Top of the Props

Luke Skywalker's lightsabre. Imagine how much this prop would go for on ebay

Props can be difficult to deal with. First of all, you need to acquire them. Sometimes you even need to make them. Then you need to be able to look after them properly, and after the shoot, you often want to get rid of them.

For the props you buy, they’re fairly simple. Acquire them and keep them safe. Depending on your scene, you may need anything from ornaments and posters to more active things like computers, mobile phones and weaponry. If you do absolutely have to have weaponry, you really would benefit from following the rules of your local authority and chat to the police before hand.

You can't go brandishing something like this around without people worried it is real. Be sensible - contact your local council and Police force first before filming!

In terms of making them, try to pay as much attention to detail as possible. Match the texture of the imitated object. If something is meant to be shiny, make it shiny. You can pour a massive amount of creativity into your props, and it can look amazing.

Also don’t be afraid to go through trial and error. It’s often a given that the first time around, the prop may not look up to scratch. Keep at it! Find out why it doesn’t look up to the task, and then improve on it. Whether it means going back to the drawing board, or simply alter the manufacturing process, it’s better to do this than to go ahead with an unconvincing prop.

An unconvincing blade means it's not going to be a convincing sword fight

Now, I’ve not done too much prop work myself, but it’s only common sense that you have somebody dedicated to looking after your props. This person should not just be in charge of keeping an eye on the props, but also keeping track of them, bringing them to the set and making sure every needed prop gets to it’s set. There’s nothing worse than going on location, having everything all set up and forgetting a vital missing prop. Oh, and the technical term for the person in charge of the props – the Prop Master. A grand title is a good reward for some fairly mundane work (although if you like doing it, good for you! Everyone should work as the things they love to do).

So there you are. Research and experiment! If there’s any particular props you want to know how to make, send the suggestion to me, and I’ll see about researching it, possibly making it and giving you tips on it.

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One Comment on “Top of the Props”

  1. […] up believing that you’re trying to maul people to death truly is a set back to filming. Paul has talked briefly on this […]


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