Project development: Pre production research

This week I’m working between the practical side of my project and the theoretical research that will back up and influence my design decisions. The main focuses are pre-production, sound stages, location dressing, concepts and the changing role of the production designer. My practical work involves designing the main sound stage build; so completing a model, technical drawings, concept visuals, researching materials and then looking at how CGI is used in the sound stage build. Along side the practical elements I’m also having 2 days work shadowing a production designer; one day on set watching the shooting process and one day observing set dressing. These observations will form part of the production designer case study 1.

Firstly I wanted to look at what exactly is meant by some of the processes of pre-production:-


A span of time in which the production designer conceptualizes the film or TV show researching and producing drawings/concepts, technical drawings for the build. This usually lasts between two and three months on average. It involves everything that needs to be done before filming starts including what parts of the design will be set builds? What will be a location dress? How it will be filmed? (BARNWELL, J. 2004) Also included in this stage is the storyboarding in which each shot is thought through, with ideas coming from the director, production designer and director of photography. More often than not the storyboard is drawn up by a storyboard artist, but on low-budget films the production designer will take on this role (LOBRUTTO, V. 2002).

To complete my project I need to look at these elements in more detail over the next month and how they relate to my own designs:-

Concept art/visuals

Sound stages and builds

Set dressing

Technical drawings/plans/models

Location scouting


How all these relate to production and post production ( CGI and effects in particular)



BARNWELL, J., 2004. Production Design: Architects of the screen. New York: Wallflower

LOBRUTTO, V., 2002. The Filmmakers Guide to Production design. New York: Allworth Press

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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