Six questions to San-Marie Vogel on the Topic of Set Design

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RoepTV, South Africa’s first online streaming service with exclusive Christian content launched on 1 September. Udumo Group was primarily responsible for the design and set-up of all their respective sets. San-Marie sheds some light on this niche design skill.

1. What does a typical day look like on set or in the life of a set designer?  

By the time the set is built, and the cameras are rolling, the set designer’s work is done. Most of the time is spent in pre-production meetings to determine the personality and brand of each show and to then create mood boards to match, not only the brand but also the available budget.  The most time-consuming part of the set design is sourcing all the elements of the set. In an ideal world, pre-production on a show should at least allow 2 weeks, but set designers are also used to very tight deadlines, so the Internet and online shopping can be a lifesaver!

 2.  What is the end goal or purpose of set décor?

Set décor aims to create an atmosphere or environment to compliment the personality of the programme or show.  The décor establishes the brand, enhances the message and creates the visual environment for the message to be received by audiences.

3.  Which factors determine the vibe or feeling you want to help communicate?

The type of programme, message, audience and presenter or actors all influence how the mood board is created. Factors such as the brand established for the show also influence the choice of colour, mood and layout.


4.  What if those ideas are so cliché that it actually becomes off-putting to the audience?

TV is a visual medium, so the audience will judge the content and type of show before a single word is spoken. It is therefore vital to complement the content of a show with set décor. The visual media is a competitive world and audiences have the right of choice. To create something tongue in cheek and expect audiences to give you the benefit of the doubt before content is even given, will be a massive faux pas!

5.   Which design factors add depth of beauty and meaning?

All the elements of good interior design apply to set design as well. Use of colour, layers of textures, lighting and depth all play an important role. The biggest challenge when it comes to set design is always creating the desired atmosphere within a very tight space.

6.   How does set décor strengthen the creative and production teams?

Everybody loves to work in an environment that compliments all the different talents of the team. If the set design is done correctly, the technical team has cues for delivering on their objectives as well.