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September 2014

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Page 19 of 51 18 POST SEPTEMBER 2014 BC America pleasantly surprised viewers when it introduced them to street-wise hustler Sarah Manning (played by actress Tatiana Maslany), in its original series Orphan Black, and threw in a suspense/sci-fi twist when Manning discovers a mind-blowing secret that she is one of a series of genetically-identical individuals — oth- erwise known as clones. Following that premise, the show requires numerous scenes where Maslany portrays not only Manning, but any number of her clones; essentially acting with herself. Co-created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, and produced by Temple Street Productions in association with BBC America and Space, Orphan Black, which is shot in Vancouver, completed its second season earlier this year and re- cently became available on DVD to carry enthusiasts throughout the fall. Having doubled its ratings from Season 1 to Season 2, it was recently announced that Orphan Black is now in production of Season 3, which will premiere early next year. The series has won and/or been nom- inated for a host of awards, including Golden Globes and Canadian Cinema Ed- itors Awards, and more recently a 2014 Canadian Screen Award for show editor, D. Gillian Truster, for "Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series" for the innovative "clone" scenes. Here, Truster explains the complex process in more detail, from production to post. It seems that the shots where Tatiana is playing her clones — Cosima, Alison, Rachel, Helena — in the same scenes are getting lots of attention. Can you talk about them? "It's true, people want to know, how are the clone scenes done? They defi nitely add an additional complication to the editing process. We've seen twinning in shows before, but what Orphan Black is doing is a very complex version of that by putting the clones in the same frame with a moving camera [Arri Alexa] and having them interact with each other as if they are separate people. When they are doing the master shots, they'll use Tatiana's double, Catherine Alexan- der, and they'll fi gure out the blocking. Then they'll do a pass with the camera where the two of them — when it's two of them in the scene, sometimes it's more — where the camera locks down the motion and captures the blocking. And then they'll do a pass with Tatiana as one of the characters and she has an ear bud with Catherine saying the other lines, so that Tatiana has something to react to. So Tatiana has to basically copy the blocking that she did, and she has to remember where she was looking, because nobody else is in the frame with her in that pass." So the double is not in those scenes with Tatiana? "She's in the scenes when they're doing the over the shoulder shots and there are close ups. But in the master shots, unless they're doing them as a split screen, when they are using the moving cameras and actually doing the shots where the shot will actually be composited, Cather- ine is off -camera, doing lines. "They'll do a bunch of takes with Tatiana as one character and then they'll redo it, she'll change and she'll redo it as the other character. And it really is quite a feat because she really is remem- bering where she was looking in frame, what she was doing and then, basically, the editors, when we get the footage, when we're cutting those scenes [in Avid Media Composer], we're creating those master shots. We're picking takes and doing sort of a temp composite to see how it works and cutting. There are times when the double is in the scene, say, like last year there was a scene where one of the clones, Alison, pushes Sarah against a wall. In those cases, an arm is actually not Tatiana's arm, part of that arm is actually the double's arm and the VFX team cuts it off and attaches it to Tatiana's body. It defi nitely adds a level of complexity to the edits." What do you think is the key to making these scenes work so well? "There are two things. Intelligence Crea- tures is the VFX company, and they do a fantastic job with compositing these shots. But to also really sell it, is Tatiana's performance. She's behaving as if she were acting against somebody. There are times when I forget it's the same actress. I'm sitting there cutting the two scenes together and I'm forgetting that this is one person, and not two separate people [laughs]. The hair, makeup and wardrobe people do a fantastic job as well, diff erentiating the characters, but BBC AMERICA'S ORPHAN BLACK VIEWERS ARE SEEING DOUBLE ON THIS SCI-FI/ DRAMA B PRIMETIME A cast that looks slightly larger than it actually is; Maslany portays a host of the leading characters on BBC America's original drama, Orphan Black. BY LINDA ROMANELLO

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