Need tips on a set-dressing problem

HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

I'm making a short film about a group of teenagers surviving in an alien-occupied Earth.

In the film, they're supposed to be living in the forest, having set up a campground for themselves.

There's a ranch near my house that owns some trails in a small forest, and they said I could film on their property at anytime (super nice people :D I got lucky!).

Originally, I was going to set up a tent (I know multiple people who said I could borrow their tents for this) in the forest to make it look like the teenagers were actually living there, but we're trying to film all the forest scenes in one day and setting up the tent will take time and it will look weird to the people walking by, so I'm trying to think of alternatives to a tent. Maybe just set out sleeping bags? Again, may look weird to passerbys, but it skips the setup time.

Any ideas, anyone? Help much appreciated :D


  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,181 Expert

    @HeySiri I think here is where non-linear shooting and a meticulously crafter shooting schedule could help you out.  You could film all the forest scenes in one day but, for instance, film the actors rounding a corner on a trail when they are supposed to be going to their base.  Then on a separate shoot day you could set up a 'camp' set' in a more convenient location for that and film any scenes there and with careful camera work marry the scenes together.   Like say in the forst you have a clearing outside the tree lines partially obscured by branches but still visible beyond.  You film them heading to camp as they push through out into the that clearing then you set up in a clear area somewhere else for the camp.  This could even work if you can find an old empty cabin-type building that you could get permission to use.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @tddavis unfortunately filming is very tight and I was hoping to only spend one day in the forest, especially because we don't have a ton of scenes there, but it would still be several hours of shooting. I was basically hoping to forego a tent in lieu of something else, but as to what I cannot think of anything :/

  • JBaymore
    JBaymore Posts: 372 Enthusiast

    Can you 3-d model/CGI the "camp" into a pre-planned forest scene already shot without the camp in it but strategically planned so that there is a space fort that camp?  Tent model.... campfire model, with VFX smoke and fire, and use lens blur to have the camp in the background not have to be TOO accurate / detailed.  Clearly it is a camp, but if the tent (and other) models are not photo-realistic, ....that gets hidden by the depth-of-field setup for the shot.



  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @JBaymore I thought about it but wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the effort. If it was blurred however, yes that might work!