What does it take to make a great film set?

Movies are constantly improving on special effects, movies from just a couple decades ago would have obvious signs of stunt doubles and sketchy backgrounds. Thanks to the new and improved film set construction, movies are more real and have more than believable special effects. There is a lot going on though, behind the scenes to make this happen.

film set

Film set construction can be a very tedious process, and requires many people, with a different skills to work together to make something happen. Construction begins months ahead of time, sometimes years before the cameras even start rolling. The production designer must take words from the description on the script to create the scenery, and create the illusions necessary to help others understand what is going on and believe it. A lot of research must go into the film construction. For example, if they were filming a western, they would need to know what it looks like, what shops were there, plants, anything environmental that would be located in those areas at that time. Things like, if it can be found, or recreated, and what costs would have to be implemented, are some of the questions that are researched to know what will be needed to go on the set.

The art director then has the responsibility to turn the sketches presented by the production designer, in to reality. The art director overseas the employees so that the job gets done on time, and meets the needs of the sketches. Using technology, he or she must create a three dimensional design that will be handed off to the construction manager. Here is when the job gets more hands own, and professionals are needed in the construction process.

The construction manager is in charge of hiring professionals in construction ranging from painting, to plastering, and people who can manage operating heavy machinery. The actual construction process can take months, and is very physically involving. Sometimes there are accidents, and things have to be rebuilt, and reorganized. During this process, forklifts would be needed to carry heavy prop equipment, aid in film construction. A qualified forklift driver would be needed to do this. The construction manager must higher a forklift driver who has gone through his training and has been evaluated. Failing to hire a qualified forklift driver can cost the set a lot of money, since expensive equipment can be damaged. Forklift drivers are depended on to move much of this equipment, so they play a very important role in film set construction.

Finally, after months of construction, the final product is complete. Thanks to a workforce of construction workers, and art, the set is complete. Most times it doesn’t completely end there, since many action movies require rebuilds, but for the most part the movie set is acquired. By then it is up to the art department to assure the actors are dressed to fit the set theme, and up to the actors to play off of their surrounding. Depending on the special effects needed, technology is the used to create that movie magic.