Timber plays such an important role in bringing us our favourite TV shows and films. Some of its uses are obvious and others, not so much. Today, the Timber 2 U Direct team are going to talk you through some of our favourite uses of timber in TV and film, and talk about what the industry uses it for.
One common use of timber on TV and film sets is its contribution to fake props. There are many companies across the UK that specialise in the production of breakable props. This can be for TV, film and even stage shows. These include things like chairs, tables, bar furniture, guitars, fences, gates, doors, and shelves. If you have ever watched a film with a scene in which a door gets kicked in, or someone angrily smashes a guitar, it’s likely that these props are made of balsa wood. Balsa wood is used for this purpose due to the fact that it is incredibly light and easy to break.
Lord of the Rings
During the production of The Lord of the Rings, plywood was heavily used on set. One area of New Zealand, Mount Sunday, is off limits, even for trekking. Even so, The Lord of the Rings production team transformed it into Edoras. This is the Rohan capital of the trilogy, where Meduseld is located. It took them a whole year to gain filming rights from the local government councils. Once they did there were strict guidelines they had to follow.
Any grass that was removed was moved to a nursery temporarily and had to be replanted at the end of filming. No-fly zones were marked out where birds were nesting to ensure no harm came to them. The production team also had to ensure they maintained the velocity of the river so fish could continue to swim upstream. To do this, bridges were installed at river crossings. After production had finished, they had to remove all traces of the set. This took 6 to 8 months.
In order to achieve a lot of this, the team had to use plywood. Without it, it would have been impossible to film. They would have permanently damaged the surrounding area, polluted the water, damaged grass, and drove birds away. Plywood was the most eco-friendly choice and left no permanent damage.
Based on 1960s Police Boxes, The Doctor’s TARDIS has become an instantly recognisable British symbol. The TARDIS (that stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space in case you didn’t know) is The Doctor’s time machine. The TARDIS is designed to blend in to its surroundings, however, the chameleon circuit got stuck and it has been a Police Box ever since.
Throughout the years of Doctor Who, the design of the TARDIS has changed slightly, but one thing remains the same – the TARDIS must look like it is made of wood. In 2005, the prop TARDIS was built entirely from teak timber. Its prominent wood grain has gone on to be a defining feature of the TARDIS; this was something prop designer Colin Richmond was very keen on and he ensured the box looked as wooden as possible. Since 2005, the wood grain on the outside of the TARDIS has been present. It has been named as something that makes the new props stand out from the classic era of Doctor Who.
Han Solos Blaster
Despite being an incredibly dangerous weapon in the films, it may surprise you to find out that Han Solos blaster prop is actually made mainly of timber. The blaster was made of parts and some cast resin. The original prop from Return of the Jedi sold in an auction in New York for $550,000 (£415,000). The art director James Schoppe owned it for more than 30 years before deciding to auction it off.
Harry Potter Wands
At some point in our lives, we have all picked up a stick, used it as a wand, and pretended we are in Harry Potter. At the start of the film’s development, the wands were presented as wooden prototypes to JK Rowling for her to choose which design she liked. The wands were all different – some with crystals and wire attached. She still chose the simpler wooden designs to go ahead with.
Over the course of the films, the designs of the wands changed to include more intricate designs; the wands still kept the wood elements but evolved into works of art with carvings, crystals, and unique additions for each character. On set, the wands used were actually made with resin, unlike the original prototypes. This was to ensure they were sturdy and could withstand damage. For any stunt work with wands, the actor would be given a rubber replica of the wand.
TV and Film Sets
Sets on TV and Film productions always look so realistic; however, they are mostly made of timber. This allows for them to be built, customised, and taken down with ease. It also allows for productions to recycle and reuse sets in order to make the industry a little eco-friendlier whilst saving the production teams some money. There have been some examples of sets being used across multiple TV shows and films to reduce costs. The industry has specific companies that sell on the wood from sets and look for ways to upcycle it into something new.
Timber at Timer 2 U Direct
We might not supply film and TV sets with timber, but we can supply you with timber for your project! Whether you’re making your own replica movie props, building a TARDIS in your back garden, or you’re simply building some furniture, Timber 2 U Direct have a range of made to measure timber for you to choose from. Any timber you order can be delivered directly to your door, so you don’t even have to worry about fitting it in your car! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team today or call us on 0115 993 1111.