Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rant: Why I Love The Colour Copier

Its the new Art Dept Hi-Lo-Budget must have. A colour copier. If you can master it, it will prove to be a valuable ally in achieving the seemingly impossible. So much so, I think having one's own colour Copier/Fax/Scanner would be a great asset.

During my experiment in finding out how lousy an Art Director I was, I had great opportunity to work on Lo-Budget under crewed gigs. I noticed how the colour copier was being used for so many more things than one would initially assume. Not only that, the scanner was an indispensable tool for all the pre-production departments who needed to share reference materials etc.

We made newspaper articles and printed them; just big enough to cover a 1/4 of a double-page size, good enough for the c/u. We printed obsolete wallpaper to patch damage done at a location. We colour copied the ground for covering up markers for the animal scenes. Last minute signage, spray glued to foam-core. Last minute Brochures...

Sometimes visual reference is the quickest and most direct way to convey a description of something. Most of us in the Art Dept have scanners. For the many crew that don't, the ability to quickly scan and email an image to a supplier saves an immense amount of time over the long run.

Sometimes, however, the networked copier can become easily abused. 100 8.5x11 reference images are so easy to send to print. Often, while printing, someone else sends artwork. The prints get mixed up. Someone grabs someone else's. They re-print... it happens easily. A visible and comical 'Lost & Found" box actually is quite effective, btw.

More and more Productions are choosing to go digitally with websites. As a Set Designer I think this is great; just don't make access limited to elite crew, please. Access to all the location photos allows us to go in and look carefully for missing bits of information or measurements without having to go back to the Location.

One last perk? At the end of the show, I used to have to make a trip to the repro shop in order to get some nice prints of my work. Now I just hit send.

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