Building film aesthetic and tone with the Art Department and Production Design

As a video and film production company we’ve got a great team of talented people who are skilled at the craft of cinematography, enabling us to create award winning branded content for our clients.

The content we create always tells a story, told through the use of character, words, setting design and cinematography. Every element is critical to getting it right, but this is particularly true in the case of Production Design and Art Direction without which there would be no atmosphere or setting.

Here at Rollingball Productions, Lainey Donnelly is our Production Designer and Art Director. Lainey is exceptional at Production Design and Art Direction, and has worked on many premium brands including Foxtel, Disney, Virgin, Range Rover and the Cannes Film Festival. She works closely with the Director, Cinematographer and Producer, to oversee the overall look and feel and aesthetic of the stories and content that we create.

Uniting Agewell TV and online commercial – Art Direction, Costume and Set and Production Design by Lainey Donnelly.

What is Production Design and Art Direction?

Production Designers head up the Art Department in film and video production work. They are responsible for bringing the Director’s vision of the story to life through set, costume and anything that creates the tangible visual aesthetic of the film.

Production Designers and Art Directors not only work on the visual concept of the film or TVC but with many and varied logistics of filmmaking, including schedules, budgets and locations. They have to be incredibly creative as well as logistically talented because they not only conceptualise the visuals, but they then have to physically create them through texture, colour, location, world building and character insights. Without Production Design and Art Direction that is closely developed with the Director and Producer, the film can fall short of its artistic direction.

How to build film aesthetic and tone

At Rollingball Productions, Lainey begins her work by reading the film script or commercial treatment then allocating categories of scenes based on interior, exterior, location, graphic, vehicles and more. She works with the Director to breakdown the approach and focus of the visual design for each scene.

The next step is researching the characters, locations, colours and psyche that provide the background and detail for the visual design. Lainey creates a mood board or deck treatment consisting of images, sketches, inspiration, colour swatches, photos, textiles and anything else that builds on her ideas.

Her aim is to create a convincing world or physical environment that is the backdrop of the story within budget and without saying a word to the audience. The visual space has to convey the character and enhance the story without actually being the focus.

“Production design plays an essential role in storytelling,” says Lainey. “The production designer and costume designer work very closely to bring the story to life.  Costumes and the set need to be seen to make a part of the story, or it could be the other way around, where the costumes and set need to dissolve into the background to make way for the lead character or story.  Sometimes the set and costumes are the unsung heroes.  Production design and costume need to be an extension of the character and story.”

Rollingball Productions Production Design, Art Department and costume highlights

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Small Acts Big Change


Uniting AgeWell

NSW Fisheries – Department of Primary Industries

April Howard