I am considering building a set of an interior a kitchen or a living room. I would build the set on a concrete patio that is really just a slab of concrete. It would be great if the set could be easily dismantled and stored in a POD. I was wondering if anyone has considered or done such a thing before and where did yous tart resource wise.. tools.. techniques.. where did you find the knowledge to build walls ect.
Thanks in advance.
Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:48 am
Joined: 02 Apr 2007 Posts: 190 Location: Portland, OR
Theatrical sets are built from portable flats, and are an economical and flexible way to go. There are many books out there on stagecraft...definitely check out your local library on the topic.
Joined: 13 Aug 2007 Posts: 857 Location: SouthBay -- L.A.
I used to make them from 1x3 pine frames covered in 1/8" door skin (luan)- use a router with a trim bit to trim the edges up in seconds. Staple the skin to the frame, only takes a few minutes to assemble. Use a door hinge to make parts collapsible (to fit through a doorway for instance) either to "fold" the flat, or pull the pin out and remove the section.
STOCK SCENERY CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK by Bill Raoul. Broadway Press 1990.
There's probably a more recent edition, but if not, this is worth hunting up on Abebooks.
Plywood is also available in 4' x 10' sheets, but that's probably overkill.
For a little more cash but less labor, Masonite is available with a number of different faux surfaces, including brick. I rented a brick warehouse for a couple of months for my first extravaganza, and used one interior corner of the real brick and two set walls, one fixed, one wild. It came out great. Many types of plank wood simulations are also available. Painted faux finishes look exactly like paint. If any shots will have the walls in focus, and the idea is to look real, not fake, consider the masonite.
Raoul points out that by designing around stock sizes of flats, everything can be reusable. Of course, storage is a major factor, but if you can put your work out of the weather, it might well be worth building your sets strong. You might be able to get away with 1/8" thick plywood, *if* you add additional bracing behind. Build a flat with the thinnest sheetrock, and prep it properly, and your actors can easily punch through it. Sheet rock is also a fine material to use for hiding squibs for on-set "gun shot" gags.
If you're going to reuse your flats, it isn't overkill to polyurethane the back sides and braces (with the cheapest polyurethane you can find). Wood moves with variations in humidity, but this treatment will prevent that.
For a box set, give up a ceiling. You'll probably need a floor; that can be as simple as 4x8 sheets of painted cardboard, duct taped together on the down side -- recycle them when you're done.
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