In this video, I show you how I made some of the props involved in my cinematic reveal for my Geralt shirt.
Transcripts for videos are available on my website.
Culture Hustler Mirror:
Ragnorok’s End, Sword Blade Frog:
Photo by Anton Atanasov
Logo designed and drawn by A.R. Gergler
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels
Photo by Anton Atanasov
I recently produced a video about making Geralt’s shirt from The Witcher and I used a lot of props in the final reveal cinematic that I made. So I thought I’d give you guys a sort of a rundown of the props that I made for this cinematic.
I have received a package.
This is a selection of fake swords. Am I a little bit too excited about this cinematic reveal? Probably, but I’m gonna have fun with it. These were all purchased from realswordmaster.com which I found by doing a web search. Each of these swords is less than $25 US, so that’s pretty good deal. While I do like actual replica steel swords, I do not have a place to display actual replica swords at the moment. And since these are cheapy cheaps that I’m gonna refinish, I don’t feel bad about shoving them into a closet if I need to.
So I got three different types of swords. I got a SPARK foam sword. SPARK stands for something. I don’t know what it stands for. It looks like this. It’s very obviously a foam sword. You have a seam here where it was cast
It did bend a little bit in the box, so this will not look necessarily screen accurate if you’re aiming to do prop sword stuff, but I think with a little bit of sanding to remove the seam line or at least reduce the seam one and some repainting of this sword I think it will look okay. I do want to knock off this tiny little nub on the end of the pommel here. I do want to do some refinishing here on this pommel- I don’t know if my camera will focus- but it says King Arthur Excalibur around it. I don’t know how easy that’ll be to remove.
I don’t mind the little lion things here,
but I think the words can be uh removed.
So that’s the foam sword. It’s very light. It’s fairly flexible, obviously more so over here where it was already bent. Probably good for carrying around an event where you don’t want to bring an actual weapon with you um and probably for filming purposes, it’ll work just fine.
And I also got this polypropylene sword. It’s a hard plastic. When it came in the mail this guard was detached, so it’s a little bit loose. This has got a hefty weight to it. It’s also a longer sword.
Obviously, it’s not finished to look like an actual sword. I do want to sand down this area where there is some stylistic flame stuff going on. There are similar designs here on the handle. I don’t know how much work it will be to refinish this into something that would be useful, but I figure might as well give it a try. This is has a nice weight that I think will be believable on screen as a prop, as opposed to the foam sword. The foam sword is much lighter than this one. We’ll just have to see what I can do with it.
And then the last one is a practice wooden sword. It probably weighs about the same as the foam sword. This is the longest sword that I purchased at 44 inches.
I mean obviously as it is, it’s, you know, a wooden sword, but actually the shaping on the blade is not bad. I don’t know if you can see it. There we go. Actually not bad. Obviously it doesn’t come to an edge. It’s a piece of wood. I think this would look good on screen if I were to paint it a silver chrome type color, maybe with some distressing. If I do end up using this one, I do have to do some sanding work on the guard here. It’s very, you know, kind of jigsaw- cut it out of wood. Obviously because it’s a wooden sword. So I think I would just round out some of these corners to make it look more like it was shaped um
and remove this kind of grip tape that’s here on the- oops just smacking this against the table. Remove some of this grip tape that’s here um because obviously you’re supposed to do something with this. It’s a practice sword, but I’m just gonna remove that and refinish the handle differently.
None of these come with a scabbard, obviously. I have tentative plans of doing some creative recycling of this cardboard that they came in, um but I’ll have to have to swords first and see which ones – which one or two – I’m going to use uh actually in the finished cinematic. I will probably only finish one sword for the cinematic for simplicity’s sake, but if the scabbard isn’t the worst thing and it’s relatively easy to put together, I may do both because a Witcher does carry a steel sword and a silver sword. So it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to be carrying both. Very exciting, but I do have a lot of work ahead of me if they’re going to look anything like real swords by the time I film this cinematic.
The first step with this wooden sword was to obviously sand the bejesus out of it. It’s best practice to sand a wooden object before painting and since this was already varnished, I wanted to sort of scrape that away so that there would be a nice grippy surface for the paint to hold onto.
I ended up sawing off some little pieces from the hilt in order to make the ends of the hilt more of that sort of classic pointy Witcher sword shape.
I used an X-Acto Knife to cut off the letters that are around the pommel of the foam sword. It took a little bit of doing, but it was worth it to remove those letters from the pommel in order to give it a better finish.
I bought some cheap nail hole patch joint compound type stuff from the hardware store and I sort of spread that around in that ridge on the pommel to give it a more smooth finish to paint over later.
I also used some wood filler to fill in the holes on the hilts of the sword and sort of fill in the cracks where the hilt kind of joins with everything. Again, this was a very inexpensive sword so the joins didn’t necessarily meet very well. They were glued securely, but there were cracks that would be visible. I sealed the entirety of the foam sword in Mod Podge. Foam is a very absorbent material and painting something made out of foam can take a long time if you don’t seal it prior to painting.
I then painted the entirety of the wooden sword in black acrylic paint. This gives the whole sword a nice even base coat so that if any subsequent layers of paint don’t necessarily go on with full coverage, you won’t see that bare wood underneath any future paint layers.
