Often unnoticed to the untrained eye, props function as the glue that holds a movie together. Whether it is a Civil War battle or a futuristic alien invasion, prop masters are charged with the task of making sure every detail on the screen appears historically accurate and realistic.

But what is a prop? It seems like a simple question, but it is not so easy. A prop is anything a character can pick up, be it a magazine, weapon, or lamp. This can include food items and, depending on production, even decals, such as those on the sides of ambulances and police cars.

A prop is not, however, the vehicle itself. It is also not the furniture that the lamp sits on or the uniform that goes with the weapon, although jewelry can be considered a prop. So while Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” pulled quite a prize at auction, they aren’t props. Nor is Orson Welles’ pinstriped shirt from “Citizen Kane,” but the sled called “Rosebud” owned by a young Welles in the movie would be considered a prop, and was bought at auction by Steven Spielberg in 1982 for $60,500.

When it comes to collecting props, there are two types: those that were actually used on a movie set during production, and replicas, which may even be licensed by a studio. Like autographs, it is often extremely difficult to fully authenticate a prop. Studios have even been known to sell props post-production claiming they were used on set, when the piece in question was actually a less collectible re-creation.

Getting your hands on authentic props can be difficult. In older movies, props were often discarded after the film because the studios didn’t have space to store them. In other instances, props were left in the possession of the prop master, which is why such individuals are usually the best sources of authentic props.

Acquiring props from recent movies is no easier. Because studios pay for the props in a film, they often maintain possession of them after production. In recent years, studios have started to hold on to props so they can be used in sequels, potential or planned. In other instances, studios will hire an auctioneer to sell props immediately after filming has ceased in order to recoup some of the movie’s production costs.

The prop collector also needs to keep in mind that many props are not what they appear to be on screen. For example, if a character in a movie that’s set in the 18th century is r...

For the most part, props from the most memorable movies are the ones most sought by collectors, be it a blaster from the original “Star Wars,” a pair of dice rolled by Marlon Brando in “Guys and Dolls,” or the “Witch Remover” sprayer used by the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.”

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Recent News: Movie Props

Source: Google News

Movie prop maker accepted into prestigious fellowship of furniture makers
The Northern Echo, April 18th

A MASTER prop maker for some of the biggest blockbusters in the last ten years has now been accepted into an elite group of furniture crafters. Craig Narramore, from Northallerton, was snapped up to work on Star Wars Episode 1 straight from his model ...Read more

In Venice, learning to row your own boat
Washington Post, April 17th

Up front, she showed me how to set the long oar in the forcola, or oar rest, a crooked piece of wood that looks like a “Harry Potter” movie prop. Next, she made sure that my feet were properly positioned — right foot pointing forward, toes about even...Read more

Captain America's shield had many stand-ins
New York Daily News, April 2nd

Chris Evans wielded 46 shields for 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'. Movie prop master Russell Bobbitt was ready with aluminum shields for 'hero' shots, fiberglass ones for running and rubber look-alikes for fighting. BY Ethan Sacks. NEW YORK...Read more

INTERVIEW: Braunton prop maker Nic Saunders has worked on Skyfall, Les ...
North Devon Journal, April 2nd

In April, Nic is set to run a weekend of workshops at the 360° Trust's Studios where groups will be taught how to mould an iconic movie prop, casting out enough for everyone to take home a copy. "The format of the course will run much like a day in the...Read more

FATHOM & North Design Labs Create 3D Printed Movie Prop for Terry Gilliam's ...
ThomasNet News (press release), April 1st

North Design Labs, LLC was working on a project for The Zero Theorem, a sci-fi movie directed by Terry Gilliam, when they came to FATHOM in need of a highly detailed movie prop with a short lead-time. The team wanted to 3D print a functional...Read more

Iran says mock carrier is a film prop
IHS Jane's 360, March 27th

It is difficult to believe the claim that the mock carrier is a movie prop, given the expense of building it when compared with using computer-generated imagery and the fact that an aircraft carrier was not directly involved in shooting down Flight 655...Read more

Analyst: Iran's carrier replica unlikely to be movie prop
Military Times, March 24th

Search. Analyst: Iran's carrier replica unlikely to be movie prop. Mar. 24, 2014 - 06:00AM |. Comments · Tweet. Email; Print; Share. LinkedIn; Tumblr; StumbleUpon; Reddit; Del.icio.us; Digg. A; A. An overhead view of the Nimitz-class replica being...Read more

Iran says replica US aircraft carrier is really a movie prop
The Guardian, March 23rd

Iran says replica US aircraft carrier is really a movie prop. • US intelligence suspected ship was for propaganda use • Film is about US shooting-down of Iranian airliner in 1988. Share · Tweet this. Email. Reuters in Dubai. theguardian.com, Sunday 23...Read more