The growing possibilities
Film crews can be absolutely massive sometimes. In fact, the crew on The Lord of the Rings trilogy was as big as 2,600 people! To be fair, that was an unprecedented scale of production at the time. But larger crews were becoming more and more common as the idea of just what was possible in cinema was being upended by new technology and heftier budgets. Just a few years later the production of the film Avatar rang in at a crew of nearly 3,000. In a general crew breakdown, the bulk of the folks are going to be in the visual effects departments, because it’s just not possible to shoot some scenes (or at least the scenes springing from Peter Jackson and James Cameron’s collective brains) practically — meaning physically, without the need for SFX.
But of course, we are yet in the general era of filmmaking where things shot practically still look the best. We can all um and ah about how soon this already closing era will be totally ushered out in lieu of the supremely sophisticated CGI technology that is no doubt being perfected as we speak. But, for now, let’s keep it brick and mortar. We will eventually get to the topic of set dressing, after all (which is, arguably, one of the most hands-on aspects of filmmaking).
Every crew member matters
In general, the reason for such large crews is very simple — it takes lots of working hands to create the perfect shot. If visual effects are usually the biggest department, art department generally takes second. Set dressers are one piece of that pie, and a very important one at that. They typically work under a Set Decorator or Leadman on set, bringing some creative vision to fruition. While set dressing may not be the most complicated job on set, it does require lots of heavy lifting, literally. Set dressers are responsible for moving furniture based on the set design and making sure the set looks right. Typically set dressers should be pretty handy too. They are expected to hang pictures and level uneven tables and fix wonky cabinets, among a thousand other things. Occasionally, they may even install small electrical items, such as power outlets and light switches.
So versatility and a solid work ethic are key in this gig. While the creative direction may come from somewhere else, it’d go nowhere (or go somewhere very slowly) without the help of amazing set dressers on set everywhere.
Building the dream at ECG
At ECG, we know what it takes to build up a vision from scratch. Our seasoned production team has turned an empty set into an airplane interior and a hotel room and a bike retail shop (all in a week long production!) We never forget how important every single crew member, including set dressers, are to the final video product, which is why we only work with the best in the business. Our connections with experienced film crew range from right here in the ATL to LA and New York.
Whatever your vision is, trust us to get it right. Get the conversation started today!