'The Walking Dead' may look and feel a bit different for its final 11th season

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twd season 11 negan filming mask
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is seen while filming bonus episodes for "TWD's" extended 10th season. AMC
  • "The Walking Dead" has historically shot on 16mm film to preserve a grainy, classic horror look.

  • Because of the pandemic, the final 30 episodes of the show are being shot digitally.

  • Showrunner Angela Kang tells Insider they shot differently as a safety precaution.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

When "The Walking Dead" returns to AMC on Sunday with six bonus episodes the look of the show may feel slightly different. For the first time, the series was shot digitally instead of on film.

"Yes, these episodes are filmed on digital," showrunner Angela Kang confirmed to Insider of the series' extended 10th season via email as the show films during the pandemic.

"The decision came about because there are fewer 'touch points' with digital than 16mm. We don't have to swap out film every few minutes, for example."

If you're a fan of the show, that's a big deal.

Historically, 'TWD' has filmed on 16mm and 35mm film, and initially planned to continue doing so until the pandemic

twd season 11 filming masks
Norman Reedus, Angel Theory, and Lauren Cohan are seen filming a portion of one of the new episodes of "TWD." The episodes were filmed fall 2020. AMC

In 2016, "TWD" cinematographer Stephen Campbell spoke with The American Society of Cinematographers in great detail about the approach to shooting the series with a consistent look on film for years.

"One of the things that drives the show is the fact that we shoot on 16mm film," Campbell said.

After the first six-episode season, the series briefly considered filming digitally, before committing to film.

"Although they did test digital formats during the second season, they decided, 'That's not the show,'" Campbell said. "Because the show, being on 16mm, has additional grain in it. It has motion blur, if only because it's still going through a gate. That adds a bit of a classic horror vibe to the show. And I think they'll maintain shooting with film as we go on with the show."

They did.

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Ross Marquand and Seth Gilliam are seen on set of the new "TWD" bonus episodes wearing face shields. AMC

In June 2019, Kang told Variety they considered digital again, but decided to continue shooting on 16mm because there's "something that differentiates the daytime zombie look that's on the 16 that is not exactly the same as when we try to mimic it with digital."

Now that the show's filming digitally, Kang told Insider the show will make post-production efforts to make sure the show continues to have the same look.

"We will be continuing on digital in season 11 but using post-production techniques to maintain our classic 'TWD' feel," Kang said via email.

The show's switch to digital for its final episodes is one of many precautions AMC has taken while filming during the pandemic.

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Crew members are seen with masks, double-masking, and goggles as they film season 11. AMC

In addition to changing the way they film the show, AMC enlisted a former Army medic and infectious diseases specialist as the show's health and safety supervisor. They're also consulting with an epidemiologist.

"We've got our own mobile lab to process tests so that there's no delay in test processing," Kang told Entertainment Weekly in September. "There's no more shared makeup trailer. They would all be there and singing karaoke and stuff, but you just can't do that. So they've got their own little pods, but there's windows so that they can still see each other."

In addition to recommended regulation masks, you'll see crew and cast wearing face shields.

"There's specific pathways that actors will be taken down so that there's not a lot of contact between groups," Kang added.

"Fear the Walking Dead" star Christine Evangelista told Insider back in October she was initially worried about going back to work because of the amount of people who work on the show, but she emphasized how impressed she was with the measures put in place. The actress, who plays Sherry, made a big return to the franchise after departing "TWD" in 2017.

"Having done it now and being in it is beyond exceeded any expectation I could have had, but AMC has taken this extraordinarily serious," Evangelista said.

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Sherry and Dwight were finally reunited on season six, episode three of "FearTWD." Ryan Green/AMC

While filming "Fear" last fall, Evangelista said cast would show up to set early and there was a system where you get temperature tested, get COVID-19 tested, and wait in a trailer until you're released to go to hair and makeup. Some trailers on set are just for hand washing.

"If anything, things are way more clean than they ever were before," Evangelista added. "On a show where you live outside and you're covered in dirt, whether it's real or fake, things are very, very, very clean now and very organized. I don't take that for granted."

For the first time in the franchise's history, all three 'Walking Dead' series are simultaneously filming new seasons.

twd season 11 filming
Crew members, wearing goggles and masks, are seen tending to a zombie extra on "TWD" set. AMC

The flagship series began filming its final 11th season in Georgia, Atlanta specifically, while "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" is back to filming in Virginia. "Fear the Walking Dead" is filming its seventh season in Texas, which is currently dealing with a winter storm that has shut down power plants and caused blackouts.

When asked how the "FearTWD" cast and crew are faring, an AMC representative confirmed to Insider Thursday that "everyone is safe."

Wednesday, star Karen David shared she was without power or heating. David later shared that her power returned Thursday.

"We have no power or heating, but we are making it work. So far, so good. Thankful for gas," David wrote in part on Instagram. "We have jars and bottles filled up with water, blankets and wearing layers, cupboards are open so our pipes hopefully don't freeze tonight. Be safe and warm, Texans."

The first of six new "TWD" episodes premieres on AMC on February 28. If you have AMC+, you can watch the first episode a week early starting February 21. You can read our spoiler-free review of the first new episode here.

"Fear TWD" will premiere the back-half of season six on April 11. You can watch a brand new trailer for that here.

You can follow along with our "TWD" coverage all season long here.

Read the original article on Insider

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