Posts Tagged With: sound stages

The Sound Stage Build: The Arena

I’m turning my attentions back to the main build of the project and fleshing out the details of each section one by one. This week I decided to focus on the arena part of the design. It’s a fairly basic shape and design in regards to details and features as it’s a subterranean space with little light. This section has to be set in the bowels of the building, so needed some kind of pillar structure and to drop down into the tank for depth.

I had a basic structure planned out for the space and now I’m working on the textures, details of doors, railings, lighting etc. It also houses the Huntsmen so it needs chains and will take on a horror theme with lighting and colour.

I collected lots of additional images to piece together an overall look in several mood boards.

arena mood board 1

arena mood board 2

arena mood board 3

I want the arena to have the feeling of a rustic, almost medieval/classical space but with modern/futuristic additions, such as lighting, doors, railings etc. It will also have hints at torture/confinement with the addition of chains.

I used Sketch Up to create a 3D model that can become  concepts but also can be viewed from several angles and directions.

arena 3b

arena 3d arena 3a


The next stages include finalising details and producing 1 or 2 concepts that show the space with all its colour, fixtures and fittings and technical drawings that will include a plan, elevation from 2 sides, cutting through the circular space.

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary, workshops and skills | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Working with White Card Models: The Medical Research Centre 1

I chose The Medical Research Centre to be my main sound stage model build this term as it provides a variety of interesting spaces to design. Some of the areas will work as composite sets to allow the characters to walk through, other parts will be separate.

I see that the sets will probably be broken up into three main sections:- Firstly the corridor, lift and main reception as one because of the ease of a walk through. They are all built on the same level, even though the lift has the illusion of taking the characters to different floors. The reception area will have a walkway above ground.

The second area will consist of stairs and corridor leading to the arena, plus the arena itself. Because the arena drops down it needs to be built inside the tank. The tank offers a good depth to create the floor, walls and allows for the balcony/walk area to be built over the edge of the tank. I chose to make the stairs/arena sections separate from the reception as there needs to be a drop in height from the stairs to the arena so they have to be built on platforms.

The third area will probably be a lab area which I have yet to design.

I had a go at working out the rough dimensions in white card, building the floor and tank area and then making the bare bones of the arena part of the model.

model 1 arena

The first picture shows the basic shape and how it will fit over the tank. The other images are views and development of the pillars and walls. There are no doors yet as this is work in progress. I need to add railings, floor and wall details and a whole section for the ceiling. The curve of the wall was created by scoring the foam board.

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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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