By Cat Taylor

Photo by Helen Sloan

By now many of you will have seen the interview with George R.R. Martin that confirms this season of ‘Game of Thrones’ will include another wedding (you know, because the last one was a roaring success!). This time, King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell will be joining hands and houses. I was delighted to be able to attend because as we have all now learnt – a Westerosi wedding is not to be missed.

While the ceremony itself was filmed in one of our semi-permanent sets in Belfast, the Sept of Baelor, the reception was filmed in a beautiful outdoor set located in Parc Gradac in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The park was transformed by our new Production Designer, Deb Riley, and her team into everything you might desire from a Royal Wedding carnival, with elaborate decorations, an epic feast and the most creative and unexpected forms of entertainment for the guests. 

Filmed over a five day stretch, we waited with bated breath each day for the clouds to roll in and dampen our fun. Weather reports suggested imminent downpours at the end of the week, and only a few days before, water funnels had formed off the coast in the height of a rain storm. Aside from one short and dramatic burst where Costume scrambled to get all the extras under cover and everyone rushed to protect props, we were spared the worst of the predictions.

In terms of principal cast members in attendance, the Royal Wedding was one of the largest scenes we’ve filmed since the premiere season, with 23 named parts appearing on any given day. In addition, we were delighted to welcome 218 extras as guests to the event, some of them travelling from the other side of Europe and the United States to be a part of the experience. Lookout for some familiar faces in the crowds – Pixie Le Knot is back this year, and one of our crew makes an appearance with the entertainers.


October 29 2013

A Fire Burns Bright in Belfast

By Cat Taylor

On a cloudy day in July, in a car park opposite the Paint Hall in Belfast, a group gathers by one lonely SFX truck. Tourists walking between the Titanic Museum and the Pump-House don’t even glance in our direction and a jogger runs down the road oblivious to our rag-tag bunch.

Then, on command, 15 feet of fire shoots through the air.

The first time, no one really notices the flame. SFX have a tight control on the rig and the fire is only coming in short bursts to give the camera crew and VFX team a chance to calibrate and get closer to the outlets.

Once the bursts come more regularly, a few begin people stop and point across the road and through the fencing. The flames, burning a hot bright orange are hard to miss – and that is what we want, because this is the dragon fire test for Season 4.

As the dragons grow and start to test their power, their fire breathing will get stronger and more powerful. The Dragons are legend for a reason and this season we will get a hint of why. The final tally, 22 canisters and 400 litres of gas – all for just one day in Essos.

October 10 2013

An Eyrie Comes to an End

By Cat Taylor

Photo by Neil Davidson

For the last two weeks, one of the oldest sets in the studio has slowly been pulled down. On a show as large as 'Game of Thrones,' which spans so many worlds and cities, it’s not unusual for our Art Department and construction team to create a set that may only last one season, or is designed specifically to be made over after the shooting of one or a small number of scenes. Some of our sets have been made over so many times, they are now in their fourth incarnation. 

From the very beginning, one of the strongest sets – one of the most instantly recognisable and unique builds, has been the Eyrie. Designed by Gemma Jackson and constructed in one of the large cells in the old Paint Hall building, the Eyrie set was a full set. No trick shots or VFX were necessary to create the walls that stood in the round. They were built that way, in sections similar to pie slices, on a towering timber frame built with a raised platform to accommodate space for the moon door. 

Because of this, the set has to be torn down section by section, effectively reversing the building process for each part. Overseen by our marvellous Tommy “Tucker” Spence, four riggers, four stage hands and two carpenters are all working to bring it down safely. Each and every tile and step is broken down and taken away. The scaffold shell seems larger now that the walls are down; the winding stairs, suspended 4-feet off the ground, now lead nowhere. The circular tiled floor has had its slabs pulled up, and the doors and pillars have been salvaged for other sets in the future. The work only pauses on days when the cells next door are being used for filming. 

What is it making way for? That, my darlings, is a secret…for now. 

