Production Design — Filmmaking Techniques for Directors: Ep2


We all know writers
fear the blank page, but how often does a
director feel the same way about a blank frame. It’s easy to populate it
with actors in the location. But what about that space
in between the characters? How can you fill that space
with production design to create a specific
mood, to reveal character, or even communicate the
themes of the story. This video will show you how you can achieve those
goals with production design and visual contrast. Production design is the overall
visual look of the production. It encapsulates a unifying
vision for set design. “I live in the American
Gardens building on West 81st” Prompts. “That subtle of white coloring,
a tasteful thickness on it” Wardrobe. “He also has a penchant
for Valentino suits and Oliver Peoples glasses.” But why is production
design so important? On three major ways. Production design
sets the scene`s mood. Can reflect the
state of a character. And lastly,
it can articulate a stories themes. First, let’s look at
how it affects mood. Production design is often used
to affect view of feelings. Ask yourself, should this scene`s
production design be uplifting melancholic, or dreamy? Look at how Wes Anderson uses
art direction in this scene to reflect Richie’s emotions. It’s an empty room. The walls are empty. The whole art
direction feels empty. The result? We feel empty. Just like Richie. Now, contrast this with
another scene with Richie. Let’s freeze right there. Richie’s holding
a colorful drink. He’s on a yacht and look at those
wardrobe choices. They are bright,
colorful, whimsical. The set dressing,
it`s filled, lived in, bustling with trinkets. This life feels about
as full as this frame. But again,
look back at the other scene. How does this life feel? The production design is sparse. The color tones blue, samba. The walls are
closing in on Richie. It’s claustrophobic. Each element in the set dressing
adds up to create a full picture. Our next component is character. Production design
is a powerful way of externalizing the internal
state of a character. “What kind of dining set
defines me as a person?” Watch the first part of this
scene from “True Detective.” Rust Cohle storage
unit is a bit shocking. And if this is a look into the inner
state of Rust, we should be worried. According to the
show`s art director, actor Matthew McConaughey spent an
entire night helping to dress the unit to reflect Cohl`s inner state. Now, let’s go back and
look at how this contrasts with Rust`s apartment
earlier in the series. It’s nearly empty. “I’d offer you a seat but…” Production design
was used to show us how much obsessing over
this case changed Rust. Next up is theme. Production design can be used
to communicate a deeper meaning behind your images. The subtext. Watch this scene
from “Jurassic Park.” Did you see that? Watch it again. That’s DNA projected
onto that dinosaur. Contrast this with how the film
use DNA earlier in the movie. While “Jurassic Park”
is a monster movie, it’s also a movie the suggest
the real monster is man, as he tries to manipulate DNA. The theme of the movie is man’s
attempt to control nature. “scars what it explores.
What you call discovery, I call the rape of
the natural world.” It’s one thing to use
production design as a way to make you feel more
aesthetically pleasant. It’s another to use it
intelligently to tell a story. A simple way to do this is to employ the use
of a script break down. With StudioBinder, you can tag a scene set
dressing, props, wardrobe and share them with your team. Breakdowns on just
for logistics. They get you thinking more
carefully about production design. Which leads to better,
more creative choices. Feel free to share
if you like this, or leave a comment. See you in the next video.

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