How to build a film set: If we build it they film it. An art departments take.

Art Departments

"If We Build It, They Will Film." - Art Departments

It was all a dream, or rather, an idea born out of another amazing project.
While in pre-production, our producers hit a bit of a road block trying to find a viable location for an industrial set inside a construction trailer. Needless to say, finding a construction trailer to film in, on location, is difficult…contractors and architects apparently need those spaces to do their jobs.

Art Departments

Set Design FIrst Draft

Our producer team worked on finding a location that matched the full look and aesthetic of the script.
They looked at various portables, trailers, and spaces hoping to find one that was the perfect fit. At one point, they considered whether or not they could control the weather and film at an authentic location, when aforementioned contractors were delayed because of rain. However, the spaces that they’d found didn’t feel like they would give the full and needed breadth of the script, because they wouldn’t be able to accomplish the wide shots in these tight spaces.

But then, the light shone itself, our Art Department had built a wall for the backdrop of an internal project and the producers thought, “What if we built it?”

Enter the Art Department!

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Art Departments

Our amazing Art Department jumped on this opportunity with excitement and vigor.
They immediately drafted a set design to fit the clients needs and specifications…and boy, did it wow the team as well!  There was no doubt in our minds that our talented team could get it done, but there was also no doubt in our minds that this was a heavy lift with a week and a half turnaround time. So, they hit the ground running.

Once the designs were approved, it was time for the Art Department to get their hands dirty on the build; starting with the walls. The team began building flats, supports to hold them up, a working door, and windows because no trailer is complete without letting a little light in. This was a strenuous process with measuring, sawing, and drilling, but when the dust settled (the saw dust, of course) we had walls!
Even though they’d officially mounted the flats evenly together in a 12 x 16 x 12 walled space, it was only the beginning. After the supports were safely secured and weighed with sandbags, they got to work sanding all the flats. To ensure that all the lines between the flats were seamless, the Art Department added multiple layers of mudding for a nice smooth finish. To wrap up the walls, they added a fresh coat of paint and were meticulous about the details of the paint hue selection.
“We looked at several slightly off-white paints that were all very similar but slightly different from each other. We selected a white with a blue undertones to keep the room from feeling sterile and contrast with the warm light that was pushed through the windows by G&E.”

Melissa St. Clair

Senior Producer and Head of Art Department.

Once the perfect paint was selected, it was time to add the client approved flooring and industrial style trim. They wrapped up the final touches foundation by painting the door and the window trim, and mounting blinds in the windows.
Holy hell! What about set dressing?! “Forgetaboutit.” While the build team focused on erecting the room, the Property team was focusing on sourcing props to make the space come alive. This is where the true mastery of the art department comes to life; dressing the space to resemble an on-site office for a construction site. The team leaned into the industrial style and honed in on all the intricate details, right down to the power chords and lightswitch. As it all came together it felt like we’d stepped into an actual construction site trailer; both crew and talent were immersed and impressed.

Not only were we able to prove to ourselves that we could pull off a full set build and dressing within our space, we also wowed our client with the endless possibilities of ECG Production’s capabilities and they were thoroughly pleased. Are you also impressed? Our studio is a blank slate for your creative needs, and our killer Art Department knows no bounds!

Contact us today and we’ll get started on your Set of Dreams!

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