Picture Warehouse 13 or the expansive storage facility of mysterious artifacts in the Indiana Jones series. Hidden in crates and catalogued on shelves, there are thousands of miscellaneous items that each tells a story. In feature film and television, props are a critical part of storytelling and setting a realistic scene. Like Dr. Jones, the prop buyer is a treasure hunter that combs through those shelves.
The paint coordinator on a film or television show is hired by the production designer or art director and is responsible for the supervision and organization of the paint department, as well as the execution of all paint assignments, including painting sets, props, backdrops, signs, and permanent buildings or soundstages.
The costume buyer makes a living shopping for clothes for film and television stars, but there is more to it than racking up an impressive bill on the department’s credit card. This person is the conduit through which the designer sources his or her materials, scours L.A. for the perfect bomber jacket, and pulls together the look that defines a character.
No matter how impressive the set or visual effects, the scene does not feel organic without set dressings; these include tables, chairs, utensils, and anything else that occupies a scene (but the actor doesn’t touch) that makes a space feel lived in and realistic. To assist in bringing the set to life, set dressers are tasked with implementing the set decorator’s design.
Just about everything an actor touches or uses in a scene is considered a prop. Taking into account the full run of a two-hour movie, that could amount to hundreds or even thousands of objects. To keep the massive inventory organized and make sure that every item is at the cast’s fingertips when it’s needed, the assistant property master is the right hand of the department.
Realistic particle and fluid effects are among the most challenging visual effects to recreate in the digital environment. Such effects include fire, smoke, moving water, air debris, snow, and clouds. To accomplish a convincing sequence involving these effects, studios rely on the expertise of a technical director to solve complex computer modeling and geometry problems.
Previsualization is a process used in feature filmmaking and television production to plan out complex visual effects sequences during the pre-production phase; this enables the director and cinematographer to see rough animatics of their shots in a fast and inexpensive manner before committing time, crew, and resources to filming.
In the fields of visual effects and digital animation, as with live-action, lighting is an important element that creates mood, depth, and realism in a scene. Whether producing a fully animated film or enhancing a filmed sequence with the use of computer-generated imagery, lighting artists put some of the last finishing touches on the project.
A previz artist is a skilled generalist with considerable experience in digital animation and a keen eye for cinematography. He or she is a member of the visual effects team who is responsible for creating previsualization animatics during pre-production. At the request of the director, animatics are used to plan various iterations of a complex scene, providing the director with a rough representation of character blocking, the environment, digital effects, and other cinematic elements.
Three-dimensional scanning is a process by which people, objects, or environments are analyzed by a device that can transmit that data for constructing digital 3-D representations of the subject. This process differs from motion capture.