How to Make a Fake Head

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A fake head to be used as a movie prop can be made out of gelatin, latex foam or silicone, each of which requires a different casting process. Take a mold of an actor's face to create a fake head with help from a movie producer in this free video on filmmaking.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking & Movie Special Effects
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Video Transcript

Hey, I'm Shaun O'Rourke with Eleven Bravo Productions and I'm here at EUE Screen Gems Studios; the largest studio complex on the east coast. And I'm here with Molly Olesky from Much Trust The Effects and she's going to show us today how to make a fake head. Molly. "Well first with the making the fake head, you have to life cast an actor and you use that using alginates; there's a couple different types of alginate you can go with at different setting speeds. The face I would go for a five or eight minute set and when you book, look it up on websites and find out what type of alginate you want to wear; you could decide there. But life casting can be complicated; that's a whole other subject. Now that's very dangerous; you can suffocate an actor, so definitely have a professional on hand there. After you life cast an actor, you take the negative of his head and you will make a, you can make a clay copy of it and that, and that way you know, you can really use whatever expression you want there. With a, with an alginate you can have him with his mouth open, but that can be complicated with dental waxes; but you can take it, if you're a good sculpture, after you take a life cast and do a clay core of the actor's face, you can sculpt the eyes open; you can change the expression of his face a little bit just 'till it gets to where, you know, whatever the scene calls for. And after you do that you can do a, you can make a mold of that made of a; you can either use a, a silicone or you could go; if you're really cheap; go with Ultra Cow casting which is a stone and from there you can make a gelatin head; you can make a foam latex head or you can make a silicone head. With gelatin, gelatin is it's just like almost like the gelatin that you make Jell-O with and it's very rigid and you can make a whole head of that and that way you could chop it up; you can, you know, head moves like almost like a real face. With foam latex you will do a, you would stipple the latex inside the entire mold and you do about ten thin layers of that and then you can start thickening up a little bit and you'd end up doing about thirty layers of latex inside the head. Then you can take polyfilm which is a two part, a film; much like couch film. It's the same stuff as couch film. And it, you can either get it soft; I think it's a 20/30 couch film or you can get a harder one where you can throw it against the wall and it won't even move. That is also very very dangerous. I have covered my entire hands in polyfilm before and it gets very hot. So in that case you're not wearing gloves and you're not very smart, it's deactivated with water. With polyfilm you can fill it up; it does expand so you have to be very careful how much of a holder to fill it up. You'll only do about 3/3 of the head and then you will just see it expand in about twenty minutes. Fantastic! "Hmm." Well, there you go; we just told you how to make a fake head.


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