View Full Version : Not sure where to begin??? Help please

05-05-2009, 03:35 PM
Hi guys...

Was wondering if I could ask some advice.
The next film I want to shoot will be in one location, a very claustrophobic atmosphere.
Due to money constraints and other technical issues I am seriously considering moving all of my equipment from my studio (smallish) into my bedroom and temporarily converting my studio into that claustrophobic room that I wish to shoot the film in.

However I really wouldn't know where to begin having never done production design before. It needs to be very temporary so that when I have finished filming I can return the studio back to the original room. I'm not going to be taking walls down. I was thinking that maybe a way to do it would be to cover the walls with MDF or something like that so that I can then paint and distress the walls, or maybe cover the walls in posters, flyers etc.

The floor has carpet so I need to cover that with something.
As yet I'm not sure of the content or aesthetic of the film but am in the process of researching and bouncing ideas about to see what is possible.

Would any one have any ideas or pointers?

Many thanks for your time and help.


05-06-2009, 03:03 AM
You can do a lot with color:

- Darker colors make the room feel small.
- When you paint the ceiling a bit darker then the floor, the room will feel like its less heigh.
here some tips: http://www.house-painting-info.com/painting-tips-to-make-a-room-appear-larger.html

But remember: keep enough place for your filming equipment and lights.

You can also use a camera trick: Put the scene on one side of the room and film from the other side. When switching cameraview, you shift the scene towards the first point where the camera was.

Example (o is the set, x is the camera)

First time:
o x

Second time:
x o

If you paste the footage after each other it will look as if the room is this big:

I use this trick all the time to "create" rooms of the propper size. Ofcourse you can't overdo it or it will get obvious, but it will help a little bit.

Practical, I would put some closets or stuff in the room to cover the wall's and make it seem smaller. What you put is the room is depending on your setting ofcourse. Posters are cheap and easy to cover walls.

Do you need to rebuild the room a lot or is it just for 1 time? Keep track of the continuity if you need to rebuild more then once.

Sad Max
05-06-2009, 09:00 AM
It will probably be faster/easier/cheaper to simply paint over the existing paint finish in the room, then restore it with another coat of paint when you are done. Putting up MDF means screw holes in the walls, which means a bunch of filling, sanding and painting when you're done, anyway, plus the cost of the MDF itself, plus the time/effort to strike and dispose of it, after shooting.

If you feel that you *have* to cover the walls with a substrate, use thin masonite instead: lighter and cheaper; easier to work with.

Posters/fliers sounds like a good solve because it offers the opportunity to tell some story with the choice of posters and flyers you put up. Whatever your character has up on his/her walls tells you something about who/where they are...plus a much easier strike when you're finished.

05-08-2009, 05:51 AM
Thanks guys for your help and ideas...

I may have to change my location though due to practicalities...
and so I may have to use a basement cellar, it has lights, electricity etc...No natural light.

But I may be limited in it's scope, because it's a cellar.
I can paint the walls, bring in objects and design stuff...

Any ideas or thoughts on how to make a cellar look...mmm well just not obviously like a cellar, something thats a bit more ambiguous, the obvious scene that come to mind is the basement scene in 'Saw' but that seems just a bit obvious.

Thanks guys for your help and ideas...


05-11-2009, 09:53 PM
When having to dress walls, unfinished ceilings, etc. we've had good luck using heavy builder's paper from Home Depot. Contractors will often cover floors with this before spraying, texturing etc. You can use office type staplers to hang over existing sheetrock when color changes are necessary and the homeowner doesn't want multiple coats of paint on their walls. We put it up and then spray with airless paint sprayer, sometimes even airbrush backdrops. Since it's not staying up, we use the el cheapo new sheetrock white primer and goof colors - often available for $1/gal. The office type staples will pull right out leaving near invisible holes.

05-13-2009, 09:54 AM
Thanks Guys...