Production design techniques
How directors and production designers work together to communicate mood, character, and theme.
FILMMAKING TECHNIQUES: EPISODE 2
What is production design (and why it matters...a lot)
In our second episode on Filmmaking Techniques for Directors, we look at another critical element to the visual story: production design.
Production design is the arrangement and selection of elements in the frame.
In this episode, we'll be exploring the ways that directors identify and communicate a cohesive vision for production design with their teams. The key is to communicate a clear vision that conveys meaning and leaves a lasting impression with viewers.
We break down the 3 factors to guide your production design decisions:
Watch the video to find out how the visual storytellers go beyond the script by going deeper into asking themselves "what is good production design to this story?"
What is production design really communicating?
The first element production design communicates is mood. What is production design if not a method for communicating how the scene is supposed to "feel." Scary? Exciting? Funny? Light? However you wish to define the mood in words, you'll more importantly have to define it in terms of production design elements.
In a screenplay you'll often find a brief character description when a character is first introduced. In a completed movie or series, you have to do that visually. Define characters with the spaces they occupy; their home, office, car. Think about how to use production design to define and reveal character.
Great directors work with production designer to highlight the story's themes. Audiences may not grasp every line of subtext in your dialogue, but images have the power to connect deeper. Think about the key themes of your project and how set design and props can reveal a deeper message.