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Custo Waltz

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22.03.2010 //

Filmset Information

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Our freaky supported filmteam built up a whole movie set and sent us that text, just for fun, but we liked it, that´s why we'd like to share it with you. How to build a professional movie set - information from our supported movie team.

This page tells you how we built a professional filmset in 2 months. We´re NOT professional movie-set constructers, we don´t want to force you to build a set like we did. We just want to share our story with you so that you don´t make the same mistakes as the ones we made. The whole instruction is based on the set for the short-movie Nibiru.


First of all you should think about your movie-script. Is it good enough to invest money in its realisation? Secondly: Is it good enough to BUILD A FILMSET for the realisation of the movie? As soon as you´re sure that you can´t film your movie in real locations, you´re on the right webpage.

But ATTENTION: You should realise how much work it is to build a filmset! We never thought that it would take us 2 months of our lives - but yes, guys, it did! On the other hand a filmset gives you the opportunity to build EVERYTHING like you want it! It´s YOUR personal LOCATION that will give your movie a very special style.

During our research for our filmset we found out that the main reason why students build filmsets is because they want to look professional. Yes, they do, really! But only a few of them do it the right way, because they can´t find the place that they want to have in their movie in real life and they want to have enough space for every camera position that they think about. We had nearly the same problem: We had to use the corporate identity of a company which is still a construction area and so we had to build our own locations that look exactly like their places will look like.

Nevertheless, here is how we did it:

First of all we had the plans and the construction area what the location should look like, you can see one of the rooms in this picture:

As you can see ... we built a tricky movie set!

So first of all it is important to make plans and layouts what your filmset should look like and how big you want to build your filmset. The room that you can see above was really huge on our filmset - if we started again, we would build it smaller, because it´s easy to use camera tricks how a room looks bigger but it is hard to fill a huge room with people!

When you design your layout, you should be aware of the fact that everything is possible! Cause if you only need a white room with two front windows, you can use a real location, too. By the way, as soon as you want to destroy walls in the room, you should think about building a set, because no one wants to destroy his own flat ...

Don´t forget to integrate portable walls if you need them and/or space behind the walls so that you can integrate little specials like lights or flues/ holes in the wall where e.g. fog comes out.

Don´t forget about the possibility of GREEN SCREEN parts in your room.

As soon as you have your layouts and plans you should make product tests!


Attention: Sometimes the cheapest stuff isn´t the best and it´s not worth ruining your movie by bad walls or wasting time because you have to paint a wall three times because of bad wallcolors. So it´s good if you make product tests. Check out the cheapest material for YOUR filmset. Is it wood, steel, paper, cartony, glass, sheetrock,concrete, ... we don´t know.

For our locations, mostly corridors, we thought about ways to build cheap walls. We wanted to have a grungy style that´s why it wasn´t important that every wall is made of one wood plate or concrete. We built the ground construction with wood and then the walls with sheetrock plates that we harled and then painted with wallcolor. In our main room we assembled plexiglass on the wood because we wanted to have a sylish design. Plexiglass was VERY expensive, if we had known that before ....

We poshed some parts with styrofoam, as you can see in the picture below. By the way: styrofoam is cheap and very effective - take a look at the ceiling construction:


And take a look at your layout again.

You should think about your camera positions before you start building your filmset! Maybe portable walls are the best for you, we don´t know, we didn´t need them. But if you want to film from every side of a room without a wall that blocks your way, we believe that it´s important for you to think about the possibility of moveable walls.

Don´t forget that every wall has to be higher than 3 meters! First of all, because you´re able to put up lights on the construction, secondly because most of the filmsets don´t have a ceilling and you don´t want the audience to see that!! By the way, we had really long rooms that´s why we wanted to make a ceiling - we sticked up styrofoam on the woodplates!


Find a huge place where you can set up your filmset. You can ask at old factories, big companies or the city administration if they know about empty halls. Sometimes event halls are free for some weeks, but attention: You´ll need a lot of time to build your walls (expect, if you build them at home and transport them to the location), decorate the location, lighten the rooms and then shoot the movie. Plan your time carefullly when you ask for a location because it would be bad for your movie if you had to say goodbye to a location with an unfinished movie!


Maybe you´re lucky and find a huge company that supports your movie. Tell them that you´re a poor student ... ;-) It´s important that you look and sound professional when you talk to the possible sponsors! You should have a .pdf or printed concept for them about your movie. They don´t give you money, if they don´t know FOR WHAT! Send them your illusions in a good looking concept.

You can also try to find sponsors for the material that you need to build your set:

Carpenters for wood or the whole walls
Do-it-yourself stores for wall-colors, wallpapers, sheetrock, harl, ...
Specialised firms, for example sheetrock companies or wood companies
painter companys for wall colors ...

And never forget about waste disposal sites! It sounds stupid, but you don´t believe how much stuff you can find on a waste disposal site.


If you have to a lot of time, we´re sure that you can build a whole huge filmset on your own. But don´t forget about heavy stuff to carry and the special talents of each person: One person is good at working with wood, the other one is a good electrician, the other one is good when it comes to hurley and painting the walls ...


Good luck! We hope that you prepared everything and that you have a lot of sponsors so that you don´t need very much money and time.


e.g. it´s VERY important that a flat where a character of your movie lives doesn´t look like a cleaned up designer hotel (expect if that´s the style of the movie) It would be good if you lived in your movie set for some days before you use it ... just kidding, we never did that, but we tried to let it look like we lived in the flat ... think about stuff that you have on your tables, and in your shelves.

We had the special room where we had to build a realistic tree. Our designer spent nearly 3 days only with this tree ... so again: Think about the time for every part of this instruction!


Good luck when you film your movie.


QT public relations Angelika Brownl