Production Designers

Following a revamp on the Varisty set I have now found myself undertaking a role in set design and construction. Visiting lecturer and friend James Helps as a really useful connection in bettering my understanding of the role. With Lewys having the knowledge of constructing and designing a set I can build upon my active approach through bettering my understanding of the role.

A production designer will be responsible for the visual concept of a television production, the role does exist in other forms of media and entertainment. In the early stages of pre-production they will work with directors to understand the production brief and start considering ideas. Often drawing up models and designs they will continue to refine their design until approval from the director and producer.

This has very much been Lewys’s role as he was working closely with Minty regarding the design and construction for Varsity and the Elections. Since Minty stepped down I have almost stepped into this producer/director role as I help to oversee the visual concept for the project alongside lighting.

Once approved the production designer will often head an art department. Here is where they start to manage and adapt their design in order to see it physically constructed. Monitoring the project they will also keep an eye on the budget to ensure every is done to schedule, effectively a project manager for the art department. Some may get involved physically with construction whilst others prefer to step back purely as a creative head.

This is where Lewys and my roles have started to intertwine. He is the creative head with the design and has the skills to calculate how best to construct it. My input is monitoring the budget and schedule, my producer skills being put to good use. Between the two of us we are managing to spread the workload naturally and fulfil the production criteria. As we near production I anticipate both of us getting involved with the construction.

Looking back at the professional industry I started to briefly look at some example of set design companies. Giordano Design specialise in television sets along with construction and installation for film and live broadcast. Their company acts as production designer and is able to provide teams of professionals to cover all elements associated with this element of production (e.g. carpenters, lighting designers, decorators, etc).

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 16.49.40

Another example is London based Eye-Catching Design. As with Giordano Design they provide professionals for all elements involved with production design and construction, branches across the mediums of film, television and live events. Examples of their work include Dragons Den, Channel 4 Racing and The English Premier League.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 16.52.40

It seems that in the professional industry it continues to be the battle between bringing in freelancers or contracting an entire company. Aside from this project there is potential for me to investigate careers in lighting through a company like this.


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