When it comes to filmmaking, props are one of the most important parts of what makes a movie great. Movie props can help build an atmosphere, show character identity and development, set the circumstance like time and place, and more. And props don’t have to be super expensive either — the lightsaber from the original Star Wars movie only cost about $12 to make. All in all, props can add a lot of value to films. So what kind of props should films have? Let’s take a look at two of the most important types of props you should consider for your next movie.
The set is absolutely crucial to a scene — without anything in the background, there would be no sense of place, time, or anything else. So set props are essential. These props can include things like furniture, vehicles, decorations, lamps, and other items that are in the background and nearby setting during a scene. With these set props, viewers will have a good idea of where the characters are, what they’re doing, and even what time period they’re in. These objects may simply sit and serve as a set prop or they may be actually used by the characters. For example, if there is prop money sitting on a table, it’s a set prop. But once it is picked up and held by an actor, it then becomes a hand prop.
When an actor uses a prop, it becomes a hand prop. So while some props may start off as set props, they can also be hand props. These types of props can range greatly — they can be weapons, like guns or knives, they can be technology, like phones or laptops, or they can be things like real fake money for the scene. Hand props can also be costume accessories, like a belt or handbag. These props are essential to not only aiding actors in their scene but to give some depth to what they’re doing. A scene in a diner will be more realistic and relatable if the actors are eating food — which is a hand prop.
Movie props play a key role in making a scene look as real as possible. While film props can vary greatly, they all serve the purpose of setting the scene for both the actors and the viewers.