How To Design A Movie Set – Planning & Execution

Movie Set

Making a movie set is also a kind of unsung art. If you do it in wrong way than the audience are going to think that movie is very cheap and is of low budget. And in case if you do it right way than no one is going to notice it at all. The good way it not about flashy or expensive, it is all about setting it simply naturally into the scene.

1) Studying the script :

The most important part of the movie is the script. It consists of all the information about the movie like story, characters, plot and the required information of the movie. By going through the script you will get an idea how to set should look. While reading the script make a note of some of the things like the time period, ambiance, geography, background props needed. And also the mood of the scrip, number of characters And the location of the design.

2) Discuss with the director about the set :

You must remember one thing that is you have to design the set the way the director has visualized the movie. So for that you have to talk or discuss with the director. From which you will come to know his point of view or else you can also give some free ideas in relation to script. You can sit and discuss with the director about the whole plan, theme, and all the necessary props that they want to incorporate or that can incorporated. Before that the most important that you need to know is the budget. So that you can start planning according to the script within that budget.

3) Sketching the mock design of the set :

There are many ways by which you can design a set and the final goal is to design a set. You can design it in sketch up, or drawing or photography or from other films. But before starting any things ones show to the direction so that your time is not wasted unnecessarily. Click photos of the props, locations, and rooms which you get through online or real life. Or else you can even sketch with pencil and paper, the front view is the best to understand it best. And lastly by showing the director the clips of other films which you will design it in more unique way to make it look different and beautiful.

4) Decide how to build the set :

First of all you have to decide whether you are going to build the set or use the exiting location as set. This is the most crucial decision to make. As it will affect the budget, scenes, and  film making process. And in both the cases it has both pros and cons. It will best if the director make a decision related to it. Because he knows better what he actually want ? How is actually want the set to ?

5)  Make a budget for your design :

Budget is the most important and least fun part in the whole process. It is an essential skill for everyone involved in the film making. You want any problem or issue in the middle of the design like shortage of money or you have run out of money. Therefore it is very essential to have a calculation of everything like pros, location etc. So that within that budget you can plan and design the whole set. And in case if you are using any existing location than  make sure to inquire if there is any fee for it.

6) Search of a location :

Grab a nice camera and set out on the road in search of a location. Visit as many places a you can and select and click pics of some of the options. That you would like to use in your set. Take shot of the whole room from every angle with proper lighting. So that when the director see it, he can analyse it clearly. And also click pics of furniture, decorations, and props that will suit with you design perfectly.

7) Decide which part to use :

Decide in the whole room which part of it you are going to use. You can divide the room and design with two to three walls. But in case if the director want to use the whole room than make sure to design it such a way that it will look like as it is in the movie.

8) Designing room lines :

Create lines in the room, which will create a illusion of movement for the audience. Create lines everywhere on couches, floorboard and the horizon of the room. Remember to create design in 3D and the lines in the 2D plan. Thinking of your set like you were composing a photograph will always lead to more interesting designs.

9) Removing the brand images :

Remove or cover up or hide all the brand names or images that are in the set. Because it may sometime cost money or else you may get sued for anything. So it is better not to take anything of that sort of risk. Or else if you want to show than take permission from respective brand. And if they charge and if you have that much budget than you can pay for it.

10) Less is more :

Unless the point of the scene is that things are cluttered and chaotic, less is more in the scene. You don’t want the audience focusing on your set, you want them focusing on the actors and action. A great set is unobtrusive it feels natural and realistic, less like a set and more like a room you could visit in real life.

11) Light the whole set with cinematographer :

After lighting, there is a good chance you’ll need to redesign the set a bit to eliminate awkward shadows or fit in lighting stands. This is also a chance to put in any practicals, which are lights that appear as part of the final movie, like lamps or ceiling lights. The cinematographer is also in charge of camera placement, meaning this is the time to work out crew placement and check how your scene looks at specific camera angles.


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