Outlander Season 6: Digital people will help to keep the set COVID-19-safe

Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, as seen in Season 5 of Outlander
Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, as seen in Season 5 of Outlander. Pic credit: Starz

With production now underway for Season 6 of Starz’s Outlander, there are some changes that had to be made in order to keep things in accordance with safety measures laid down regarding the current coronavirus pandemic. This will include the use of digital people, according to the series producer, Matthew B. Roberts.

With a series like Outlander, there is quite often a lot of background noise by way of people in some of the outside scenes. Dealing with this meant that measures had to be taken, be it changing scenes altogether or coming up with creative ways in which to maintain their vision from script to screen.

In an interview with Elle, Roberts explained the logistics of having to work around social distancing in the time of COVID-19.

“We’re trying to utilize visual effects. In the deep, deep background, we can use digital people instead of what we would normally use, real extras,” Roberts said.

An Outlander “event” will still be filmed

Roberts also explained that the usual big “event” that culminates in every season of Outlander and usually involves large crowds of people will still be filmed. Once again, they will employ the power of the digital age to bring this scene to life.

“We’ll film [the background extras] at a separate time, [then] put it all together in post, and it’s seamless. We have a really amazing visual effects team, and I have full faith in their abilities to do that,” he revealed.

He also noted that the crew already have plenty of experience with filming in this way, pointing out that many of the Alamance battle scenes already had digital people in them.

“We added to the crowd and to the battle numbers with digital soldiers and conflicts in the background in post, and I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it. When no one notices a visual effect, that’s a good thing.”

Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, as seen in Starz's Outlander.
Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Sam Heughan as Jamie, as seen in Outlander. Pic credit: Starz

Intimate scenes in Outlander will also go ahead

The insertion of digital people in crowd scenes are an easy fix to the problem of social distancing. However, what about those intimate scenes that Outlander is so famous for? Will Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) have to cool things for a season?

Apparently not.

As previously reported by Monsters and Critics, these scenes will still be filmed. However, plenty of testing for COVID-19 will occur in order to keep everyone safe.

“The solution was relatively obvious: ‘testing, testing, testing, testing,’” Roberts said. “We had to figure out how to make sure we tested everybody a million times before they walked onto set and keep that bubble as safe as possible. That was our main focus—making sure everybody feels safe walking onto a set in the studios and locations.”

Season 6 of Outlander will air on the Starz network at a later date.

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