Saturday, July 6, 2013

California Vacation, 2 of 5

This is a series of posts about our recent vacation to California. Vacation seems like a foreign word most of the time, because we don't know how to take one, can't afford one, the timing is off, etc. However, we planned and budgeted accordingly and enjoyed our 6 days away. 

Second Stop: Warner Bros. Studio Tour

After our two days at Disney, we went on a tour at Warner Bros. Studio Tour. This was such a great tour! 

Our tour was 2 hours and 15 minutes and including both a riding tour and a walking tour. For the riding portion, we rode on this:

Included in one of those seats is a lock-box. On certain portions of the tour, we were required to lock our cameras up and we were NOT allowed to take pictures - this included the most exciting part of the tour, a trip to the set of The Big Bang Theory. We saw Penny's apartment, the stairwell and Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. There were big huge tarps over the furniture in both apartments, as a way to preserve the sets as the show is  on summer break. It was still SO MUCH FUN to see! The sets appear much larger on television, but through the magic of television a.k.a. forced perspective, the angle of the camera matched with the angle of the set pieces can add up to 10 feet of perceived depth to any set. This was definitely the case as we saw the set of The Big Bang Theory

We visited the vehicle department and saw many retired vehicles on display. 

We LOVED the show Chuck!
Scooby Doo, Dukes of Hazzard, Austin Powers, and one of the Batmobiles!
Looks like Howard from The Big Bang Theory might not be going back to the moon, since the spaceship set has been retired.

The Matrix
We were allowed to take pictures on one retired set - Friends!!!

The Warner Bros. Studio is actually a small town in itself. It's made up of various stages housing various television shows. Warner Bros. one rule is that you can't blow up any of their sets, but you can alter them however you like for the particular show. 

While we were there, a house was being rebuilt as a car had ridden through the house for a particular show. 

Below are some pictures of various parts of the outside studio:

They have many outside sets that are painted different colors or different signs are posted to look different for each show.
Someone from the Props Department actually gets paid to make the new sidewalk look old
This street corner looks like a Spring/Summer day, but if a show/movie needed it to be winter, someone from the Props Dept. would come and pluck all the leaves off the tree(s) to make it more like winter. And if it was winter and there were no leaves on the trees, someone from the Props Dept. would come and attach each individual leaf to the tree(s) to make it look like spring. 
Inside the Storefronts:
Most of the outside buildings are only outside sets but a few have a small inside shell for filming an indoors scene. When that's the case, the inside room has these huge pipes like this that pour air conditioning into the small space. The area can get very warm due to a small space added with a large group of people, extra lighting, heat from the cameras, etc. When filming, the air condition is not on because of the noise, but when filming takes a break or they cut for any reason, cool air is flowed back into the area.
The Rooftops:
Most of the rooftops of the buildings look like this. This scaffolding allows the crew to shoot film from the top angle and add lights, stuntmen, etc.
Central Park:
When a show films in "Central Park", more often than not, it's this small patchy area of grass found in California.
When a television shows needs a generic type building, they typically use the same building front as other shows have used. However, they take down the title or name of the building and replace it with their own. Most of these buildings are hollow on the inside, allowing for the characters to walk into the building but the inside of the building is another completely different set. 

See below for some generic type buildings that have been used on countless shows. 

This church has been used since The Waltons aired in the late '70's and is still used today.
City Hall
This is a high school currently set for a WB show but it was also seen in Suburgatory and many other TV shows.
This is the Courthouse that was used in Batman & Robin. We were told that when Adam West/Batman and Burt Ward/Robin would run up the steps the Courthouse, it was the same footage each and every episode. There are two people on the street corner during that scene and they were paid for each episode they were featured in, despite that they only filmed the original scene one time.

Here are some specific sets from television shows.

The train platform from ER.
This is the largest studio on the Warner Bros lot. It was used for movies like Jurassic Park where large set pieces like the large dinosaurs require additional space, especially height.
This is the Growing Pains house. Our tour guide pointed it out and I literally gasped. There were several  teenagers on our tour who had no concept of the show and a few older people that knew the reference, but as a child of the '80's, I LOVED that our tour guide pointed this out.

The only Sound Stage we were allowed in was The Big Bang Theory, but here are some pics from the outside of various studios.

...and last but not least, this is our Tour Guide Garrett. He is an aspiring writer and has played an extra in a few films, but he was fabulous as a tour guide. At the end of the tour, he admitted it was his 2nd day on the job!!!

We concluded our tour by eating at a food truck. Because Warner Bros. is so large (between 5,000 and 7,000 people on property any given day), the food trucks come to them and there's an entire street to choose from. 

No comments:

Post a Comment