What is a Prop?
A’prop’ is anything an actor handles or holds that isn’t a costume or piece of set.
Production staff can find props for movies in a variety of different places.
Broadly, they can be broken down into three categories:
BUY the item
RENT the item
Many companies across the world will rent items. It’s a good idea to rent if the item is very expensive, very rare, or is only needed very briefly. A deposit is paid (often around a third of the items value). This deposit is returned when the item is returned safely. A rental fee depends on the value of the item, and the amount of time it’s needed. nnCommercial companies like Omega Cinema Props in Hollywood have a wide variety of props / furniture available. Also some film studios have prop collections which they’ve built up over many years. The Prop Warehouse at Universal Studios Hollywood has a vast collection. All of the items are listed in a database, and many are barcoded for ease of identification.
Art Directors will go around a large prop warehouse placing HOLD tags on items they’re interested in. They then make a formal booking, pay a deposit, and take the prop in question. At the end of the shoot, the props are returned, barcodes are scanned and the system automatically generates an invoice based on the amount of time the prop has been out. After it’s checked for damage, the deposit is paid, and the prop becomes available for another rental.