Prime Video’s Undone is one of the most visually stunning shows out there. Every shot feels like a painting and in many respects, it kind of is. And with the premiere of season 2 just happening, we wanted to dive into the production process for this strange and entertaining show that really pushes the boundaries of storytelling through a visual lens.
So, how do they do it? How do they get everything to look like a painting? Is it just computer-generated? Some are. But there’s a lot of work and talent that goes into making this show what it is. And that starts with rotoscoping, an animation technique that basically has artists “paint over live-action footage to make the movement of animated characters appear more realistic.“
It was revolutionized by Richard Linklater, who is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. And he went full throttle with rotoscoping with films like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, the latter known for starring Keanu Reeves. And in the hands of creator Kate Purdy and director Hisko Hulsings, they took it a step further and did a whole show like that aka Prime Video’s Undone.
But back to rotoscoping. There are a lot of live-action shoots that need to happen with the actor Rosa Salazar, Bob Odenkirk, Constance Marie, and Angelique Cabral. And they do these complex scenes that artists are going to paint over with props retroscoped and backgrounds that are painted in. Oh but wait, there’s more when it comes to filming the material.
According to Den of Geek, season 2 of Prime Video’s Undone was filmed in a black box theater in Los Angeles. While there, performers used apple boxes in places of buildings to figure where everything was at. And to create and establish guidelines for the world the actors were working in, they used tape. Yes, tape. With the addition of stunt doubles for some scenes, that’s pretty much it filming-wise.
This is where the artists come in.
They are the ones who use the careful storyboarding the show has put together to create the walls, the world, and everything in it. They set up the car crashes, what it looks like to fall through a fog, and the shift between reality and memories in season 2. And it’s all done with this oil painting quality that hasn’t been as paramount or used in previous forms of rotoscoping.
It’s a group effort from a team that obviously loves what they do and does a hell of a job at it in the first place. And because of this, they’ve created a piece of work that combines the best of two different worlds to create something wholly unique and worth checking out.
Undone season 2 is available on Prime Video now.