As you can imagine given the name of our company, we think about blood a lot. After a number of years making blood for a wide variety of applications – for wolves and bears, newborn screening simulations, opera, films, theatre, performance art, military training and more – we’d like to share a thing or two we have learned.
Having worked actively in the film and theatre industries for over twenty years we’ve tried virtually everything on the market and know what works and what doesn’t work on set or stage. Although there are probably hundreds of types of fake bloods out there, no two are the same, and quality counts (unless of course you like the look of pink skin and stained costumes that can result from using some of the super cheap brands out there). As with all of our projects, we aim for excellence – high quality, cool products that really work, never the cheapest solution so we can make the most money. Our bloods are no exception.
Price aside, there are a few key elements you want to consider when looking at blood: colour, viscosity, opacity, application, delivery and removal systems, and longevity. Let’s briefly take a look at each:
Colour: pretty straightforward right? But what’s the shade or colour of the blood and specifically, what is it being used for such that a certain colour may be required? Is it being seen in HD close up on film or is it on a stage 100 feet from the audience? Is it for a fresh sucking lung wound or an old dead body? How does the colour of the lighting and the surroundings affect the visual presence?
Viscosity: how thick or thin is it? This is where the application method should be considered – are you using it to pump through an apparatus so it needs to be fairly thin or are you wanting something thick that can be smeared on and not drip? Has the blood begun to separate from the plasma?
Opacity: how much light comes through the blood? This may or may not be an issue depending how it is being used.
Delivery and Application: how is the blood being delivered or applied? Is it going into capsules to be bitten on by a performer or is it going onto clothing or being applied by a make-up artist? Is it going on an animal and if so what factors are being considered so as not to harm the animal nor have it ingest the blood via licking?
Removal System: how is it being removed? The clean up or removal process can be a critical component when using blood. If it is not removed properly it can result in staining or other issues.
Longevity: what’s the shelf life? Is it being used right away?
In order to address some of the different requirements noted above, we make a variety of colours and types of blood as follows:
Fresh: as a stock blood this product is colour matched to how a real fresh blood (say from a nose bleed or finger cut) would look when soaked into fabric. It has a significant orange component with yellow undertones which is a perfect match to the real thing, but not so much to look garish. It is similar to stage bloods seen out of UK FX houses. As a pumping blood, this holds up well for cannon effects, ejectors, and pumps. Click here to watch a cool blood splatter test we did for SyFy's Wynonna Earp. As with our other bloods (see photo below), the wash-ability is exceptional. This blood dries very, very slowly and was developed for maximum splatter. We perfected this for Evil Dead: The Musical in which the audience was covered in our gooey redness. Many a night this simulated blood product fooled our finest officers and EMT’s as they visited the theatre with panicked expressions looking for the source of the bloodbath.
Regular: a deeper red than fresh with orange undertones.
Aged: darker with brown undertones; great for use as blood that's not fresh.
Mouth: specifically made for shots or live performances in which blood is to be used safely in the mouth. Our mouth blood tastes sweet like candy.
Blood Jam: our blood jam is one of our most popular products....it's just like jam only you don't eat it! It is great to have on hand when you don't want the blood to drip and you want the blood to look realistic.
The Making Of… We create our bloods in a controlled manufacturing space, not in our garage, nor the back alley behind the shop. We use food grade products, all equipment and bottles are properly sterilized, and we adhere to federal labelling regulations, showing both instructions for use and ingredients.
Everything is recorded by batch lot so we’re able to track and trace any product leaving our store as well. We also custom manufacture bloods for clients who are looking for something specific that we may not normally make or carry. We’ve made bear blood that the bear doesn’t lick off and blood that simulates the droplets resulting from the prick of a baby’s heel when being tested at birth, to a custom blood for evil non-humans.
Although we always encourage testing of our bloods in the environment they’re to be used in or on, our latest tests show that all of our liquid bloods and jam wash out completely, a great asset for virtually any application.
In the image above, you can see how our bloods looked when first applied, the next day, when washed in warm water, then warm water and detergent. All clean!
We always carefully consider not only what goes in our products but what the packaging and labelling looks like as well. In line with our values as a producer of small batches of quality products that support other local businesses and artists, we worked with Calgary-based graphic illustrator and musician Tom Bagley on the design of our blood labels.
Above is an early sketch of the proposed blood labels created in Tom's inimitable bold and fun style, as well as a finished label below right for our mouth blood. As one of our preeminent users of our mouth blood, we got the OK from the multi-talented Visha Loo to use her likeness on our mouth blood label.
For more information on how to best apply our bloods click here to see one of our demo videos showing how our liquid and blood jams can be used to create facial and neck wounds.
Yes, we believe our blood is the best in the business - and you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Our bloods have been used around the world from Alice Springs, Australia to China, New York, and L.A.
We invite you to use any of our blood products and quickly discover why they are so popular. Click here to browse our blood products on our online store. Watch our Facebook and other social media channels this Thursday when we announce a brand new distributor of our bloods and other Bleeding Art products!
Thanks for reading our blog and as always, your comments and feedback are welcome.