I used painters tape around the handle of the sword to mark off where I wanted the silver part of the blade and the hilt and the pommel to start. I painted the silver parts of the sword using Culture Hustle’s Mirror, which is a chrome paint. It was the most expensive part of this entire project, but a little bit of this paint goes a long way.
I didn’t do any base coats of paint on the foam sword since the foam sword was already in the sort of general colors that I wanted for the sword. So I just went over the silver parts of the sword and the pommel with the chrome paint for a more realistic metallic finish.
Making the scabbards is simple in theory, but it was the most time consuming and difficult part of this process. I first created the shape out of cardboard and painters tape, fitting it around each of the swords before I did any finishing work on them. I then covered the whole of the cardboard with some dollar store painters tape to keep the whole thing in shape and give it a less absorbent surface to paint and Mod Podge over than the cardboard alone.
I had plenty of this black bed sheet left over from making the shirt and a good portion of it along one side was sun damaged because my bed is next to a window. So I started from there and began mod podging this fabric onto the scabbard to give it the kind of texture that I was looking for.
I used the Mod Podge to adhere the fabric to the scabbard and also to seal it after it was all glued down. I also used bits of fabric as contrasting details on the scabbard for the long wooden sword.
I have this sort of burlap wire ribbon in my stash and I used a few pieces of that at the mouth of the scabbard and at the point of the scabbard as an additional detail element. I was planning on painting it over anyway so it didn’t matter that it was this weird mustardy yellow color. I just hot glued that down.
Once all the pieces were in place, I painted the whole thing black.
And I had this bronze metallic paint that I thought would look good on those additional burlap details at the point and the mouth of the scabbard, but you’ll see later that I end up painting them back over with black since it just kind of ended up looking out of place. Then I start the process over again for a scabbard for the foam sword. Because the foam sword is much smaller than the wooden sword, I didn’t include as much detail on that scabbard and I was starting to be a little bit pressed for time.
I ended up constructing the over-the-shoulder apparatus for the large scabbard out of a couple of belts, one of which was broken, and some scrap leather that I had lying around. The end of one belt is threaded into the second belt and on the other end the two belts are just knotted in such a way that it is difficult to pull them apart. I cut the scrap leather to size using the scabbard to measure. I poked holes with an awl and I attached the sort of belt loops with those little paper fasteners that you can get in office supply sections of stores. I’ve never seen those things ever used for office supply reasons. I’ve only ever seen them used for crafts.
For the foam swords scabbard, I purchased this leather belt contraption from a seller on Etsy. The details will be below. And I laced it using two lengths of finger loop braid that I made myself with some cotton crochet thread just as a practice. Keep your practice pieces on hand. Sometimes they come in useful.
From there, it was just a matter of assembling my half closet cosplay, half actual cosplay. Ultimately, the finished costume consisted of the shirt that I made for the video, black jeans, some black pirate boots that I happened to already own, The Witcher Medallion which I bought from a seller on Etsy – they will be linked below – the over-the-shoulder sword, and the belted sword at the hip. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where I can just keep walking past my backyard and I’m in the woods, which is appropriate for a Witcher cinematic.
So I’m done filming hopefully all the shots I need for this cinematic. Um just in some woods in my backyard with a broken tree and it is muggy and gross and kind of wet and the paint on the foam sword isn’t holding up as well as I had hoped.
Also I have rediscovered that these boots are not waterproof.
And the last thing that I did- after I edited the Cinematic and did the music and the color grading and all that fun video stuff- is I changed my eye color in those last couple of clips where you get those close-ups on my eyeballs. My eyes are blue and I have no experience with putting contact lenses in. Also I didn’t want to spend any money on contact lenses for the 20 minutes it would take me to film this short thing for the end of a YouTube video. So I decided to go ahead and change them digitally. I use DaVinci Resolve to edit my videos and there’s some pretty cool special effects and color tricks that you can do in DaVinci Resolve. I should note here that this may not be the easiest way to do this or even the best way to do this. This is just the way that I figured out using a bunch of tutorials and this is not an extensive tutorial in and of itself. I just thought this would be interesting if any of you wanted to see the sort of type of thing that can be done. What you can see in this clip is that I create a new node in the color grade field. I use the qualifier to highlight my eye color. I sort of narrow it down so that whatever I do next will only really affect the color family that has been selected from my eye color. In the first stages the color change does bleed out into other areas of that close-up because of the cool color grading on The Witcher, so there are some of those same blues for my eyes like in my hair and my eyebrows.
Once I finish making the color adjustments to the actual iris of my eye, I basically throw a sort of a layer mask on the node a little circle just over the iris of my eye so that any color changes in my eyebrows or my hair are no longer visible. It’s just the iris of the eye.
Once that’s been established, there is a tracker tool that DaVinci has where I play through the clip and it maps that circle onto the iris of my eye for the whole clip so that it will move with my iris as it moves through the clip. Now this can get very complicated if you have a much longer clip, but since my head was static and I’m just closing my eyes and not shifting my eyes a whole lot, the automatic tracker worked well enough for me for this. Once I finished the process with one pupil, I duplicated the node and retracked it onto the other eye so that both eyes are the same color through the clip that I’m working on.
So that’s the little behind the scenes of making that little cinematic. I know this isn’t what I typically do, but if you found it interesting, please let me know. Leave a comment down below. Subscribe, like, share, all that fun stuff. And I will see you soon. Goodbye.