Posts Tagged With: The Road (film)

Production Design: The concept or visual

Concept drawings are impressions of the set, often starting out as simple pencil drawings and becoming full colour renders that encapsulate the look of the film (LoBRUTTO, V., 2002). These can take on many forms from rough sketches to paintings with many being produced using computer software like Sketch Up or Vectorworks. The concept or visual is also used as a tool to show the set or character with possible colour schemes and overall mood of the scene ( BARNWELL, J., 2004). I have always had a fascination with the concept and while researching my project I have come across so many different styles. The following images are taken from various dystopian/post apocalyptic films and TV shows. Here they show how the concept creates the atmosphere and gives an overall impression of setting, props, lighting and colour.

road3

road2

Above: A visual concept from The Road found at  http://liveforfilms.wordpress.com/tag/concept-art/page/3/[sourced on 5/3/14]

TWD_prison_concept_1

Walking Dead 9.jpg-large

Walking Dead 8.jpg-large

Visuals from The Walking Dead found at http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/walking-dead-showrunner-unloads-stash-concept-art-exit-photos-75131 [sourced on 5/3/14]

largecom

largecom3

Visuals from The Children of Men by Peter Popken found at http://abduzeedo.com/astonishing-movie-art-concepts-peter-popken [sourced on 5/3/14]

References:-

Visuals:- http://liveforfilms.wordpress.com/tag/concept-art/page/3/ [sourced on 5/3/14]

http://www.thewrap.com/tv/column-post/walking-dead-showrunner-unloads-stash-concept-art-exit-photos-75131 [sourced on 5/3/14]

http://abduzeedo.com/astonishing-movie-art-concepts-peter-popken [sourced on 5/3/14]

 

Books:- LoBRUTTO, V., 2002. The Filmmakers Guide to Production Design. New York: Allworth press

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

 

 

Advertisement
Categories: dystopian film and designers, post-apocalyptic film and design, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Post Apocalyptic Landscape: Location and Production Design(The Road)

When  watching films and TV programmes I am always trying to guess which locations are real and which are built sets or have been altered with CGI.

Being fascinated with derelict buildings and looking at the photographs that I have recently documented I am turning my attentions to actual locations that have been used, albeit slightly altered to suit filming. From a production design point of view, it’s interesting to see how and what informs the decision-making for the Production Designer/Director and whether it is story or budget or both that influence these.

 

Here are a few actual locations used for post apocalyptic films/TV so far:-

The Road

Much of the filming was done in Pittsburgh and not in the studio as the budget was small and the story  called for multiple locations. Chris Kennedy talks about his location experiences to Rochelle Siemienowicz.

“AFI: And was it always going to be a location-based shoot? Was there ever any talk about doing it in a studio?

CK: Basically it was an independent film and always had a very small budget, so there wasn’t really the money to do it in a studio. Also it’s a journey story and needed a lot of different locations. So straight away that meant asking the question what kind of landscapes can we use? Straight off the bat, what country can we go to? Russia would be good – Chernobyl! Those kind of landscapes. Iceland was one idea. Even thought about Australia. But what about the gum trees? And blue sky? A lot of people just think, ‘oh post-apocalyptic, oh go to the desert.’ But of course the  book isn’t set in the desert. It’s set in North America. So I spent a fair bit of time online looking at places in America and found all kinds of places. Eight miles of abandoned freeway in Pennsylvania, a beach in Oregon, an abandoned amusement park. Started putting together a list of locations, the ideal plan. We had to do a certain amount of it in Pennsylvania due to tax incentives. So a lot of it in Pittsburgh rather than where we wanted to. We found pretty much what we needed. Abandoned coal piles. And Pittsburgh itself is pretty much an abandoned city. Back in the early 20th century  basically half the population left…so that all came together pretty well.”

http://www.afi.org.au/AM/ContentManagerNet/HTMLDisplay.aspx?ContentID=9954&Section=Turning_words_into_pictures_An_interview_with_production_designer_Chris_Kennedy [sourced 30/12/2013]

The following images are taken from the film and are courtesy of Dimension Films. They are of locations in post Katrina New Orleans, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

road_beach_1200-660x277

An Oregon beach location.

The Road excerpt:
They stood on the rock jetty and looked out to the south. A gray salt spittle lagging and curling in the rock pool. Long curve of beach beyond. Gray as lava sand.road_bridge_1200

Abandoned freeway in Pennsylvania.

road_suburbs_12001

Post-Katrina New Orleans.

road_industrial_1200

“One of the more compelling aspects of John Hillcoat’s 2009 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road is the fact that the film’s post-apocalyptic landscapes are not computer generated but largely shot on real locations in the United States.”( Cited Chiarella 2009: 91).

