Derived from the word ‘property’, props are basically any objects that are used on screen during a video shoot. Props form an important part of the overall video production set design, and if used effectively, can contribute greatly to the overall feeling, mood and look of the video. Props can also help to visualise an idea or a theme that your video is trying to convey – sometimes, messages tend to be more effective and memorable to the audience if they’re presented visually.
A prop can be anything – food, an iPad, a computer, a desk, a writing pad, a car, a cupboard, a bike or a pot plant. The list goes on, and what kind of props you use is purely subject to the story being told. During the pre-production phase, after the script and storyboard have been created, a list of props is made and is usually itemised by shot. In some cases, a prop might have to be custom made.
In terms of who looks after everything, props are generally taken care of and purchased by a prop master for larger shoots. Smaller corporate videos often see the production coordinator taking responsibility for props.
Just as the best talent for the part will really take your video to the next level, sometimes a prop can just complete the scene and make it all work perfectly. However, if used incorrectly or carelessly, a prop can make a video seem amateurish. Don’t rely on props to tell your whole story (unless of course your video is an advertisement for something, and the prop is the advertised item itself).
Remember – when it doubt about which props to use, less is more.
One of the problems that using a lot of props can introduce is the issue of continuity – when props (or wardrobe items) within the same scene don’t match up from shot to shot. It only takes one prop to be a few centimetres out of place for the audience to be distracted by the pot plant or lamp that’s suddenly jumping back and forth… Continuity can become a particular problem if shooting one scene over the course of a couple of days.
To ensure that everything looks like it’s in the same place shot by shot, ensure that someone is paying particular attention to where things go. If necessary, take photos of how your set looks and how your props are set up, or check the footage recorded on the previous day to ensure everything is arranged identically again.
If you’re really trying to achieve something very elaborate with your video set, it’s best to seek the help of professional video production set services or a prop hire company. Most prop rental companies have huge warehouses full of any kind of prop you can imagine, and offer fairly affordable rates on hiring items.
Rocket Productions carries out prop management for all our productions, whether small or large. We’ll also ensure that your props are being used effectively, and with flawless continuity.
To find out how we can help you with your video production props, contact us.