Here’s a great in-depth tutorial on making a two-part underpoured mold written by Adam Savage. Yes, I’ve already had some Adam Savage on the blog this week; there are only so many props people out there who write about what they do.
By now, you’ve all heard about 3D printing, and some of you have even gotten your own 3D printers to play around with. Here’s a great article on why 3D printing is overhyped. It is not saying 3D printers are worthless or a waste of time; rather, it offers a sobering look at the reality of 3D printer’s capabilities versus how they are presented in the media. They are at the peak of hype right now; I’ve seen articles promising they will destroy traditional manufacturing and even end consumerism. The reality is that they can make shapes in plastic from digital models, something which may be useful to some props people in certain situations.
Fans of The Walking Dead may enjoy this piece on John Sanders, the prop master for the show. He talks about weapons and special props which will be appearing in the upcoming season.
Jeff Burks has posted quite the treatise on workshop cleanliness from 1885. I think a clean and well-organized shop is vital to working safely and efficiently; however, the author states that when you are finished with a tool, “return it to its place, immediately after you have done using it.” Now, I’ve heard “tools away at the end of the day,” meaning don’t waste your time putting a tool away if you might need it half an hour later. How does everyone else deal with putting tools away?
My latest magazine article is out. In “Printing a Set“, I talked with several set designers who are using 3D printing technology as part of their process.
Here’s an interesting story. Some soldiers in Afghanistan were having trouble carrying and reloading ammo for the new guns they were issued. To improvise a solution, they were inspired by a prop which Jesse Ventura used in the film Predator, and set out to recreate it. It worked.
Here is a local news article on Karl Luthin, the owner of KEL Equine Productions, an Illinois-based company which has provided historically-accurate equine props, horse wranglers and set dressing to the film industry for years. His latest work will be seen in the upcoming Lincoln film by Steven Spielberg. You have probably seen his props in films such as “Glory,” “The Patriot” or “The Last of the Mohicans“. Check out his webpage too, for photographs of many of the items he has.
The 4th Annual NYC Props Summit will be held tonight at the Public Theatre. It will be from 6:30-10pm at the Public Theater props shop (425 Lafayette St). It is free to attend. Food and drink will be provided, though you are encouraged to bring your own beverage of choice to drink and share with the group.
The props summit is a chance for prop masters and prop makers to meet each other and get to know the larger community. If you live near the area and want to work in props, you should definitely come. If you freelance or work at a theatre where you need the occasional freelance prop builder, you should definitely come. I have written about the previous three summits on this blog: check out 2011, 2010 and 2009.
For the rest of you, here are some links to keep you busy this weekend:
Many of the futuristic weapons from Men in Black 3 were 3D printed by a two-man company. Their machine allows them to print the props directly out in multiple materials. Check the page out for photographs and a video about their company.
In 1970, Robert Resta lost his wallet. Forty years later, someone found it. Check out the post at Retronaut for some photographs of what was inside. It is great research for the sort of ephemera and everyday business one might carry around at that time.
The Guardian has a nice little article on How to Make a Haunted House. It details how the set dresser, prop master and other members of the art department use locations, architecture and props to create the mood of the upcoming ghost film, The Woman in Black. They purchased and borrowed tons (or “tonnes”, as this is a British film) of Victorian-era objects and paraphernalia to dress the sets.
Have you heard of the new show Prop Freaks? Because it’s a TV show about people who make and collect props. Well, it’s a show in development; you can watch short clips on the website until it finds an audience. But it looks pretty cool, and I can’t wait to see more.
Here is an interview with Russell Bobbitt on how he uses 3D printing technology to create many of his props. Russell Bobbitt is the film prop master who has made some fairly recognizable props, such as the glowing chest piece from Iron Man 2, or the wristband laser gun from Cowboys and Aliens.
Here is an interesting video on using a vacuum former to make masks. There’s a few things that make this especially intriguing: his rig is portable so he is able to take it to an event where other people can vacuum form their own masks, and he uses a bicycle pump to draw out the air rather than a vacuum cleaner. Also, the music playing in the background is a Nintendo beat version of MOP’s “Ante Up” with computers rapping (done by an artist named “Danny Drive Thru”), so that alone makes this worth watching.
While not prop-related, this last link is pretty fun. Watch this time-lapse video of stagehands from IATSE local 33 set up the orchestra pit at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s a pretty ambitious sounding project too; over 1,000 musicians will perform.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies