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THE USE OF SET DESIGN
Transcript of THE USE OF SET DESIGN
Set design is the creation of theatrical, as well as film or television scenery. It is mainly concern with the look or physical appearance of the set for a film whether in rehearsal or performance.
The location of the set is highly important in setting a sense of place. To do this, the designer has to take in account of both the needs of the story and in how someone recognizes that it is a place.
The setting of the story happens in New York City, and for one to recognize that it is NYC, then elements of the existing place have to be emulated to a point of recognition.
The set was inspired by the Greenwhich Village apartment complexes in NYC, and in so getting the set correct, four photographers were sent out to collect images of courtyard of 125 Christopher St.
There are several of elements that were emulated for the set of Rear Window such as the fire escapes, brickwork, alleyways, unornate windows and doors, and the courtyard. All these element help orient the viewer to the setting without much doubt where it is set.
The director used primarily "diegetic" sounds — sounds arising from the normal life of the characters — throughout the film.
Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film:
-voices of characters
-sounds made by objects in the story
-music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)
In the film Rear Window
-There are many occasions where Hitchcock uses sound in order to convey a feeling of terror.
-Music serves unity, continuity, and characterization in the traditional manner.
-There is a little information about each character, and music helps us by commenting on them and rounding out their characterization.
-The diegetic music has a additional function in that it draws our attention out of Jeffs apartment and into the courtyard.
Characters are important in the movie because they are the part of the set design.
In the beginning scenes, as the camera observes the view from the window we can see more about the neighbors. This tells that the neighbors are as important characters as the protagonist in this film.
He is in a wheel chair, and there is a cast on his leg. The close shot of a cast tells us the name of a man, because the following is written on it: “Here lie the broken bones of L. B. Jefferies”.
Caustic masseuse Stella McCaffery from the insurance company
Disbelieving cop Thomas J. Doyle, Jeff's old war-time buddy.
Fiance Lisa Fremon, whose desire for marriage, incredibly, he’s resisting.
a newlywed man and woman on honeymoon
"Miss Torso" a sexy young dancer, who battles against numerous suitors
"Miss Hearing Aid"
Lars Thorwald and a hard-working, costume-jewelry traveling salesman
a couple on a fire escape
Lars Thorwald's bedridden and nagging wife Anna
a musical composer/songwriter who struggles to make an income
a lonely, middle-aged woman, who drinks and takes pills
-It reflects the way that set is composed artistically in regard to props, actors, shapes and colors.
-The set Picture should express good principles of design and use of space.
-Time setting- the era or year the story took place
- Influence the type of gadgets and costumes that are present during that time that should be presented
-Geographical setting- the place/venue where the story took place
-The set for “Rear Window” is considered to be one of the greatest sets ever built at Paramount.
-Set took over 25 percent of the total cost of the picture.
- It was made entirely on one confined set built at Paramount Studios - a realistic courtyard composed of 31 apartments (12 completely furnished) - at a non-existent address in Manhattan, New York (125 W. 9th Street) .
The set also has to include elements of the environment and their circumstances. In Rear Window it made apparent in by showing these circumstances in the first few minutes of the film.
On top of it being set in NYC, there is a heatwave going on. Hitchcock makes it clear in the film, and due that, several aspects of the set such as the windows are left open to ventilate air.
Due to the quality of the apartments, one assumes that the tenats don't have air conditioners, so they leave all the windows open.
Lisa also commented about the concern of the shades being drawn in the heat in Thorwald's apartment, and assuming that the windows have to be opened to let the air through to cool the apartments.
This is key element in the film, since it allows Jeffries to view into his neighbor's apartments.
The set was also constructed with a large drainage system that was built from 30 feet under the set so that the rain could be drained properly. The rain was produced by large sprinklers.
Since it is the back windows of each of the tenants, they don't mind doing their own tasks such as cleaning, bathing, shaving, etc.
All action in the movie takes place in a block of apartments in Manhattan, within the buildings surrounding the inner courtyard. In these apartments the people go about their lives unselfconsciously revealing themselves to the eye of the camera .
Most of the buildings surrounding the central courtyard are typical American city brick apartments.
On the far right from Jeff's (and the camera's) perspective, is a multi-story plastered building, in front a four-story brick house, directly in front a small, two story building—to the left of which is an alley leading to the street.On the extreme left, another red brick building rises that is so high that its upper story never appears in the film.
The landscaped courtyard is partly paved and built on different levels, and at the rear to the right a section juts out with a roof terrace joined to a glass-fronted studio flat.
Lighting is also another benefit of using a set. You can control how much light is needed and where the light needs to be directed. Since most of the scenes occur outside, Hitchcock directed the lighting to produce the right amount of lighting. In certain shots, the camera needed more light than others to produce the necessary shot, so they lit up the light until it was bright enough to make the shot perfect.