Reposted bylittleredridingtreepolaczettoTiffanys

September 25 2013

Get Ready for Season 4

By Cat Taylor

Photo by Helen Sloan

The cameras are now rolling for Season 4 of 'Game of Thrones'! There are some differences to filming this year. We’ll be sticking to two units, Wolf and Dragon (with the occasional splinter cell coming into play). We started in Iceland early this year, rather than in the depth of November’s six-hour shoot days. We're in Croatia and Ireland now, as you might have heard.

We are delighted to welcome new crew to the show, including Deb Riley of 'Moulin Rouge' as Production Designer and Jane Walker of ‘World’s End’ and 'Shaun of the Dead' fame as Make-up Designer. We'll also welcome back some of our favourite directors in Season 4, including Neil Marshall who worked on 'Blackwater' in Season 2.

It may seem forever until the new season will hit the screens, but we will be working every day to get it to you. Keep checking back for updates!

Reposted bybluedressiadorepoirotabsinthicofbitchesandbutterflies

June 07 2013

Saying Goodbye: Behind the Scenes of Episode 309

By Cat Taylor


There are moments on 'Game of Thrones,' when you know something coming up in the filming schedule will be different. The apprehension in the days leading up to the filming of the Red Wedding was a palpable feeling – this scene, this moment was one that would shift the direction of so many of our main storylines, and for some, it was the coming of an abrupt end. Readers of the books have known the Red Wedding was imminent, but followers of the show would only know that something, something was reaching a climax.

Before we get to the filming days in the hall at the Twins, let me tell you a few facts from the episode you might find interesting. The Great Hall at the Twins, where Robb Stark holds audience with Walder Frey, was also the Council Chamber at Riverrun where Edmure claimed his victory at the Stone Mill – much to Robb's disgust in Episode 303. The set was completely reworked so that the light and airy rooms of House Tully became a dark, menacing and oppressive space; the walls were refinished, the Tully fish removed, the balcony added and the windows covered. Then Set Dec went to work to bring in the finished elements in just under two weeks, from start to finish.

May 29 2013

Leeches, Dragons and a Bear: Behind the Scenes of Episodes 307 and 308

By Cat Taylor

One of the things that I’m always amazed by when I watch the show is how easy it is to forget the amount of work that goes into creating each set. The tent in which Robb learns he’s about to be a father was actually built on ‘A’ Stage, one of two new sound stages at the Paint Hall Studio in Belfast. It was designed by Gemma Jackson and then decorated by Set Dec and the Props departments with fabrics and furniture brought in from as far away as India – each piece was specially chosen to reflect the feel and style of House Stark. The scroll Talisa is writing was actually written in the Valyrian language, translated by our wonderful language creator, David J. Peterson.

In the same way that so many departments are involved in a short scene, many locations are often used to tell a single storyline. By now you will have seen the spectacular Ice Wall climb in Episode 306 and so much of Iceland's stunning scenery in the wildlings' approach to it. But by the time we see Orell and Ygritte in the woods, we are back in Toome, Northern Ireland. The scene was filmed back in September, six weeks before we went north of the Wall.

Reposted byihuntyoursoulatrantaofbitchesandbutterfliestekwojLinnieamber

May 08 2013

Faking, Baking and Quaking: Behind the Scenes of Episode 304, 305 and 306

By Cat Taylor

Poor old Jaime, having to fight with only one hand. Don’t worry – those three men taunting him weren’t extras with vicious natures, but rather part of the stunt team.

As for Varys' special delivery, our man in the box required no stunts. The sorcerer was played by a local actor and the crate he arrives in was specially made – as so many of the props are – to a finish of appropriate roughness. One of a few designs, it was eventually chosen for its sturdiness.

On the other end of the scale is the perfect finish and grandeur of the Sept of Baelor. The Sept is actually a little over half a sept; the appearance of a full circle was created using camera angle tricks and VFX. The massive space where the Sept was built in is shared with something unexpected, that you don’t get to see until Episode 306: the huge ice wall that Jon and Ygritte must climb with the wildlings.

