‘Yellowstone’ TV Special Effects Supervisor Reveals How the Show Made Explosion in Beth Dutton’s Office

by Katie Maloney

Dedicated “Yellowstone” fans know that the show has its fair share of action.

Between kidnappings, gunfights and explosions, there are a lot of exciting (and life-threatening) scenes in “Yellowstone.” However, obviously, the show can’t actually use really gunfire or bombs. They have to find creative ways to simulate the same type of weapons while keeping everyone onset safe. That’s where

“We fabricate anything they need,” said Garry Elmendorf, the special effects supervisor on “Yellowstone.” “If it looks like its there, we do it.”

Elmendorf has been around special effects his entire life. In fact, he’s a third-generation special effects artist. His grandfather started working in films in the 20s and it’s been part of the family business ever since. “Yellowstone” recently shared a behind-the-scenes video with Elmendorf. He took fans around the fabrication shop where all the materials for every stunt are created and tested.

“We bring a complete manufacturing setup and we can do most everything right here,” said Elmendorf. “We have a lot of unusual materials.”

He even detailed exactly how the fateful bomb in Beth’s office was created for the season three finale.

“We try to hold it at a certain level,” said the “Yellowstone special effects star. “So it’s as real as possible.”

How Did The ‘Yellowstone’ Team Create The Bomb In Beth Dutton’s Office?

Elmendorf then explained that the team used two mechanisms for the bomb in Beth’s office.

“This is what we call an air mortar,” he said. “When we don’t want to use pyrotechnics, we can get almost the same effect with air. The process is compressed air is in the tank. When we initiate the button, it opens the valve and dumps the air at a high rate of speed. It opens instantaneously. This is what we used for the explosion in Beth’s office.”

The team also uses this air mortar during all the scenes where small explosions are caused by a gunshot -such as when a bullet blows through the wall of a home. Elmendorf said that the team also used a pyrotechnics device for the bomb in Beth’s office.

“We’ll initiate the ‘bomb’ which is a pyrotechnics device, which is more or less a soft debris,” said Elmendorf. “And we’re only using this a small diameter and then we’ll fill the office with dust and debris from the air [mortar].

The season three finale also showed Kayce in danger. He hears gunshots outside of his building as well. The sounds alert him to the fact that he needs to figure out how to protect himself in a matter of seconds. So, he flips over his desk to use as a barrier between himself and the intruders. Well, the “Yellowstone” special effects team was in on that as well. In fact, they built a whole new desk for Kayce to flip because the real-life desk weighs about 450 pounds.

“So, this is a lighter version of the real desk,” said Elmendorf. “We’ll have soft material in here and a small pyrotechnics device, so that will give it the bullet-hit effect.”