In film and television, a production designer or P.D is the person responsible for the overall look of a filmed event such as films, TV programs, music videos or adverts. Production designers have one of the key creative roles in the creation of motion pictures and television. Working directly with the director and producer, they must select the settings and style to visually tell the story.
From early in pre-production, the production designer collaborates with the director and director of photography to establish the visual feel and specific aesthetic needs of the project. The production designer guides key staff in other departments such as the costume designer, the key hair and make-up stylists, the special effects director and the locations manager (among others) to establish a unified visual appearance to the film.
Production Designers may be asked to look at scripts before a Director is approached, to provide estimates of the projected Art Department spend on films. When Production Designers first read a screenplay, they assess the visual qualities that will help to create atmosphere and bring the story to life.
Typical career routes
As the head of the largest department on a film crew, Production Designers must have extensive experience gained over a number of years, usually by progressing through the various Art Department roles: Junior Draughtsman, Draughtsman, Assistant Art Director, Art Director. They may also have a background of working in theatre, where they learn the art of set design and construction as well as how to conceptualise ideas and create a sense of drama through visual spectacle. Graduates who have studied Film and Theatre Design may also gain experience working on short films before progressing to junior roles on feature films.
Essential knowledge and skills
Production Designers must have expert knowledge of many art and design related subjects including draughtsmanship, technical drawing, colour theory, architecture, building and construction, history of design, interior design, cameras and lenses, lighting, etc. Production Designers must also have full knowledge of computer budgeting software and computer aided design programmes (CADS).
Where to Study:
1. Film and Television Institute of India, PUNE
2. National School of Drama, New Delhi
3. Delhi Film Institute