How Outlander created the River Run plantation
Aunt Jocasta's home
Since Scotland isn't exactly teeming with plantations, the production team behind Outlander had to employ lots of movie magic to recreate the plantation that appears in tonight's episode on Starz. And it wasn't cheap. "This is our most ambitious season, most challenging season anyway, because we had to play Scotland for North Carolina," executive producer Matthew B. Roberts tells EW.
"Gary Steele, our production designer, designed it and built it," says Roberts. "He did a lot of research of period plantations, because people kind of instantly go to antebellum type plantations in the deep south. He wanted to build it more like a plantation of the period, an early colonial plantation."
"We found an area that had grass and a thin serpentine pond that ran throughout the property. And it had this perfect little peninsula. We built the façade on it. And what it allowed us to do is build a road, and a front entrance. Then we blued it out. You put the blue screen around the façade. Then you can visual effects in the rest of the house."
A view from the front path. "We did build a working porch outside, and the first floor is a façade," says Roberts. "The wings and the second story are all visual effects."
To film in the evenings, production brings in these huge illuminated pallets to dangle over the set. Not only are they hugely effective in lighting up the place, they can be seen for miles so everyone will know when Outlander is in production!
Here's Colin McFarlane -- who plays Ulysses, the River Run butler -- between takes with Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) in front of the plantation facade.
Jamie and Claire
Heughan and Caitriona Balfe (Claire) pose in front of Aunt Jocasta's house, which was also recreated on one of the production's soundstages. "We played the outdoor scenes using visual effects to bring out the scope of the house," says Roberts. "Then Gary built the interior. It was a working interior with, I think, six rooms. It worked out great."