They lighting system for Rear Window was enormous. The set borrowed from other studios to get the necessary lighting. Each room had their own lighting system separate from the rest of the set. This allowed for precise lighting conditions to set a mood across the set.
All these lights generated a lot of heat, which of course could be very uncomfortable for the actors.It was no coincidence that the story takes place during a heat wave. The courtyard lighting for daylight was especially intense because there needed to be a balance between the light intensity inside the apartments (which, as small enclosed areas, required less light) and the intensity of the courtyard (which, as a large area, required more light). So to prevent actors from burning up as they approached the courtyard windows of their apartment, Burks installed graduated scrims (translucent cotton fabric stretched in a frame) to diffuse the courtyard lighting. (Curtis 36)
The lighting system has some draw backs. When you view the set from the day to night, you can see that the lighting position stays the same providing the same shadows and light spots, but to counteract this, the hue and the amount of luminance provided the change from day to night. There is no need to rotate the lights due how the shots were produced and cut.
Hitchcock presents the architecure as a tool of the scopic drive by emphasizing the window which presented as a metaphor for film screen. The facade on the other side is like a movie library. In each window there is a different story ( Jacobs, 286)
Jeff's home is a two-room apartment. The film takes place either from the vantage point or inside his living room, which has a kitchenette separated by cupboards. The apartment contains a large bay window that overlooks the inner courtyard, a fireplace, a door to the single bedroom, and a front door three steps up from the hallway floor.
Because the windows on the other side of the courtyard worked as screens, the rooms behind them are squashed.
As in the plans, flats across the courtyard are narrower than Jeffs' apartment
So called railroad apartments - connecting to each other in a line.
Perfectly suited to the plot.
Hitchcock used different techniques to play with the perception of the space of the set. Since the set is the same size in some aspects compared to the real site, one can see the other side of the set pretty clearly, but Hitchcock wanted to show that there is distance between Jeffrie's apartment and the rest of the apartments. To show this separation, Hitchcock played with different lenses and settings to create the sense of depth where there was little with the sense of distance between the apartments.
There are several different elements in creating a shot with a specific goal behind it. You have to control the focal length through the lens, the aperture settings of the lens, and the depth of field. You can use different types of lenses to produce specific shots. Telephoto lenses can view scenes pretty far from the camera, but they have a shallow depth of field. You can overcome all of these with playing with apature and shutter speed. These tools allow more or less light in the camera. More light with a combination of high apature settings allow more of the scene to be in focus and vice versa.
Focal Length - the distance between the centre of a lens or curved mirror and its focus.
Apature - the amount of light you are letting in to the sensor. The more light, the less is in focus, and vice versa.
Depth of Field - the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects giving a focused image.
Shutter Speed - the amount of time you allow your apature to remain open to take a shot.
Hitchcock also took all his shots from the perspective of Jeffrie's apartment. In doing this, He had to play with the lenses until he go the right shot. He also had to use a boom to mount his camera so he can mount the camera outside the room into the courtyard to get the different amounts of focus when the viewer is looking through Jeffrie's camera.
The set of the movie is the largest indoor set ever built at Paramount. It was a huge and complex construction that took six weeks to set up. Huge amounts of man hours, lumber, plaster, paint, steel and imitation bricks used to built the set.
The set was 98 feet wide, 185 feet long and 40 feet high with structures rising five and six stories.
There were 31 apartments with 12 completely furnished rooms, also fire escapes, roof gardens, an alley, a street and a skyline.
For the courtyard laborers dug 30 feet below the stage level.
It was clear from the beginning that the nature of the film required a studio set rather than location shooting; to take over an actual apartment complex for two months and attempt to control the elements is simply out of the question. Besides, the confinement of Rear Window to a single studio set mirrored Jeff's own confinement to his apartment. (Curtis 28)
Dial M for Murder
All the views through the windows have different architectural design as apartments of individuals to match the character of their occupants
Hitchcock uses the set decoration of apartments' to give the audience a back story information.
With all the different background wall colors and furniture Hitchcock freely jumped around in the various apartments.
50mm lens approx.
Close Focal Point
This shot not only keeps the actors in focus, but it helps show that there is distance between Jeffrie's apartment and his neighbors. To produce this shot, the camera has to be placed close to the actors.
25mm - 35mm lens approx.
Focal Point is around the fire escape.
This shot has borders from Jeffrie's windows, giving the viewer reference where the shot is taken. The apartments themselves are not in focus still emphasizing a distance between the neighbors.
Focal Point on Thorwald
This shot establishes depth in the apartment by keeping the actor infocus and not the back wall or window. If everything is in focus, the apartment will feel flat.
150mm lens approx. on a boom
Focal Point on Mrs. Lonelyhearts
This shot again seperates the actor from the background, but to do this, they had to use a boom to get closer so the focal point wasn't too shallow or the lights too bright.
Sense of Place
Film architecture and the transnational imagination : set design in 1930s European cinema Bergfelder, Tim