Pre-Production (cont'd)

• Scouting surveys are arranged to find the locations for those scenes not being shot on a sound stage. Locations must be chosen both from a creative standpoint (Does the location look like what the director had in mind?) and from a technical standpoint (Can the camera crew maneuver? Is there room for all the trucks that will be needed?)
• The production designer, who has been designing the sets with support from art directors and drafts-people, puts the construction crew to work building the sets, as the set decorator shops for furniture and set decor. Complete sets are generally built on stages and painted backgrounds are often used to give the illusion of a real location. The production designer also refurbishes and dresses buildings on location, even building an entire town if necessary.
• The cinematographer, or director of photography (D.P.), discusses the visual style of the film with the director as well as techniques that will be used. The D.P. will in turn talk to the gaffer (the chief electrician) and key grip (the head of the grip department) to determine the equipment and special rigging needed. Usually, the D.P. will shoot tests for background color and hair, make-up, and wardrobe tests with the actors.
• The costume designer shows sketches and samples to the director and creates costumes for each character that not only relate to the overall look of the film, but also are practical for the actor to wear. Wardrobe assistants shop for wardrobe and seamstresses sew any special costumes needed.
• If visual effects are called for, the director and producers will meet with the visual effects supervisor to discuss how the effects, which may include miniature models, animation or computer generated graphics, will be incorporated into the film. The D.P. may need to discuss what live-action shots are required to accommodate the visual effects elements.

J.C. Backings, a family owned business based on the Sony lot, has been making painted backgrounds since 1965.

THE PATRIOT crew works during "magic hour", just before the sun sets.