The real genius in Scorpion, Season 3
Scorpion’s badass crime fighters can make tech do anything – but they still don’t have a patch on Hollywood’s special effects gurus. Scorpion Seasons 1 to 3 are now on Showmax.
The series is loosely based on real-life genius Walter O’Brien and his Scorpion consulting company. When it comes to tech-babble, sometimes the cast have turned to Walter himself for help pronouncing words or understanding concepts.
Read more about the show and the characters here »
Behind the scenes, Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) and his team don’t have an unlimited budget. They have to fake it to make it with all that fancy tech, fast-moving, globe-trotting action that we see on screen in Scorpion (2014-current, Seasons 1-3 of the series are on Showmax).
You know that jaw-dropping scene in Season 1, episode 1, in which Paige (Katharine McPhee) must stand up in Walter’s sports car to plug a computer cable into a low-flying jet while both are travelling at a zillion miles per hour? Katharine reveals, “Yup! I got to grab a rope from basically the bottom of a plane – the fake bottom of a plane on a green screen that wasn’t moving. The car never moved.” Don’t trust your eyes, fans – you have no idea how deep this rabbit hole goes… Watch now »
Here are some of our favourite special effects used in Scorpion.
The hole story
Speaking of holes, series creator Nick Santora reveals, “By far, my favourite episode was [Season 1] episode 12, with the little boy down in the sinkhole (in a sea cave, with the tide rising). When that little boy was down in that hole, that’s all on the sound stage. That is fabricated, that’s styrofoam, that’s paint, that’s water that’s coming in and out of a hole. That looked real. And that is [thanks to] Carey Meyer, our production designer.”
In fact, whether a scene is set in space, Area 51, a nuclear missile silo in Iceland, or snowy Antarctica, Scorpion has shot on zero locations outside of California, with interiors mostly shot on sound stages. And from a hole in the ground to a rocket in space, Scorpion can fake it all. Watch now »
Zero zero gravity
In Season 3, episode 3, there is a scene in which Walter is going into zero gravity aboard a rocket that was built from his own research.
Elyes reveals how it was done: “Whilst I was inside the spacecraft (a physical prop), when we had the zero gravity aspect of it, I was in a harness. When I was allowed to move a little bit more in relation to the background, I was on a harness, but a harness with cables attached, so that you had different truss points. When I first start rising out of the seatbelt, I sort of rise, and then I jump down, so I kind of encourage my body weight and velocity to jump down. So I was on cables on the harness. But when I was free-falling from the sky, coming from zero gravity into gravity, that’s when I was completely harnessed and they were moving me. So I had no mobility.”
He adds that the effects team later erases the cables in the shot using a rotoscoping process. Watch now »
Water on tap
“We had one sequence where we’re clearing out a turbine that has been causing this flooding and cracking of this dam,” says series co-creator Nicholas Wootton. “It’s an interior shot with a lot of water where, ultimately, Happy (Jadyn Wong) gets sucked into it and into an outflow pipe and is going toward the turbine. But there’s a major drought in the western United States, especially the southwest, and we just couldn’t use that water.”
So the production team used a mix of CGI water, along with recycled rain water, for the rain shots. Watch now »
Sources: Assignmentx.com, Seeing-stars.com, TVGuide.com, Uproxx.com
For more magical special effects and genius solutions to terrifying problems, watch Scorpion Seasons 1 to 2 on Showmax now »
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