The ice wall was built by our amazing construction team and it took six weeks of testing and sampling to find a construction method and materials that worked. This was then tested by stunts for safety, and once filming of the climb began, we had crews working through the night to repair the damage done during the day's shooting.

In Westeros, the Wall and King's Landing are thousands of miles away from each other, but things are a little different in the real world. In Belfast, you’ll find the Wall sandwiched between the Throne Room and parts of the Red Keep, and more specifically Tywin’s new chamber, where Cersei confronts her father.

Reposted bywilcza wilcza

April 17 2013

Behind the Scenes of the First Three Episodes

By Cat Taylor

It’s here, it’s finally here! We are a few episodes into the third season of Game of Thrones, the season that David Benioff and Dan Weiss were determined to get to from the beginning. For those amongst you that have read the books, you know that Season 3 features some of the most game-changing, event-filled storylines to date. For those who haven’t…brace yourselves.

In Belfast, preparations have already begun on the next season, but before I get to that, let’s look back at some of the behind the scenes action for the three episodes that have aired so far. After every few episodes, I’ll be filling you in on some of what went on behind the camera and, hopefully, a few little extras you may have missed.

If you've been following the blog, the opening scene may have seemed a little familiar. An ending for us was the beginning for you—that opening was shot on the very last day of filming in Iceland.

Other travellers: The first time you see Daenerys, she is on the deck of a ship sailing over open water. In reality, the ship was built in Banbridge for a very different purpose. Because Production Designer Gemma Jackson and her team have super powers, you probably didn’t notice that ship spent a good deal of the Battle of Blackwater on fire. It was the only scene that Emilia Clarke shot in Belfast this season; everything else was on location in Croatia and Morocco. It took one day.

In the second episode, "Dark Wings, Dark Words," Bran has a dream in the woods. It was a two-splinter-units-in-one-location day, which always makes things crazy. That's a real raven Bran is chasing, brought in especially for the scene by our team at Birds and Animals. (From not quite as far as our white raven in Season 2— that bird had to be brought in all the way from Austria!) The main unit was just down the road in Gosford Castle, where we were filming a scene in Littlefinger’s brothel—one from this Sunday's episode. Daniel Portman (Pod) was having a very busy day indeed with several new friends, including the very bendy Pixie Le Knot. Two ends of the kingdom on a single driveway. What luck.

Season 3 introduces us to several new and important characters and I don’t mind admitting that one of my favourites is Lady Olenna, played by the incomparable Diana Rigg. There was palpable excitement in the office on the day she was confirmed, and more than a few extra people came to set on her first filming day. We also get to meet the Brotherhood Without Banners; we’ll see more of them as the series progresses. What I can tell you is this: The day we filmed that meeting between Arya, Gendry, Hot Pie and the BWB was not nearly so pastoral and spring-like as it appeared. It was just bloody wet.

Did you spot someone in a cameo? The soldier singing lead in "The Bear and Maiden Fair" is local boy Gary Lightbody, of Snow Patrol fame. He taught the song to the extras before they rode down the track, a song that we’ll certainly hear again. If you were wondering, Jamie and Brienne really were riding back to back on a single horse—the dismounting was something of a process.

Speaking of horses, did I mention the ring the White Walkers laid out got covered by a snowstorm the night before filming? The Art Department had to take an industrial blow torch (also known as a flame thrower) to the horse models to defrost the "flesh." The blood then had to be re-splattered onto the snow so that it was visible. That’s a fun day at work, but all our days are. If you're a regular reader, you’ll know what was happening the day Melisandre and Stannis said goodbye on the beach– and not a tractor track to be seen!

The Greens Department—the crew that insures the scenery is as it should be, adding trees and vines, or flowers and hedges— is also responsible for things like the beach. But the most amazing transformation I saw firsthand was the Master Torturer's chase of Theon through the woods. The chase was actually filmed over several locations, on the open grounds of Tollymore Park and in the woods of Shane’s Castle. When we first scouted the woods, the ground was thick with foliage that stood taller than our heads. There was no clear space for our tracking vehicle and the ground was unsafe. In days, the team had cleared it to a flat forest glade and placed our stunt branch. The difference was amazing. Almost as amazing as one of our stunt riders yelling, "WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" at the top of his lungs as they thundered over the steep open fields at the start of the chase… I’m not sure, but I don’t think he was at all scared of speed.

