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Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Has anyone ever constructed a studio set that required creating lightweight "rocks"?

I am planning to build a set in the studio that will be a sort of rock face and possible have water running down it. I was wondering if anyone has ever done something like this before and how you did it or what resources you used.

Thanks for your time,

Daryl
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Re: Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 10:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would check out your local Homehardware / Ace Hardware stores. Check out the garden section where they sell the pond equipment. As for the rocks they many have the materials in a package or kit to create that there as well.
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Re: Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I haven't ever personally done this, but I've seen stuff like this built by landscapers and set designers. They use chicken wire and construction framing to build the shape of the wall. They cover the chicken wire a fabric and then spray a special type of foam over it to create the texture of rock. It is then painted and sculpted to it's final shape. You can then put pumps and whatever else you want into it to create a waterfall, pools, nooks and crannies, etc.

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Re: Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 05:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've seen styrofoam shaped into rocks and then an apoxy resin (bondo, ding-all) layered over them to make them hard.
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Re: Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 07:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I built a set about ten years ago which matches your description. I am by no means a set designer but will give you the brief details of how I went about it and also share some mistakes I made which affected image quality. For the base of the set I used my nephew wading pool covered with black plastic. I had several things going for me which you may or maynot have access to. One is that we live near a large lake and was able to obtain some rather large pieces of styrofoam which had been used in a floating dock. Also I was able to obtain a couple of huge styrofoam coolers used in the commercial fishing business and also bought additional styrofoam from an army surplus dealer. For the large freestanding rocks I cut them from the large chunks of foam. If I needed to have a really big rock I attached two pieces of the foam with long nails and smoothed out the joints. I attached the foam to the back ground built of plywood with long drywall screws and fender washers. It is best to form the shape before attaching to the plywood. Cut in your water outlets so as the water will flow away from the background so you can get some light behind it so it will show up in the image. I left my water run over the background and all I got on film was shiny rocks. You need a wide stream of water to really show up. I think I saw some of those channels for the water at Lowes or Home Depot. I also had to large a pump you will find working in the studio a little bit of water goes a long way. With the huge volume of water which the pump produced it was much too much to direct over the background so a relief had to be built flowing back into the pool all of which became a very noisy situation. I had to shout at the model or turn off the pump to communicate. I painted the styrofoam with a mixture of motar (used for laying bricks and blocks) and house paint. Here is where I made another of my mistakes. I used black motar to coat the styrofoam in order for it to appear a volcanic rock. Of course the black did not reflect light (thus losing all the shape of the rock I had worked so hard on) and also the models black hair was lost in the background. There is a wide variety of concrete colors (sold in small bottles) on the market which you can get very artistic with your design. The motar and paint hardened to a good finish and lasted several years. You can get everything you need for this a Lowes or Home Depot. I used Ivy vines hung on the background and potted plants set on concrete blocks in the pool for foliage.
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Re: Rocks for studio set
Old 06-16-2006, 08:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Try asking this question on the alt.sculpture internet news group. I've seen it
asked and answered there before.

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