Shooting in a rental studio usually provides you with both all and nothing. At first sight, it’s just an empty space, with some scarce equipment and for sure — a coffee machine silently buzzing in a distant corner. On the other hand, it’s the ultimate playground to unleash your creativity. Place your props, set up the lights, invite actors — and the studio transforms into whatever you might imagine. This time let us bring you to those vintage 1940s and share some insights into creating a Godfather inspired set design.
Why Godfather? — you may ask. Well, the concept derived from our client’s need to target a bit more classy audience and add some gangster attitude, just like in those Corleone movies. Having this clear style in mind, we started planning our set — the Godfather’s office.
More about the set design:
After carefully examining the movie, we listed a few main props to include. First of all, patterned wallpaper, heavy leather armchair, wooden desk, and a chest of drawers as the main components of the interior. Also, not forgetting the iconic blinds in the background, vintage phone on the table, fancy cigar put out in the ashtray and framed painting on the wall. Finally, with some interpretation by our set designer, the white lion sculpture is also here — cause why not?
All the items together formed the set we desired — giving a clear clue of the theme but with our own creative touch.
While the set designer was on a mission to find all those props, our decisions turned to the lighting. All we wanted to create was this moody dark atmosphere. Smart combination of desk and floor lamps, natural daylight imitation through the blinds, and cinematic scene lighting helped us achieve this goal.
Next, shaping the main actor’s look was also on the list. Three-piece suit, rose on the lapel, makeup art, and the attitude were the main ingredients of Corleone charm, for which our actor rehearsed a lot, even adding some paper towels in his cheeks to look a bit more like the original Godfather.
And that’s how the whole set was built from scratch. Previously empty studio yet had all the vibes we needed, so, bring in the clapperboard - it’s showtime!
For sure, each shooting has some curious challenges to share:
The armchair includes an electric motor! At the beginning of the TVC, we can see the main actor turning around in the armchair. To avoid clumsy or unexpected moves, the armchair got an improvement — an electric mechanism that was supposed to smoothly turn the chair with a single click of remote control. However, to stop the movement, our assistant was silently waiting under the table.
Timing was the cause of repetition. As TVCs have a certain (and usually very short) duration, every second matters. This means – no improvisation is welcome in the Godfather’s office this time, sorry. So, all eyes on set and the script, seeking for those 10 perfectly engaging seconds.
The Godfather’s cat. Well, we are not going to talk too much about this one here. Sometimes cats are impossible and that’s a fact. And it’s OK.