The Props

The Props, sounds like things like umbrellas for Gene Kelly's singing in the rain, but when you make a video you will almost certainly interact with some object, whether it is demonstrating it or presenting it in some way, or just using an everyday object. In this blog we look at some of the objects you will meet and how to display them better.

What is a prop?

A prop is something that you pick up touch move or otherwise manipulate in a video. It is not part of the basic scenery or location but it is something that actually handled and used.

Props can be anything you use or work with in a video. And these are usually essential to what you are doing in the video.

How to use a Prop

Usually the prop is something important so in a way we treat it like another Talent.

Clear everything else out of the way that may distract from the thing you are showing.

Adjust the lighting to reduce the reflection off of the surface.

Move the prop around and check that it doesn’t pick up light reflections anywhere in the shot, because unlike in a picture in videos objects can move too.

Clean the item so that it looks as good as it can unless of course you need the object to look that way.

Adjust the camera so if you are examining the prop it is not distorted by the camera.

Using a Prop example

Let take an example of a mobile phone in a video.

Maybe it is going to be used to call someone.

First lets introduce the prop. Pick it up from where it is, in a pocket, or on a table. The camera shows it is being picked up.

The we are going to call someone, so we want a close up of the phone to show the action.

Then we want to see the person calling so we see the prop - the mobile phone being moved so the person can talk or text or whatever you want to do. This will be a wider shot - possibly just the head a phone showing the phone arriving by the ear.

Props to avoid distraction

There is another very practical use of props and that is to put it in somebody’s hands to stop them waving their hands around. If you watch many people who don’t have something in their hands, then they tend to wave them around quite a lot. But if you put something in their hands then they can’t wave their hands around as easily and if you give them something that they need two hands to hold then this is a very effective way of stopping them looking silly.

Props aren’t just something that you would put in your hand though it can be a chair if someone is sitting on a chair then really, it’s not a problem but if somebody comes up to a chair and moves it and then sits down on it then it has become a prop it has become something that is being used in the video. 

Using the prop differently
How the talent interacts with this prop can make a Videos video seem natural or if they interact badly with the prop then rather silly. Which one you want to do depends on the type of video that you are creating. Some of the best comedy ever, have been with very simple everyday objects that the user uses in an unnatural way. An example of this is a man carrying a ladder or child with a hose. When you call the child they turn and also turn the hose on the camera operator. The unconventional way of handling these every day objects is what creates the comedy.


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