With less than seven weeks before the release of The Prop Building Guidebook: for Theatre, Film, and TV, I have begun adding videos to that website. These videos are meant to augment the content of the book, since some things are just easier to show in motion, rather than describe with text and pictures. I will be adding new videos every week until the book launches on February 13th.
So without further ado, I am proud to announce the brand-new Prop Building Guidebook companion video page. Only two videos are up at present; the first is on the vacuum former I built, which you probably remember from last autumn. The second has just been added today and shows you how to sculpt in oil-based clay. You can check it out below:
The following is an interesting diagram showing the various layers of traditional upholstery. It comes from a 1914 book called Furniture Designing and Draughting, written by Alvan Crocker Nye, PH.B (page 51). It was published in New York by The William T. Comstock Co. Enjoy!
From 1995 to around 2004, a magazine known asÂ Proptology was published by a Canadian props professional named Wulf. He published a multi-part series called “A Field Guide to Furniture Styles”, which contained a lot of useful illustrations and information for identifying period Western furniture. One of the parts had a nice little list of chair backs. I have taken this information and these illustrations and arranged them in a nice little grid where they are grouped by similar appearances.
Understanding formal dining settings can be important to the prop master who strives for historical and cultural accuracy. If a play, film or television show calls for characters to dine in a formalized setting, the amount of plates, utensils and glasses involved are numerous and often not laid out in the script. Following the conventions of formal dining settings help establish the time and place and flesh out the characters (not to mention giving the actors something to do in the scene). Many audience members will recognize when proper formal dining procedures are not followed.
Below is an image of a “typical” formal dining setting. By “typical”, I mean a contemporary style used in Western/Anglo-Saxon cultural settings. It can of course vary depending on the food being served and the level of formality, as well as by cultural and regional specifics. Nonetheless, the basic style presented in the picture below is relatively standard from the Edwardian period (1901-1910) to the present.
Careful research is always needed for recreating any sort of historical dinner settings. Before 1900, table settings differed much more between the countries of Western Europe, though formalized dinner settings in general have been practiced as far back as medieval times.