Miniature set designer

Miniature set designer article illustration


Miniature set designers design and build miniature props and sets of motion pictures. They build models used for visual effects that meet the look and requirements of the production Miniature set designers cut material using hand tools to construct three-dimensional props and sets.

Includes people producing props for broadcasting programs.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to miniature set designer:

miniature set constructor
model designer and maker
miniature model set designer
miniature model set designer and maker
miniature maker
miniature model maker
model designer and builder
model set designer and builder
miniatures builder
miniature designer and maker
model set designer
miniature set designer and builder
miniature set builder
miniature model set designer and builder

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Miniature set designer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Miniature set designer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to miniature set designer.

location manager
costume attendant
set buyer
prop maker
set builder

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of miniature set designer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of miniature set designer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

lighting director
production designer
director of photography
video and motion picture director
mask maker

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of miniature set designer.

  • Graphic design: The techniques to create a visual representation of ideas and messages.
  • Cinematography: The science of recording light and electromagnetic radiation in order to create a motion picture. The recording can happen electronically with an image sensor or chemically on light sensitive materials such as film stock.
  • Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of miniature set designer.

  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Follow work schedule: Manage the sequence of activities in order to deliver completed work on agreed deadlines by following a work schedule.
  • Change over props: Set, remove, or move props on a stage during a changeover.
  • Consult with production director: Consult with the director, producer and clients throughout the production and post-production process.
  • Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
  • Build miniature sets: Build miniature sets from a variety of materials, working with the design staff to create the appropriate prop for the production.
  • Finish project within budget: Make sure to stay within budget. Adapt work and materials to budget.
  • Preset props: Arrange props on the stage in preparation of a performance.
  • Design miniature props: Draw miniature prop sketches and define prop materials and building methods.
  • Build miniature props: Build miniature props from a variety of materials, working with the design staff to create the appropriate prop for the production.
  • Preset miniature sets: Arrange miniature sets in preparation of shooting.
  • Create set models: Create three-dimensional models of the envisioned set layout.
  • Design miniature sets: Draw miniature set sketches and define set materials and building methods.
  • Model sets: Produce plans, drawings and models of sets.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of miniature set designer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Photography: Art and practice of creating aesthetically appealing images by recording light or electromagnetic radiation.
  • Film production process: The various development stages of making a film, such as scriptwriting, financing, shooting, editing, and distribution.
  • Lighting techniques: The characteristics of techniques used to create atmospheres and effects on camera or on stage; the equipment required and appropriate setup to use.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of miniature set designer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manage supplies: Monitor and control the flow of supplies that includes the purchase, storage and movement of the required quality of raw materials, and also work-in-progress inventory. Manage supply chain activities and synchronise supply with demand of production and customer.
  • Draw up artistic production: File and document a production in all its phases right after the performance period so that it can be reproduced and all relevant information remains accessible.
  • Manage consumables stock: Manage and monitor consumables stock to ensure that the production demands and deadlines can be met at all times.
  • Work with the camera crew: Work with the crew responsible for the camera operation and movement to get directions from them on where to stand for an aesthetic result.
  • Adapt sets: Adapt and move set pieces during rehearsals and live performances.
  • Adapt props: Adapt existing props for use in a specific production.
  • Ensure safety of mobile electrical systems: Take the necessary precautions while providing temporary power distribution independently. Measure and power up an installation.
  • Attend rehearsals: Attend rehearsals in order to adapt sets, costumes, make-up, lighting, camera set up, etc.
  • Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
  • Work with the director of photography: Work with the director of photography on the artistic and creative vision that needs to be followed during production of a movie or theatre production.
  • Work safely with pyrotechnical materials in a performance environment: Take necessary precautions while preparing, transporting, storing, installing and operating pyrotechnical materials and explosives of class T1 and T2.
  • Translate artistic concepts to technical designs: Cooperate with the artistic team in order to facilitate the transition from the creative vision and its artistic concepts to a technical design.
  • Work safely with chemicals: Take the necessary precautions for storing, using and disposing chemical products.
  • Analyse the need for technical resources: Define and make a list of the required resources and equipment based on the technical needs of the production.
  • Analyse a script: Break down a script by analysing the dramaturgy, form, themes and structure of a script. Conduct relevant research if necessary.
  • Prevent technical problems with scenic elements: Anticipate possible technical problems with scenic elements.
  • Hand props to actors: Hand the right props to actors before each scene. Give them directions on how to use objects.
  • Work with the lighting crew: Work with the crew responsible for the lighting setup and operation to get directions from them on where to stand for an aesthetic result.
  • Ensure visual quality of the set: Inspect and amend the scenery and set-dressing to make sure the visual quality is optimal with in constraints of time, budget and manpower.

ISCO group and title

3432 – Interior designers and decorators

  1. Miniature set designer – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels
Last updated on March 31, 2023

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