Transforming Location Part Two: Choice and Measurements

Choosing a Location

It is important to think very clearly about your chosen location, because you will inevitably have to justify why you have chosen to transform a ready built room as opposed to creating a wooden constructed set. There are certain aspects to consider when deciding upon a location:

  • What camera shots and angles are included in this scene?
  • Will the camera(s) be able to operate and capture everything required in the space provided?
  • Will in-built features benefit the set or will they be a hindrance and cost more to disguise?
  •  Does this suit the set’s time period?
  • Will the chosen space have lighting that benefits the set or are there means to add lighting should it’s original lighting prove problematic?

With these thoughts in mind, I returned to my brief.

The first step upon finding your chosen location, is to record all measurements accurately. I prefer to use millimeters so when scaling up or down, I have an accurate option to round the excess numerals.

Originally I chose a beautiful building that had shimmers of it’s original Victorian build. I was drawn to this location because I had researched Wimbledon College of Arts and discovered it was built in 1890 to accommodate an all boy’s art school[1]. I have a strong preference for buildings with history as I find it incredibly inspiring that intricate builds can last a lifetime and all the effort and energies of those that contributed to its construction have not been wasted. Wimbledon has since then been expanded upon by works of others but I adore the fact that there are still traces of its original core.

Unfortunately, someone had moved/ thrown away my measurements which meant I had to quickly find another location that I could quickly produce a technical drawing.

In my original survey, I simply took a photograph of the interior and exterior and pre marked where I needed to measure so when it came to getting out in the cold and taking said measurements, I would know what measurements to take without repetitive visits. As time was extremely tight I had to do my best with what little time I had and produced a very rough sketch of my new chosen location, being careful to note every measurement I could. This includes the height of where in-built features such as pipes are in relation to the ground as this is necessary when transferring measurements to a technical drawing and eliminates the need to re visit your chosen location.

My new chosen location was a rather uninteresting old storeroom that is used as an office in our production arts room. I chose this because it was essentially a blank canvas for my imagination to work with. The storeroom was rather postmodern and had little indication of time. The inbuilt features such as beading and pipes were not prominent and could be easily disguised if necessary. The space was wide enough to allow a smooth camera movement and allowed me to have the option of continuing the measurements to include a section of exterior set.

Location Survey Sketch
A very quick example of location surveying

Taking the measurements

It is important to take photographs of all walls, doors and details that may be unnoticed as this tends to prompt your mind of the measurements required. When looking at detailed shots such as the underside of a sink, train you mind to think “how could I replicate this?” and this will assist you in realising which measurements are necessary. I prefer to take a methodical approach when measuring, beginning at one wall and measuring the other side if necessary. I tend to work from left to right, top to bottom but then again, I do have a background in Fine Art and am right handed.The measurements should include height as well as width. You must also include measurements of seemingly unimportant details such as window beading as this contributes to the overall width and height of a feature.

What happens next?

These measurements are then used to produce a technical drawing of your location that will allow you the option to produce a white card model or a colour model of your location. My next post will feature an explanation of terminology used in technical drawing, and then an example of tips and techniques I found benefited my drawing.




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