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The Role Of The Art Director Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 2671 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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A firm and imagined set helps to bring forth a good visual and a better output. This is to the desire of the person who is putting up a set and what does it mean and how does it help him as many cannot be done without the help of sets. When coming to how I chose this topic is simple, everyone gets a shiver when we see some of the greatest movies of all times and the sets which they use in those are the ones which brings the environment and finish to the film as and when there are no sets and we want a finish a set is the most competent one and gives life to the stars surroundings and the entire output. This is why I had chose my topic as a cinema set as these have been around for most of a century and continuous and keeps growing vast in size and importance and with at most popularity where we can have a set of cave than going and finding a real one. This is a topic which has inspired me to create my own set for the short film I have shot and the set is the most important aspect of the whole film as it deals with various periods of the cine time and how it changes due to the ongoing changes in time and people. The set has been made in a manner to resemble an old street feel in of the late 50’s and how it went about the later decades and it has changed according to cinema and personnel. Some when seen has a spark and we would like to take another look at it cause of its structure and the glow its gives out and feel it resembles to be. This is the main aspect of the set as it creates a whole new being to the stage where the actors perform and it helps to bring out the best in them by giving out a specialness in the whole frame and that to it can be done only when the set is put with the likeness of how it should look or the way it has been imagined for the right kind of story and how do we get the best of it and to make sure it has been put up well and to be in frame in the right kind and not to be undefined as a not good. This is all into the art of a set how it is imagined and put up for the right kind of shoot and important it suits all aspects from dressing to the smallest detail as without a set there is no background and this takes us to the very beginning to show a set is important than all.


When we go to see a film to the theater, are we aware of the fact and truth that every single aspect of the set has been carefully designed by an art director and his conceptions. They are the ones that develop concepts and review the entire material that appears in films and theaters, and they are the ones who ultimately decide how to present the performance, so it is awe/eye-catching, gracefully appealing and captivating to all the audiences present. The art directors happen to organize and direct the most technical and artistic part of aspects of motion pictures, live stage productions and day to day television shows by designing proper sets, matching costumes, correct furnishings and props to create an accurate portrayals and resemblance of various time periods and decade settings. These art directors are the ones responsible for the overall look and proper presentation of films, live television shows and live stage productions. They do have a very strong sense of vision and enduring style. However as to them their jobs can vary much greatly depending on the type of medium they work with. 

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An art director’s first and foremost job is to read the script or screenplay and to know on what period it is. Once they get to know the proper material, then they begin to do extended research about the time period in which a live stage play or film is set. If the set time period is of the present day, then their work is not too difficult and they can improvise on it. But however if a film is set in Queen Elizabethan times and Mughals period, the art director must go through and read history books about the past time period, by most possibly visit the various museums and art galleries on them to learn about the dress fashions, furniture and architecture of the time period. This is a bit very important because a film about the Queen Elizabethan period must be sort of accurate, to believable and have the proper costumes, props and other set design elements. If the art director is not careful and an extra artist is wearing an outfit/costume from a different period, then the audiences and film critics could criticize the film for not being properly researched and looked upon. And finally, the art director also has to oversee the costume and dress design, props and setting designs to make sure that they portray the proper time period realistically and accordingly.  

The art directors have to do everything behind the scenes and they consult with the film directors, film producers and production managers about all aspects of a work they have to do and how it has to be done. They must also make sure that they meaning the cost is to staying within of the film company’s budget when purchasing props, proper set designs and other special effects items which have been asked for. Art directors bring the imagined stories to life existence through the visual components and art work. They work with the films technical directors and other crew members to plan films camera angles and set lighting to start with their work. 

In the films, due to the explosion and outbreak of animation, vfx and technological special effects in many types of fantasy and adventure kind of genres, art directors are hired to supervise the animators, clay animation designers and various makeup artists. Now art directors work closely with crew members not only of their team but of others, giving advice and instructions. In each and every scene, art directors must work with the film director to plan the shot’s framing and frame, composition of the frame and camera involvement and movement. These kind of process takes a very long and painful time and makes movie-making process seem less glamorous than the other professions. 

In the theaters, art directors also prepare various plays for production. They do have to arrange all the details coming on the stage as per settings and to all other stage effects. Art directors then consult with set designers, various props artists, their costume designers, dance choreographers and stagehand managers in the number of weeks before the production stage comes to in order to make sure that everyone is working and proceeding towards the play director’s vision and proper interpretation of the play. During the rehearsals, art managing directors work very closely with people behind the screen labors to ensure a proper output. Every little or small detail is to be of a large detail in the art director’s eyes and point of view.

What Does an Art Director Do?

An art director is someone who traditionally undertakes the direction of the production designer, and surrounds all the altering of the setting and missing settings of the scene. This means that they only design and then alter the set so that it will and would appear as how the director intends in their imagined vision. They will begin by a basic meeting with the director and getting a very clear idea of what they want and how they want everything to look like. After that and all the art director will add many creative designs and basic sketches as to how the set will be dressed, finished and altered so that the appearance fits within the directorial vision of the director. All things in this stage will be the main responsibility of the art director has to take every small change to account.

