Tag Archives: set dressing

Last Minute Christmas Links

The Rooms They Left Behind – After their deaths, the New York Times photographed the private spaces of ten notable people.  The photos are such wonderfully crafted images filled with real life set dressing, hinting at the lives of these people.

Locked & Loaded: The Gun Industry’s Lucrative Relationship with Hollywood – The Hollywood Reporter has an incredibly in-depth look at guns in Hollywood. This article takes us from the NRA’s “Hollywood Guns” exhibit, to the ISS armory, with stops at the Internet Movie Firearm Database and discussions with the gun manufacturers themselves. You get a glimpse at some of cinema’s most well-known firearms, and we examine the seeming contradiction where actors can be anti-gun off-screen, but gleefully wielding weapons on-screen.

Raw Steak and The Revenant – Cinefex takes a look at the meatier effects from Leo’s Oscar-winning role, including several scalpings and a zombie skinned bear in a suit for a dream sequence. Besides the tight turn-around, most of these effects were built on set in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.

Adam Savage Visits The Lion King’s Puppet Shop – Adam Savage goes backstage while The Lion King is playing in San Francisco and talks with Michael Reilly, the show’s puppet supervisor. What more is there to say?

Artem: Inside a Real-Life Santa’s Workshop – Artem Studios has been making weird and wonderful props and effects for commercials, television, and film for the past 30 years. Little Black Book sits down with the founders to talk about some of their recent projects and how they approach their work.

Minor Details Aren’t Unnoticed, 1895

The following article first appeared in the San Francisco Call in 1895: 

An exceptionally good performance was that given of “Diplomacy,” at the Columbia Theater last week. The leading parts, particularly those of Beach and Richman, were in the hands of actors who made them artistic pictures, and even the minor characters were finished studies.

The propertyman made the performance of “Diplomacy” remarkable by some rather clever compromises, which showed that he desired to give the French coloring and at the same time did not intend to lose his hold on local interest.

For instance, in the English embassy in Paris the newspaper which the unhappy husband snatched up in his despair and affected to read in the lull glare of the footlights was unmistakably a French journal, for the people in the stalls could read the type of that politest of languages, though they were a little staggered to see that the British diplomat was consoling one of the most trying moments of his life by studying Le Franco-Californien. Perhaps the propertyman wished to convey the impression that if Dora’a conduct forced her husband to fly to happier climes he could not do better than turn his steps to California.

It was a patriotic inspiration, too, to decorate the Parisian office of her Britannic Majesty with three large and handsome maps of the United States. Great rareties they must have been considered in Paris, too, for everyone who is familiar with that giddy capital knows that the outside world cuts very little figure in its geographies. You can buy “France in Provinces,” “France in Departments,” “France With Railroads” — canals, mountains, hedges and ditches— if you choose, but anything outside of France is always represented as of microscopic dimensions, scarcely visible to the naked eye.

Such little touches of local coloring apart, the staging of “Diplomacy” was finished and handsome, as is always the case at the Columbia Theater.

The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), 29 Sept. 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1895-09-29/ed-1/seq-20/>

What’s a Set Decorator?

In theatre, the props master is responsible for all furniture and movable items on stage, whether the actor uses it or not. In TV and film, those duties are actually separated. The props master is responsible for the items the actors use, but the set decorators are in charge of supplying the furniture and dressing.

“The Crew” has a great video showing what the set decorators do, and introduces the different members of the department.

Final Four Links of March

One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Rocketeer. Valor Design has constructed a stunning replica of the film’s rocket pack completely from scratch. Check out the progress photos from the build, as well as pictures of the completed prop.

From Make Magazine, here are six things you need to know to start welding. It’s a bit more of a guide on how to buy your own welder and choose which process you want to work with; it’s much more helpful to learn on a variety of machines before plunking down cash on your own setup.

Propnomicon points us to this great UK website called Bob’s Bits, which sells and rents all manner of sci-fi props and set dressing. Their stuff ranges from futuristic alien to military to Victorian medical.

Finally, BBC Travel visits the abandoned mill town from the first Hunger Games film, just two hours from where I live. Of course, filming moved to Atlanta for the subsequent films, because North Carolina mucked around with their film incentives program. The photographs are pretty haunting, and the whole thing is for sale too, for the die hard movie memorabilia collector.