The Real Fake Room

The Real Fake Room


As I sat in my shed this afternoon sawing away at the 3mm MDF board it occurred to me how many famous rooms we are acquainted with that are a half a millimetre thick – roughly the thickness of the emulsion on a strip of old 35mm film. The wonderful interior of MGM’s “Grand Hotel” has long since vanished into rubble or storage but we still roam it on the screen – it is a real space. Likewise the apartment of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball – long struck and knocked down for other productions…but I could still find my way around it in the dark.

My mind went further – sawing MDF without a mask does that to you – how many interiors and locations do each of us have in our minds as we dream…perfectly plausible places…that we have never actually visited, and that frankly do not exis…but that our brains have assembled up out of fragments of other sights and presented to us as real places. I know there are half a dozen of these ” childhood memory places ” that are nothing but internal constructs.

Makes me damned leery of other people’s memories  – particularly when I read of them being used for evidence in serious court cases.


But to the actual real fake rooms – the ones that we need for our actual real fake cinema productions. Please look at the set for ” The Pearl Of El Paso ” and the preparations for the current set of ” Joey’s Angels “. Finding a location to film something is all very well, but there can be very inadequate provision for electricity, angles, and access when you are lighting something. Likewise camera positions can be impossible on location. So the Goldfische Studios set crew gets busy and makes a very tall, open set with flats that can be varied in angle. The lighting men get to pour in from above and the camera crew can slide left, right, or at angles to suit the view. If the angles are wrong the set crew can actually swivel the flat to comply with the director of photography’s orders. Nothing is permanent and it can all be tacked in place with screws or tape.


Okay, the props and furniture people do have to buy some items but these can be made to serve several productions to amortize the cost. Storage for future productions is accomplished in the studio warehouse on racks from IKEA.



CGI still does not feature too much in the GS production flow but I note that the current plans include duplicating a number of decor items for the “Joey’s Angels ” set from computer images and just tacking them up on the walls. The lighting boys will take care of the rest. Let’s hope the actors can make these fake props convincing.

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