When you’re on the set, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. There are certainly many things to take care of, and one of them is protecting the floors. This goes for shooting in your own home and studio, but also if you’re doing it in someone else’s, no matter if it’s the model’s place or a place you rented for the shoot.
Photo and video shoots require a lot of heavy gear, and dragging it around can damage the floors. You certainly don’t want this to happen, as I’m sure you don’t want to pay for the repair. This is why Jay P. Morgan gives you some useful advice on protecting the floors to keep them safe from any damage and even dirt.
Materials for protection
You can get craft paper at Home Depot in the painting area, and it’s quite cheap. It’s thin and easy to tear, but it should be sufficient to protect the floor throughout a day of shooting.
It’s simple to use – just roll it out on the floor and use some blue tape to tape it down so it doesn’t move or roll back.
If you’re going to shoot in the house for several days and you’ll be hauling heavy equipment, then using something thicker than craft paper is a better solution. Jay suggests using ram boards, which is a type of heavy cardboard. It’s thicker and heavier than paper, and more difficult to tear. If even a ram board isn’t enough, you can use a layout board. It’s a heavier variant of ram board, and some productions use it when they shoot in the house for a longer period of time.
A simple solution to save the floors from damage and dirt is for the crew to wear booties. This way they’ll keep the floor clean, and if the backdrop covers a part of the floor, booties will protect it from getting dirty.
If you don’t have any of the papers and boards for protecting the floors, good old furniture blankets can do the trick. You can cover the part of the floor with the gear so it doesn’t damage the floor. When you’re done shooting, just pull it up and move it to the next place for shooting.
Using the protective materials
When you unroll the paper, ram board or layout board, you need to use some blue tape to tape it down. This way it won’t move or roll back, and you won’t have it in the way. However, you should be careful with the tape. If you press it too hard, it can peel off a layer of paint once you take it off. Because of this, choose some weaker masking tape and don’t press it too hard.
Other than floors, you may also want to protect the walls. If the gear, crew and/or the models will be leaning or rubbing against them, you should add protective paper onto the walls as well.
If you are preparing an entirely white and clean set, you can add paper over the part of the set where the crew will walk and set up the gear. When everything’s set up, you just roll the paper back up and the set is ready.
As for the booties, the crew should wear them while on the set, and take them off when leaving. You can put a sign up to remind them to wear them all the way throughout the set. Jay is so meticulous, that he even cleans the shoes of his models with a damp rag. This way he keeps the set clean even during the shoot, and it stays clean after it. I must say I’m impressed!
When you want to remove the paper, don’t wad it into a big bundle. It will be huge and difficult to take it out. Just roll it back up, because this way you can reuse it. Even if you’re going to throw it away, still roll it back up, because this way you will dispose of it more easily.
These were some of Jay P. Morgan’s tips for maintaining the floors on the set clean and scratch-free. To be honest, I never gave it too much thought, since I shot in public places or in decaying homes (no one would really care about scratching the floor here and there in those places). But for those of you shooting in someone’s home or in a studio, these pieces of advice could be precious.
[Video and Photo Quick Tip: Protecting Floors | Jay P. Morgan]