Thursday, 26 May 2011

Snapping Away

Today we learnt about lighting and filming, also the differences in taking pictures and taking video.

We used 150 watt lights and larger 650 watt lights to illuminate the set. The smaller lights we used to clamp onto surfaces, the larger ones had independent stands. These had to be turned off when moved as there was a risk of the bulb blowing. We also wore gloves whilst handling them as they get very hot.

We experimented with different coloured gels, blue and orange was popular for Gregor's room, which created a contrast between moonlight and candlelight. We also used a smoke machine to create a more sinister scene.

Once we had finished filming the bedroom we moved onto the living room, we set up a blue light to put behind Gregor's doors and used a smoke machine to make Gregor;s bedroom doors look more sinister. So a shard of blue light would escape into the living room and smoke would seep from underneath as if infecting the premises.

Here are some photos from the day:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Soot and Stone

I finished off the stone for my fireplace today. I sanded down the filler and covered the surrounding carpet and fireplace in newspaper stuck down with masking tape. I spayed the stone effect as directed and let it dry. It fully dries in six hours.

I waited until the end of the day to take away the masking tape, I then went over it with black paint to make it look sooty. The stone effect helped to add a lot of texture to the MDF.

The carpet in the living room was finished off around the edges by Ben today.

The skirting board was distressed in Gregor's room today and Ben glued some dirt to the floor, which also makes it look more dusty. John bought in some fake and real hair which he scattered around the room and turned into hair balls.

Karen started putting in the wooden window cross bars today and started to paint them. Curtains were also hung.

Monday, 23 May 2011


I've been looking at what people are bringing in to decorate the set. Obviously we don't have enough time to make all of our own props so we have been collecting bits and bobs.

I have brought in a candelabra and a few antique books, among these are a dutch bible and what I believe to be a dutch novel. If these are put on show then maybe they'll give a more European feel to the apartment as Czech books will be difficult to find.

I noticed some place-matts were brought in which will match with the wallpaper nicely:

Sarah Wackett found a picture like the one described in the 'Metamorphosis', she placed it in a nice guilt frame:

These things will be able to go into the rooms soon, as the floor, walls and ceiling in Gregor's room are finished as well as the skirting. Stuart and Adam have finished and installed the doors. Ben is painting the floor in the living room and Karen is finishing off her windows with a layer of paint.

The skirting in the lounge must be finished and a carpet will be placed in the living room, and then furniture can start going in! 

Stone in a Can

I started off today cutting MDF to fit into my fireplace when placed on the floor, this will be made to look like stone. Ben conveniently brought in a spay can which gives a stone effect, so I will try this tomorrow morning. I've put the stone there because realistically if coal is knocked out of the fire, it wont burn the floorboards or rugs. Many fireplaces have tiles or bricks too. I used filler for the gaps which occurred as the MDF was hard to get into the correct shape. I also sanded it down as if it were a little worn as sharp edges would look unrealistic.

I helped John paint the ceiling today too. He used his brush to make splatter marks where as I contrasted this with a sponge adding a more mottled look. Its a shame we didn't have more paint as we were limited to the same colours.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Fireplace Finale!

On wednesday I sanded the filler on the fireplace, smoothing it all down, and painted it. First I used a thick white base coat and when dry I applied a layer of black paint. However when I arrived Thursday morning the paint had cracked and I had to mix more black paint with PVA glue (50/50) so it would have a smooth finish. I then used a gloss glaze on the fireplace and when this was dry I added graphite powder.

Sarah Longbottom helped me make a grate for the front of the fireplace today, she cut the grate out in the workshop and sanded it down with sandpaper and files. I then sanded the separate parts further and proceeded to stick them together with wood glue, paint it black, glaze it and add graphite.

Yesterday I stuck the main fireplace board to the wall with wood glue and pins, I also  made a couple of the back panels (with the aid of Sarah and John) which would make the back box of the fireplace. This also needed to be painted, glazed and had graphite applied.

I also acquired a 6'x4' 15mm MDF board for the mantle piece, which I sanded down and prepared in the same fashion as the fireplace grate. I glued the board to the wall and pinned it at the back whilst John held it in the right position.

We also used a glue gun and pins to secure the tiled panels onto the fireplace.

I also drew out a design on plywood for a decorative fireplace cover which would be secured about a foot and a half above the grate, John cut this out for me. I sanded it down and prepared it with the paint and glaze and glued and pinned it onto the back of the flats frame.

Today I drew out the last two panels for the fireplace inner box which Sarah most kindly cut out for me on the bansaw. I prepared them with paint ect... then glued them in place from the back. I used duct tape to block any light coming through the other side.

The last thing I did today for the fireplace was to cut two triangular shaped pieces of MDF for under the mantle piece to make it more stable. I pinned and glued it.

After all of this I helped Sarah cut the architrave for the doors. We angled the frames at 45 degrees at the corners and routed the outside edges. We then pinned the frames to the flats.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Fireplace and Wallpaper

The wallpaper was put up in the living room after the painting in the bedroom was finished. Henry demonstrated how to apply wallpaper paste and soak it into the paper before applying to the wall. However we discovered that the paper which was bought could be applied dry, to a pasted wall. This saved a lot of time too. We were also cutting the paper at first, but then decided to apply it strait from the roll to save time and effort. The pattern had to match and this meant a lot of wastage.

I then helped to apply the wallpaper in the bedroom, which was difficult as the walls had been distressed and were a little lumpy, they also had to be brushed down as dust would stop the wallpaper from adhering so well.  These walls were then distressed further by Ben, John and Emma after the wallpaper had dried. They used scenic paints in browns, greens and yellows. They also tore the wallpaper and used wire brushes.

I cut my fireplace board out of MDF with the jigsaw, I also bought some chord and glue gunned it to the board in the shape of my design. I used a strait piece of timbre to make the chord on the design strait. I am currently using polly filler to fill on the gaps and smoothen the design.

I cut some plywood into strips, painted them black and stuck my tiles onto them. They had been glazed by Jess Fitzgerald the day before, the glaze was mixed with ochre paint to give the tiles a bit of age.

Monday, 9 May 2011


The flats are up! The fireplace had to have a different frame, we made a square within it 4"x3'4" this we routed. So now there is a hole in the chimney breast which is to be built into. We shall be starting this when the wood order arrives.

Today Gregors room has been painted with different shades of brown. It will then have wallpaper on top of this. I left early to paint my tiles for the fireplace.

I created a design via looking at art nouveau fireplace tiles. I also used colours which will hopefully complement the rest of the room. The fireplace, I believe, is out of context. But I have been unable to find any information regarding traditional czech fireplaces. Group 2 had a book regarding this subject but I happened upon it too late. I was unable to find such a useful source. So continuing the theme of art nouveau I believe we can make it work, as long as we all stick to the same basic idea.

The tiles I made out of MDF, I cut them into squares of 15x15cm, sanded the edges and painted them white. I then put covent garden primer over the white for a smoother brush stroke when applying the oil paints. The designs were drawn onto paper and I cut them into stencils. I then traced them onto the tiles with pencil. I made two designs which will hopefully complement each other. I painted on the designs at home with oil colour. I shall wait for them to dry and then apply glaze over the top. I expect they will be dry within a couple of days as they are thin layers.