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#1 Timothy Sewell

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 03:19 AM

Possibly a slightly flippant question, but I figure if I can't get it answered here I won't anywhere.

 

I've just finished watching the first season of Designated Survivor on Netflix, where I suppose Kiefer Sutherland is doing penance for torturing all those bad guys by playing POTUS as a European Social Democrat(!) - but it set me to wondering.

 

We've had West Wing, House of Cards, Veep plus many different movies and other TV series focusing on the US presidency and every one has a virtually identical Oval Office/White House set. My question is - is there a long term WH set somewhere that all these different productions hire out, or does each of them build their own?


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 06:45 AM

I shot the "Designated Survivor" pilot and we built the White House West Wing for that. There was an existing set in Toronto somewhere built already but it had some issues. The network had already committed to a series order so it was worth spending the money to construct sets -- most pilots would try to avoid that since they can't spread that expense over the months of a series.

I think it is a mix, if some TV show or movie is going to spend a lot time in the Oval Office, they will build it but if they only have a few shooting days, they will try and rent an existing set. I did a brief shot for a montage in "Akeelah and the Bee" in the Oval Office and we were able to use the set from "The West Wing" on a Saturday afternoon for that.
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#3 Timothy Sewell

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 07:33 AM

Thanks very much for the info David. It's a somewhat schlocky show, but it looks great! Given the endless fascination film and TV has with the presidency I'm quite surprised some enterprising soul hasn't set up a permanent stage for hire!


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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:34 AM

There surely as (as David Mentions in fact) but generally those type of standing sets are rather crap, or just not well up-kept since they're rented so much. Hospital sets are often like this, i've also found.

I'm sure there is at least 1 standing set for the Oval Office in your major production ares, NY, LA, Vancouver, Toronto.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:26 PM

Yes, those generic sets like courtrooms, hospitals, etc. are pretty beat-up -- I remember shooting in a closed hospital facility that had been used by "Scrubs" for years and had to frame out the ceilings because they had so many broken panels.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:32 PM

The only ever standing set i really liked came out of a Firefly which is still around, and in pretty good condition, but aside from that yeah they get raggedy.


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