Reposted byrugiaczinokofbitchesandbutterflies

March 07 2013

Down to the Smallest Detail

 Small details can pose big challenges. Go behind the scenes with Propmaster Gordon Fitzgerald.

February 19 2013

Season 3 Wraps on a Frozen Mountain

By Cat Taylor

Photo Credit: Helen SloanAfter months of working long hours, in multiple countries and on different units, sometimes things blur together. The start of shooting feels like years ago, the end of last season even further back, but it’s all come rushing back because here we are, on the very last day of shooting, and the scene we are filming is from the very beginning of the first episode, directed by Dan Minahan. We have come completely full circle in 6 months.

We are filming by special permission at the power station in Krafla, high on the top of a mountain with steam plumes from a geothermal spa nearby twisting into the sky. Every so often a waft of the sulphurous waters blows by. It’s not really a welcome visit.

We have lost 7 minutes of light per day since arriving in Iceland. Winter is coming – and seems to be on a tight schedule – so every moment counts. It’s always hard to keep to time when you are also shooting a big stunt, something that has to be done right the first time, as there is no time to reset the scene (or in this case, the stunt). When that stunt also involves VFX, it’s even more important to get it right. Added to that, on the other side of base camp a small splinter unit with a single camera is filming some insert shots, so cast members are running between the two areas to make the best use of the day.

Finally, it’s time to film the big scene. Anything involving fire is always going to be one of the most dangerous things to shoot, and when it’s fire and a person everyone is on high alert. The stunt and safety teams are close at hand, and all non-essential crew are moved back to base. When the flame drops, there is only a short window of maybe 20 seconds to get the shot, and once the stunt man is lit, that’s all the time you have, whether you get it or not. Let me just say this: We got it.

It’s then a race against time as the sun begins to set over the mountains, and the very last shot of the season is a tough one. Our extras are knee deep in the heavy snow and must trudge through it repeatedly, with the light dwindling overhead. It’s an epically beautiful, haunting shot, and for me, it will be how I remember Iceland this year. Well, that and the Hakka-like chant of the Night's Watch extras when the final cut was called.

February 05 2013

Mance Rayder’s Camp

By Cat Taylor

Photo Credit: Helen SloanSome of you may have read a previous post where I talked about our first meeting with Mance Rayder and how hot his tent became with all the SFX fires and torches burning throughout the day.

Even if we are filming on a Lava field here in Iceland, it’s not hot anymore – the car display indicates the temperature is minus 11 degrees. It’s day five, and all of Mance’s camp, not just the inside of his tent, is laid out before us. The camp is the product of months of work from the art department and weeks of construction by the local crew. It is spectacular.

Walking from base, the edge of the camp is only a few feet away, but the site is like a fantasy. If you can ignore the cameras and crew, you might believe you were actually inside a wilding village. Our extras (the men all with fabulous beards of course) work in between the huts or huddle around fires, and even children run through the snow to greet a visitor from the Wall, in their own special way.

It’s also a day when our friend Ian Whyte, who plays the White Walker, is back in a different role, one we haven’t seen before. He’s got some awfully big shoes to fill for this particular scene.

A few behind-the-scenes moments from today: How about our fantastic SFX boys setting up a grill behind one of the huts at the edge of camp and handing out hotdogs to anyone who wanted them? Or the fact that in the magnificent wide shot up and over the camp there were certain crew who couldn’t clear the shot fast enough after setting a prop, weapon or flame and had to curl up inside the tents, waiting for the cut?

January 31 2013

Intensity of Iceland

"It's what you think it is, times ten." Go behind the scenes of the most intense location of all.

March 15 2012

Making Game of Thrones: Weapons

 Tommy Dunne delves into the increasing complexity of the on-screen weaponry in the second season.

February 21 2012

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