The below statement is taken from the blog post  It’s All out There:-

“Production designer Chris Kennedy scouted a number of locations in post-Katrina New Orleans, including the devastated neighborhood pictured above. He also found Pennsylvania to be a treasure trove of desolate settings. “The state has depressed socioeconomic situations in suburbs like Braddock and Keysport and devastated mining areas with coal piles and fly-ash piles that looked like a blackened landscape,” Kennedy said in a statement.” (Landskiper.BlogSpot.co.uk, 2011)

 

For the most part The Road was all about location and America provided many opportunities for filming. Some CGI was used in the bleaching out of colour particularly when dealing with sunnier places such as New Orleans to create the desired effect. America and other large countries will provide many locations similar and it would be interesting to see if the same can be said for the smaller more heritage influenced UK.

road_lede

Director Hillcoat discusses the film’s use of CGI when dealing with the New Orleans location above. Image courtesy of Dimension Films. Sourced from http://landskipper.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/its-all-out-there.html

“This maritime wreckage was filmed in Louisiana by an Imax documentary crew two days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area. “Cormac’s material felt so familiar, like we’ve already seen it,” Hillcoat said. “That’s why we went to the leftovers of Katrina. Then we used CGI to take out the bright blue sky and green grass.”

References:-

SIEMIENOWICZ, R., 2010. Turning words into pictures:An interview with production designer Chris Kennedy [online]. The Australian Film Institute. Available at: www.afi.org.au/AM/ContentManagerNet/HTMLDisplay.aspx?ContentID=9954

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2009/11/the-road-page-to-screen/3/[sourced 30/12/2013]

2011. It’s All Out There. Available at http://landskipper.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/its-all-out-there.html [sourced 30/12/2013]

Cited sources from Chiarella, Tom (2009) ‘The Most Important Movie of the Year’ Esquire June: 87-91.[sourced on 30/12/2013]

Categories: post-apocalyptic film and design | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Designing the future: Clarifying dystopian and post apocalyptic

Designs of the future can be divided into utopian or dystopian in their  underpinning conception. The surface design tends to fall into a limited set of styles, defined as futurism, retro futurism, realism, gothic and post apocalyptic” (BARNWELL, J., 2004: pg 100)

I have already looked at some futurism art references so I will now turn my attentions to post apocalyptic futures and what dystopian actually means in terms of society, film and literature.

When dealing with film and fiction, dystopia and post apocalyptic are usually categorised as separate types of film although some stories encompass both situations.

Dystopian:- The antithesis of utopian: figuring a nightmarish world in which rational impulses to engineer society back-fire dangerously. (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000)

dys·to·pi·a

noun

a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.(online. available at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dystopian?s=t  [sourced on 21/12/2013]
So looking at recent films I can start to clarify what films are classed as dystopian:-
min rep
Minority Report (2002) Picture and budget courtesy of IMDb.com  :-
In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181689/
Production Designer:- Alex McDowell
Director:- Steven Spielberg

Budget:

$102,000,000               (estimated)

Utopian:- An imaginary state of ideal harmony and perfection derived from Thomas More’s Utopia (1516).  (KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000) For the purposes of comparison.

Post apocalyptic:-

a·poc·a·lyp·tic

adjective

1.

of or like an apocalypse; affording a revelation or prophecy.
2.

pertaining to the Apocalypse or biblical book of Revelation.
3.

predicting or presaging imminent disaster and total or universal destruction: the apocalyptic vision of some contemporary writers.
(online. available at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/post-apocalyptic?s=t [sourced on 21/12/2013]
So anything set after  apocalyptic events such as large-scale environmental disasters, widespread viruses, biblical events, wars etc. Living in the after times is termed as post apocalyptic.
the road
The Road (2009) picture and information  courtesy of IMDb.com
A post-apocalyptic tale of a man and his son trying to survive by any means possible. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Production Designer:- Chris Kennedy
Director:- John Hillcoat

Budget:

$25,000,000               (estimated)

The films and books are often categorised together as there is often a cross over of ideas, situations or causes. The same audiences or readers are drawn to both kind of stories as seen in on-line book groups such as Apocalypse Whenever found at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/967-apocalypse-whenever. Both types of story are generally about forms of survival.
What I will be looking at as part of my research is the audience/social context  through engaging with fans of the genre but also as a designer thinking about such questions as:- Are there differences between the two strands of dystopian and post apocalyptic stories in terms of design? Do they present the same problems in terms of budget and approach?
At first glance at the two example films above, there does seem to be quite a difference between the size of budgets. I will look at this in more detail in future research.
References:- BARNWELL, J., 2004. Production design: Architects of the Screen. London, New York: Wallflower
                        KING, G., & KRZYWINSKA, T., 2000. Science Fiction cinema: From Outerspace to Cyberspace. London:
                        Wallflower
                        Online sources :- https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/967-apocalypse-whenever
                                                        www.IMDb.com
                                                        http://dictionary.reference.com [All sourced on 21/12/2013]
Categories: Dystopian and post-apocalyptic philosophy, dystopian film and designers, post-apocalyptic film and design | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.