BTS with Castle Art Department “Swan Song”, “After Hours” & “Secret Santa”

Today we are going behind the scenes with Castle’s Art Department again. There has been a lots of tweeting and sharing pictures during last three episodes, it’s nice to bring the information back out again.

When Alfred Sole (@CastleArtDept) was asked does the style of camera work affect how you do the sets, the answer was “Sure does. It means that you never know what angle or direction the camera is going to look. Every side must be finished!” He also defended about the usage of the murder boards in the show - because it is a real world technique. But it is made more graphic and beautiful for television purposes. And we also found out the secret of filming through the blinds in bullpen - the glass is 'gimbled' which means it pivots on two axis so they can turn it and redirect glare and reflections.

A fun fact that one fan pointed out - there is a "Det. Sole" desk plate in the bullpen of the precinct and what's weird is that it has been there for years and it has been the first time somebody noticed it.

The tweetslide of the next episode “After hours” was opened by this tweet “Abandoned building?.. Well not quite. But it was a location and not a set. Have to clean up that water dripping!” Through the tweets of the Art Department, we found out that interior hallways of the apartments are usually sets. With such narrow hallways it would be impossible to shoot in real life. And almost every wall in Alfred’s sets are 'wild' which means they can move. Keep an eye out when the camera magically seems to be inside the walls! With the scenes of Castle and Beckett running around in bad parts of the city - Paramount Backlot is the crew’s best friend for scenes like these. But it's a blank slate. It's up to them to provide signage, trash and so on.

When Beckett kicked in the window of the car, we found out that they used sugar glass or 'candy glass'. When anything has to break, they used it a lot. It shatters clean and safe.

Alfred also loved that basement set. The layers were just amazing in there - Paint, set dec, cobwebs and more. For the look of abandoned basement setting they used thing what’s called 'fullers earth' which is a powder that acts like dirt. It’s used on sets and makeup.

With the last episode of this year (2012) Alfred asked us “What did you all think about the little Christmas village and train set? It's harder than you think finding decorations in November.” Alfred, of course we loved the train set - the loft looked absolutely amazing! Though, the decorations they used in the loft set were almost all rented. And the stuff that wasn't was put in the scenes are on the storage for next year (fingers crossed for another Christmas episode).

Alfred also explained how they brought snow to the warm climate - a combination of snow blankets (cotton), finely ground plastic bags, shredded potato flakes & water, paper pulp and fog is all it takes to bring winter down to LA. They used about 5 different types of "snow" to get this look, but it's not real. The cleaning up the snow takes time but depending on the application it can be as easy as rolling it up on the big mat it comes on to be cleaned and reused.

With the Christmas episode, we got the note from Benjamin Ralston (@BenjaminRalston), a crewmember of the Castle Art Department, that he is leaving Castle - “I got a job designing a feature film, but I am leaving Castle after the holidays. I love all the support and love I've gotten from the cast, fellow crew members, and the fans! Best show on TV. I'll miss this place!” wishes Benjamin all the best for his future projects.

Many of you have asked where to find the print of the staircase behind Castle's desk, you can order the official limited edition print from the voila! Gallery .staircase

And here is the link for Benjamin Ralston’s website:

Some behind the scenes pictures:

Let's take a closer look at that basement. Really cool stuff!

A basement set on the episode of "After Hours"

Even the layers have layers. Love it!

Creepy stuff hanging in the walls of the abandoned basement.

Stage design was very important to set the tone for the episode.

I would not know what to do with all of these things.. But I bet MacGyver could.

We crafted the truss structures and graphics of the band members. Such a great looking theatre!

Here is a full view of the stage! We made a lot of graphics like CD covers, band stickers, & posters!

What does it look like in a rockstar's RV? In all honesty? Those guys are messy! Look at that here!

A look in a real Castle editing bay, dressed as... an editing bay!

The murder board is a very important part of each episode & is a done by the Props Dept!

Is that Santa on his cell phone? Talking while driving? #CastleChristmas

Being a Santa has some very important and easy to follow rules.

Oh there one is! But look out for other letters because we made some funny ones!

Here is a pic of Alfred, our designer, taking a look at Santa's copter. We all wanted rides! Work < Play.

Already getting ready for next year which means taking Castle's Christmas decorations down!!! Woe is me #iluvxmas