I shot a short recently entitled "A Five Minute Warning" which took place entirely in one apartment set which I designed and built. In an effort to make some judgments about the set configuration and lighting, I first built a small scale model of the set out of cardboard to test with:
Once I felt like my set design was going to work and my thoughts about lighting were doable, I then fabricated a larger scale model of the set to work out set design, lighting, blocking, and composition:
By combining this scale model set with a mini-cast of 12" actors, I then spent a few weeks playing around with lighting, etc.
What I learned with my ultra low budget scale model set and action figure cast enabled me to save significant amounts of time later as it allowed me (in my free time) to determine blocking, shot ideas, composition, lighting, and make judgments about the curtains seen in many of the shots.
I spent many hours laying on the floor with my still camera moving lighting around and moving my action figures around until I felt I had most if not all of my shots worked out and of course then I had a complete set of storyboard images to use on the shoot days.
© 2011 Chris Santucci