In my experience the key to


In my experience the key to sets is versatility. I would build several 4’x8′ flats: a couple of window units, one with bookshelves, some with wood paneling and some that exhibited neutral colors and perhaps a subtle wallpaper design. At least one flat should have a door, suggesting architectural space beyond the confines of the setting. At least a couple of large platforms on castors and furniture appropriate for a classroom lecture, an intimate conversation and a conference room. Include several fake potted plants in attractive containers and some boughs of spring and autumn leaves. An attractive working floor lamp and desk lamp would be a good bit of set dressing too.

The window units provide an opportunity for directional light coming into the room and, in conjunction with leafy branches outside the window, the motivation for gobo leaf patterns on the walls of the set. If one window unit has mullions that’s another opportunity for a window gobo to pattern the wall or floor. If you’re inclined toward realism, a projection of the city or countryside on the window backing would look lovely and if projections aren’t your style there are huge photo-realistic backdrops available on line.

Design the flats so they can be used in a great variety of configurations. You’ll evolve how to dress each setting — books, pictures, coat rack, etc., — as your productions progress.

I’ve worked in studios set up like this which allowed for a complete change of setting in a very few minutes. Lights were pre-focused for areas such as the window unit or a wall pattern and on the lectern, desk or chairs so all that was involved was to move the flats into position, lash them together; wheel in the furniture, preset on a platform; set the dressing and go online live.

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