The San Francisco Opera goes behind the scenes into the prop shop with prop master Lori Harrison in this video. Find out how they make fake weapons and giant cotton candy, the hallmarks of any good opera.
Vulture visits the set-building factory for Saturday Night Live. Check out some great photographs and insights into how Eugene Lee and his team of designers create sets from scratch in only a day or two.
Tested visits the Jim Henson Creature Shop and gives us this great sixteen minute video. What I love about the Creature Shop (other than how awesome their puppets are) is how Jim Henson started out with simple hand puppets in the mid-50s, and today the company is on the leading-edge of animatronic creature design.
Rania Peet has some great projects over on her Instructables page, where she shows off the work she does as a Halloween haunt builder. I particularly like this chasing marquee “Freak Show” sign and these giant mushrooms.
If you love getting obsessive over the details on your paper props, check out the Passport Stamps and Visas group on Flickr. It’s chock full of interior pages of passports from around the world, as well as a few exterior covers as well.
Here’s a short little audio story and regular story about Annett Mateo, who makes puppets for the Seattle Children’s Theatre.
I’ve never seen the 1982 film The Deadly Spawn, but John Dods, the special effects director, has a ton of behind-the-scenes photos showing the construction of the creature.
Super-fan builds is an online show where prop makers build one-of-a-kind items for obsessive fans of all things pop culture. In the latest episode, Tim Baker and his crew build a Hobbit house litter box and Eye of Sauron scratching post for a cat-loving fan of Lord of the Rings.
Tsabo Tsaboc has a set of photographs detailing the build of a dagger from the Elder Scrolls Online video game. Hat tip to Propnomicon for finding this one.
For the holiday show at Triad Stage in Greensboro, we remounted the production of Snow Queen we made last year. I had built a number of puppets for the show which only requited minor adjustments and maintenance, but I wanted to completely rebuilt the crow puppet. He went through so many iterations and modifications last year as we tried to discover what worked best, so the end result was a hodge-podge of cobbled-together parts and mechanisms. He was difficult to maintain and he broke frequently. When I knew we were remounting this production, I budgeted in a complete rebuild of the crow.This time around, I was able to order more appropriate and precise materials, rather than assembling it with whatever I could find at the Home Depot.
I made a video showing the inner mechanisms of the puppet and how it is operated:
You can compare that to the puppet I made last year. The rod is now two pieces of aluminum which sleeve together, rather than two pieces of PVC pipe which bend and wobble. I abstained from using any string this year, which always stretched and lost tension, or broke completely. Most importantly, I planned the construction out so the parts were completely modular, and everything could be taken apart with bolts, screws or Velcro. The crow last year was a bit of a nightmare when it came to maintenance, because a lot of the pieces were permanently attached to each other, so it practically required laparoscopic surgery to fix anything that broke.
Jonathan Neill made this time-lapse video where he sculpts a cosplay helmet in just over two minutes. Watch as he takes a lump of water-based clay and transforms it into a piece that resembles machined metal.