Visit Locations:

The very first thing that a successful and most wanted art director must do is to go to the shooting location and see what they are dealing with and how. If the film director wants the inside of a bedroom to look like an old brick alley there may be no option for the art director but to create a new one. They will have consider to see how they can take the given amount of location and alter it in a better way that will continue directorial vision of the director. He has to take a look at the space, available electrical supply, and all objects in the general area aspects.

Production Stills:

Production stills are going to be the other most important function of the art director in his process. What this happens to mean is that the art director is going to be taking pictures throughout the production time, that is of the set and actors and the crew doing their work and its process. These production stills end up filling a few functions for the director. First, they document the art production as it is happening for their company books and other film documents. These can be used to get an extra funding, that is especially if you create an internalHYPERLINK “http://www.brighthub.com/multimedia/video/articles/28851.aspx” presence in the set and can use some more. Second, the pictures of the lead cast can be used for post promotional purposes that later on which helps in good manner. Third, these photos are very crucial since they will not only indicate exactly where all the props and set dressings and were in every take or shot so they can be moved back to their original and proper location within the story space allotted for them.


An art director is in the most hierarchical structure of a film art department works directly only below the production designer and production manager, and above the set designers and set decorators. A total of large part of their duties that include the administrative aspects of the art department and management of their sets. They are responsible for properly assigning tasks to their personnel, and keeping track of the whole art department budget and scheduling of work completion, as well as overall quality control of the setting and props.Various artists may create or develop some specific parts of an art piece or scene; but a sole part of art director unifies the vision. In particular, that the art director is in charge of the overall visual and set appearance and how it communicates visually in the output, stimulating moods, contrasts color features, and psychologically appealing to a target audience. The art director makes his decisions about the visual elements used, on what artistic style to use, and how and when to use motion.

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It is one of the most and very difficult problems that all art directors face is to translate the desired moods, new messages, new concepts, and the underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming and thinking process, art directors, coworkers, and the clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like and their desire. At most times, an art director is the ultimate responsible for all solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agendas, concepts and inconsistencies between the various and all individual inputs and outputs.


Though despite the title, an advertising type of art director isn’t necessarily the one head of an art department. In modern advertising forums practice, an art director is who typically works in tandem with a copywriter and gives the output. The team usually and mostly works together to devise an overall concept that is also known as the “big idea” for the ad, commercial, magazine, mailer, brochure, or other advertisement forums. The copywriter is the one responsible for the textual and script content, the art director is for the visual aspects. But the A.D. may or can come up with the headline or other copy of the output, and the copywriter can or may suggest a visual or the aesthetic or desired approach on his touch. Each person usually may welcomes suggestions and other constructive criticism from the others. Ideally these words and visual should not or may not parrot each other; each should and can enhance or enlarge the other’s meaning and aspect and its main effect.

Art directors and copywriter teams working methods vary, but that the copywriter is more involved in many processes of gathering all information from the client or account executive and other personnel, while the art director, who is usually less skilled according to the ads, remains more involved through proper production period. At the most extreme, a writer is what might simply submit a hand-written text copy and ask strategic instructors to the art director to complete, who then contributes the visual aspects of the final text output. If this part of irony is true, the only immortal success of this approach may be due in part been as widely held the greatest and best advertising print ever of an art director who ever lived.

The ability to make, formulate and communicate, and syllabify the message, to rather than simply stylize it with colors, is one of the best qualities that distinguishes an expert art director from a graphic designer. These two professions always overlap in what is known as communication design in the one media, with individuals those fulfilling both roles at the same time or but in alternating between roles. Although to a good art director that which is expected is to have a graphic design state to a judgment and least technical knowledge of the production, it can or may not be necessary for an art director to handle a render or even be able to draw as of now that which is virtually all but the most preliminary work is done on computer. Except in the smaller of organizations, the art director and copywriter team is to be overseen by a creative director, a senior media creative, a chief creative director. In such a large organization, an art director may only oversee other art directors and that a team of junior level designers, level image developers and/or production level artists, and their coordinates with a separate form of production department. In these smaller organizations, the art director may fill all these roles completing all including oversight of printing and other production quality works.


In films an art director is in the hierarchical structure of a proper film art department, who works directly below only of the production designer, that is in collaboration with the set decorator, and above the set designer available. A very large part of their duties includes the administrative aspects of the art department and output. They are mainly responsible for assigning all tasks to personnel, keeping all track of the art departments budget and scheduling of process and outputs, as well as overall quality control as per time. They are often also a proper liaison to other departments; especially the construction department as they are the ones who help in putting up the sets. In the past, the art directors title was used to denote as the head of the art department and hence the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. Example :On the movie “Gone with the Wind” they had such a significant role in the look of the film, that the title of Art Director was not sufficient for the works and process, and so the title of Production Designer came up being. The title has become more and very common, and now the Production Designer is commonly used as the head of the Art Department, although this title actually and only implies control overall and every visual aspect of a film, including costumes and props.


Art directors in publishing typically work with the publications editors and top personnel. Together all they work on a proper concept for each section and pages of the publication. Individually only the art director is mostly responsible for all the visual look and feel of the publication or magazine, and the editor has the ultimate responsibility for the publication’s verbal and textual content.


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