Featured, Film and Video Production Tips

Video Wardrobe And Props

There’s so many things I love about working for a small video production company like Atomic Productions, but one of my favorites is preparing props and wardrobe.  Our clients range from small local businesses to huge global corporations.  So, there’s no shortage of wardrobe needs, costumes and props that we must create for our clients on a regular basis. 

Since, the productions we do are not huge Hollywood films, we ask our talent to bring their own wardrobe.  Unless, we are creating a specific character.  However, even with the amazing Bay Area talent that we work with, actors don’t always bring the right attire.  Some actors bring tons of stuff and then others bring only what they’re wearing, or the few items they bring don’t fit… The struggle is real.  So, that’s where Atomic stands out, I always bring supplemental wardrobe. 

Even for the most basic shoots I will show up with 2 huge bins of wardrobe.  We did a shoot in Oklahoma once and one of my checked bags was wardrobe for the shoot.  As it turned out, we used almost every bit of it!

Fortunately for me, I have the luxury of being able to store props and wardrobe at the office and a small off-site storage.  I have 2 big closets full of wardrobe; dress shirts, workout clothes, dresses, pants, kids clothing – you name it, I might have it.  Need clown shoes, I’ve got those!  Need an official CHP uniform – I’ve got that too.  Looking for a fake pregnant belly, you guessed it, I’ve got it!  Sometimes, I think our clients come up with outrageous ideas to see what I have in my arsenal!  Wacky wavy arm guy – that’s right, I have that!  And yes, we used him in a shoot.
Through the years some of the most challenging thing is putting together a specific look in a short amount of time with a limited budget. Amazon Prime is an absolute must! We created a surgery scene and everything we bought came from Amazon except for the scrubs. Those came from a local medical supply store.

While you can get a lot of things on Amazon, you can’t get everything! Example, one of our latest projects was a series of YouTube videos for a client that required a 70’s Game Show Host. Think Gene Rayburn from the Match Game. I found an awesome place in Berkeley, Mars Mercantile which sells vintage clothing. I walked in with pictures of Gene Rayburn and said, “I need to create this look can you help.” You get a lot of help at almost any store when you tell them you’re shooting a commercial, movie, video etc. And sometimes they even give you an unexpected discount! His microphone I created using an antenna from a radio and a windscreen from an actual microphone. We spent less than $100 creating his look! Wardrobe on a budget.

And, what do you do when you need to create a meter maid uniform? It’s not like they sell those at the mall… And Amazon is not going to have what you need – unless it’s a sexy meter maid costume. If you use a little creative thinking you can find local stores that sell the “shell” of what you need. Work World has been an absolute gem for me. I’ve created so many looks there. When I walk in, the workers ask me what my latest project is. And the best thing is that they know I am going to over buy with the intention of returning what we don’t use. 

You have to be careful buying and returning items repeatedly to the same stores. I have seen other prop & wardrobe people get banned from stores for returning everything repeatedly, especially after using them on the shoot. However, if you’re upfront about shooting a commercial or video and that you will return the unused items, most stores don’t have a problem with that. A lot of them will ask to see the final look you create. Since, I shop at a lot of the same stores, I can’t risk being banned or not allowed to make returns. Can you imagine if I told a client, I’m so sorry I can’t shop at Macy’s in San Francisco, or Old Navy won’t let me return anything? That would be a disaster!   

For your next shoot, what will you have Atomic Productions create for you? You dream it, and we’ll make sure it happens within your budget! We are truly a one stop shop for all of your video production needs. 

Lucy Nazareno