Props for set dressing at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > SPC - Single Person Crew

SPC - Single Person Crew
Who said "One is the Loneliest Number?" You'll never walk alone here.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 21st, 2013, 01:04 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Props for set dressing

I do a lot of interviews in random offices. For my backgrounds, I get to deal with blank walls, whiteboards, or (if I'm lucky) a bookcase. I'm not a big fan of the office ficus tree or fake flowers. Can you suggest set dressings that are:
1)Portable
2)Durable
3)Somewhat generic (fits into many environments)

I keep a pop-up background and a few gels & cookies (not the edible kind), but I'm hoping to brainstorm some new ideas for those especially blank locations.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 21st, 2013, 01:44 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,076
Re: Props for set dressing

I keep two $10 lamp/lampshade combos in the van at all times, along with one of those slider dimmers. I also keep a handfull of regular lightbulbs, in case I find a light at a location that works, but has a CFL.

From there, I just steal things from other offices. For the frequency with which I would use stuff, I have a hard time justifying the space it takes up in the van. I used to have a globe, and a few tchotchkes, but stuff tends to get destroyed rolling around the van, and a cardboard globe did not last long. (Lampshades are also a challenge, but cheap to replace.)
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 21st, 2013, 03:24 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,677
Re: Props for set dressing

Oren,

I have to build make shift "sets" for interviews all over the place. One of the most useful things in my grip kit (case full of super useful STUFF) is black wrap. The real kind, Cinefoil by Rosco. In addition to rounding up, vases, artwork, ficus trees (yes, when I have to), and anything else I can borrow from surrounding areas I break up my background light with the black wrap. I still use a lot of Lowell lights. They come with that nifty square gel holder perfect for clipping the foil to. All it takes is the foil and my leatherman tool. I cut holes in random patterns to suite the need at the time. Sometimes I put a colored gel behind it if appropriate but often not. Then make sure it is the proper distance from the lamp to be out of focus and you now have a cool background light.

A couple of times instead of random patterns I cut squares to look like window panes. It looked like light from a window was making a shadow on the wall even though there was no window in the room. If you want to get really creative you can cut their logo or something out of it to make it look like a gobo.

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 21st, 2013, 03:48 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Re: Props for set dressing

Thanks Mike and Steve. The lamps was an idea I've toyed with, but it's one more breakable thing to pack. As for Cinefoil, I keep quite a few folded segments in my camera kit (tucks in under the foam and takes up almost no space). I use it mostly for snoots and flags on LED lights. For cookies, I have black foamcore precut in random patterns. It travels in my larger light kit case. The lights I really like for background are the square/rectangular paper lanterns like IKEA sells. They are a bit bulky though...and not always suitable for corporate talking heads.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 21st, 2013, 06:36 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Props for set dressing

I recently picked up stands and a black muslin background cloth. It's an interesting style choice. It really isolates the subject and any props and gives a serious, professional feel to the footage. And if you don't have a DSLR and a fast prime, it doesn't matter. DOF doesn't really come into play with a black background.

One tip: get a MUCH bigger background than you expect to need. Mine is 10' x 10' (or is it 12x12? Can't recall.) If you want a comfortable frame, the room isn't too big so the camera is forward, and you move the subject away from the backdrop to get a hairlight in, you quickly find that a 6x6 would be FAR too small. Of course, as long as you encircle the subject, you can fix the edges in post, but it's quicker to get it right in production.

My kit also came with a white background, though I'm not sure I'd ever use it. And I can always add green or blue in the future, if needed.

Another reason to separate the subject and background is spill from the key. They eye can see the spill clearly, but with reasonable separation and contrast in the camera, the sensor won't see it.

Even if a black background isn't your style, it could be a good solution when the only quiet location is really ugly. :)

BTW, I only got the backdrop because I needed to shoot a local interview to match the style of an interview at a separate location done by a different company. Even with different cameras and lights, we were able to get a reasonable match.

I guess that's another advantage of the black backdrop. It completely removes the context of time and space. You can shoot months and miles apart and the audience would never know.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 22nd, 2013, 06:51 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: switzerland
Posts: 2,131
Re: Props for set dressing

well either you got a background (i mean something decent you can shoot at) or you don't have (the usual blank white wall or fake ficus). Instead trying to put some curtain with (bad) fake design) i would either:
1) find a nice place to shoot
2) key the scene to a really nice background. In that case you have several choices.
a) a silly background (not related at all with the subject) but very nice
b) a backround related to subject that you can shoot offline (waiting for example the best moment for light or noise or crowd)
Giroud Francois is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 22nd, 2013, 04:32 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Props for set dressing

Giroud,

The black background doesn't fit into your points 1-2b, but it's something for people to consider - if they like that style. Here's an example:


(Note that the lighting could be much improved with a better hair or rim light, especially for people with dark hair or clothing.)

Stylistically, it's 100% not distracting. It's professional, clean, and possibly authoritative and intimate. But it also lacks context and the human touch. It's probably best for corporate work and heavy testimonials. It's certainly serious and not lighthearted. It could be especially effective when revealing the inner workings of a secretive group. With good, clean audio, it can give the viewer the feeling that they are alone with the subject, speaking in confidence.

This would be the opposite of 2a) above, but by replacing the black cloth with green, you can do that too. But then you have to smooth the cloth and light it evenly. A nice feature of the black cloth is that you don't need a single background light. In fact, masking the light is the challenge. Another advantage is that you can perfect your lighting setup and easily repeat it.

But it's a very particular style choice. Use black backgrounds wisely. :)
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > SPC - Single Person Crew

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:06 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network