Falling Skies Set Visit Part 2 – Meet The People Behind The Skitters

Continuing our incredible trip through the inner workings of one of the most compelling science fiction series ever to grace our television screens, we bring you to the actual set visits.  Thanks again to Turner Broadcasting (TNT) and MAP Marketing & Incentives who created a truly unbelievable experience for us.

I simply cannot say enough about how well we were treated and how much TNT really cares about their fans.  They pay more attention to online chatter than you would ever imagine and are extremely grateful to all of you for your support.  So please remember that when you have something to say they’re actually listening to you!

Our first stop on our set visit was what is called the 2nd unit.  This is where scenes involving the skitters and green screen work was being done for season 2. The man in the skitter suit is widely regarded as the hardest working man on the Falling Skies set.  He wears this suit for hours on set and wore it the entire time we were there, all the while smiling and taking pictures with us.  Above, he explains how the fine movements of the animatronic head are controlled via an RC remote control not unlike the kind used for model planes.

When we boarded a bus for the sets we found that our guide for the day was none other than Connor Jessup (Ben Mason).  It’s hard to believe Connor is only 17 years old.  His demeanor gives the impression of an “old soul” and he was both the perfect guide and perfect gentleman.  He remained with us throughout the entire day answering all our questions and giving us plenty of juicy tidbits of information about how the show is made.

We were taken for a walk along an outdoor set that looks like rows of burned out buildings.  In fact these were built for the show and, as you probably can tell from the row on the left, these were merely fronts with no actual interior.  You can see Connor walking with Todd Masters, the man who created the skitters, to the right.

We were let to an odd sight; a pile of skitter legs just lying in the street!  Here, Todd Masters shows us a bit about the legs that are used in scenes where practical effects are best.  Below is a three minute video of the “Skittermaster” (a nickname I think fits him well) explaining how the practical legs are used and when they opt for CGI instead.

They let us handle the skitter legs and pretty much do anything we wanted to with them.  It turns out skitters are quite tasty.  Interesting factoid: skitters don’t taste like chicken, chicken tastes like skitter!

The skitter legs were so good that some of us ended up fighting over them.  It got ugly for a while, but we soon realized it was “us against them” and we banded together against the aliens.  It was a good day indeed.

We were brought in to the interior set where there was a giant green screen setup.  The very first picture in this article was taken in there, but unfortunately by the time my group got to the green screen there was active filming going on so I couldn’t take photos of it.  Suffice it to say it was impressively large and seemed to be dressed as the top of a building.  That’s all I can say about it, you’ll have to watch season 2 only on TNT to learn all the secrets!

Before interior shooting began, we got a brief chance to see a skitter head up close and very personal.  Here we get a chance to express our gratitude to the invading aliens for their tasty, tasty legs.  That’s a face only a skitter mother could love.

Here’s a better look at the costume worn by the man inside the skitter.  They had to outfit the suit with a ventilation system because it would get so hot in there.  Can you imagine what it must be like when all the legs are attached and the animatronic head is on?  This guy really earns his pay!

If you pay attention to the backgrounds in the show you’ll see murals and signs similar to this one.  There are also uplifting images juxtaposed against the post-apocalyptic setting.

Keep a close watch on the backgrounds while you watch Falling Skies, and rewatch each episode so you can catch every little detail.  There’s so much packed into each hour that you really need to watch each one at least twice just so you don’t miss anything.  These guys are building this show into an ever more intricate story with twists, turns and details that will have you screaming at your TV for the next episode.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Keep watch here for the continuation of our truly amazing journey as we take you on to the main set where we got to meet the rest of the cast!

If you missed part 1 of our set visit, be sure to read Falling Skies Set Visit – Vancouver Season 2 Filming.

Click here to visit the Official Falling Skies website.

For the web’s premiere site for news, clips, images and insider information of Falling Skies be sure to visit Three if by Space.

For more great news about Falling Skies and other genre offerings, remember to click on the “Visit These Sites!” link on the bar at the top of the page.

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