But what is Production Design, exactly?
Simply: everything in front of the lens - digital or physical. Every object and every detail, large and small, before the DoP and Director. The range of disciplines and depth of work is often hugely underestimated and under-appreciated.
Good work that people think is the cinematographer’s is often that of the production designer. We light their work, and when their work is beautifully accomplished, by which I mean well matched to the story, the result is vastly superior.
- DoP Robert Richardson (Platoon, Casino, Kill Bill).
All forms of production design begin from nothing. A blank set, an empty notebook, a roll of uncut cloth, a bare sketchpad. To fill that emptiness requires an incredible number of decisions. Research, sketching, mood boards, planning and assembling, all to communicate millions of subtle visual cues to the audience.
Reflecting this, the APDG Awards titles begin blank and starkly white, showing the vacant workspaces of artists working in costume, concept, set, makeup, production, and visual effects design. We experience the clean slate that all these disciplines are presented with when commencing a new project.
The enormity of the Production Designer’s task and processes are made clear to all... as are the rewards due these incredible designers!