A Barn Fit For a Kook

I was assigned the task of creating the barn and trees for our Space Kook. Both of the items went through a variety adjustments, but the final product was something that our entire team was proud of.

I began the process by making note of the dimensions of our overall environment. A group conversation took place to discuss the details of how large our Space Kook would be in reality, in turn affecting his appearance against the barn and set trees. We decided that the Kook was about seven to eight feet tall, and that our barn door was about ten feet tall. We then created a ratio to match the height of our six- inch miniature.

The barn was created out of cardboard. The first draft was simply painted brown to imitate a wooden pattern. We decided that the finish was too smooth and needed more texture to create a more genuine appearance when the light hit our set.

The next version was created by covering the cardboard with Jaxsan, an acrylic latex coating used predominantly for waterproofing roofs and thermal insulation. It acts similarly to a moist clay, and creates a nice grainy texture when dried, imitating the strokes it was applied with. I coated the cardboard using a popsicle stick and spread it on in horizontal lines. I next painted multiple layers of browns, blacks, and reds to imitate a wood grain pattern.

At this point the board was quite flimsy, and still lacked the precise wooden texture that we were striving for. The finish was one large coated piece and seemed flat.

Next, I cut the board covered in Jaxsan into thin strips, and then again into smaller rectangles. I aligned all the pieces on a thicker piece of board, and re-glued them on. This finally created a texture that we wanted, giving the appearance that the barn was created of many wooden boards.

Lastly, the barn was painted with a matte gray texture, the same color as the rest of the environment. This way, when light hits the set, it appears more cohesive as a unit.

The trees also went through a few variations. The first version of them was created with a small pipe and metal wire. The trees were to be painted black and act as silhouettes. It was decided that the branches of the first version were too thin and spaghetti- like in comparison to the trunk.

We then shifted to using foam board. The trees were at first difficult to cut, resulting jagged edges. I switched to a knife that better suit my hand size, and consistently changed the blade to create more smooth cuts.

The trees were then embellished with Jaxsan texture, a holey cloth, and black moss. They were then fastened to the final miniature set with hot glue.

Here is an image of our final set, including the trees and barn, in front of a green screen during our shooting day.