Set designers, cinematographers, hobbyists, LARP people, carpenters, welders, and geeks: I need tips and tricks for building a one-person "space shuttle" out of cheap materials. It's for an independent HD video sci-fi short, and I would like to build it myself. Budget is $600–$1500 for materials and in-store material cutting/processing.
Aesthetically, I'd like to appropriate the jimmy-rigged wires/cabling from the Nebuchadnezzar's interior design (but less "shower/dryer hose-y" and more "telephone switchboard-y"), the "home-y" sense from Firefly/Serenity's (beer fridge, beat-up captain's chair, CB radio.) I think this drawing of Tank Girl's "boyfriend" Booga
gets the overall attitude
I'm looking for. I don't know why.
Lighting would be comparable to Peter Boyle's Sunshine (the Icarus' cockpit/bridge), Kubrick's 2001 (but only the pod during the EVA repair sequence) and less comparable to Star Wars/Star Trek ships/cockpits (no Millennium Falcon running lights, no even lighting/glassy consoles a la the Enterprise/Starfleet Shuttles.)
I guess the best analogy would be shooting in a hatchback car if all the interior lights were running, the GPS was on, the glovebox was replaced with a cockpit/monitor system and the North American driver's side and rear passenger area/trunk were gutted.
I need material ideas, specifically regarding light and video requirements:
1. Paint. I've heard that good set designers will paint at 20% darker than usual to facilitate lighting. But I'm dealing with something that's supposed to be "metallic" so it might need gloss. WWYD?
2. The ship has a cockpit viewing window, required for green screen shots. Would it be best to shoot video through plexiglass, glass, saran wrap? I do have access to a polarizing filter.
3. The idea is to light the movie with "practicals" only...meaning most of the light will be from computer monitors, status lights or running lights. What are some strategies for lighting such claustrophobic spaces? LED? Incandescent? And what's a good method for making plastic buttons that are backlit (bonus if they turn on and off when toggled, and extra-bonus if they're meaty-resistant-make-a-chunk-when-you-push-'em like Apollo spacecraft or trash compactors.)
4. I am considering using materials accessible at a Home Depot, eg. How can I turn these non-metal surfaces (vinyl plastic plywood) into cost-effective, fake-metal surfaces if needed?
5. Again with the lighting: how to dim everything at once to simulate a brown-out or power leakage?
Bonus round: A quick way to simulate zero-gravity on tools on-set would be helpful.
Other tips for a space-y interior would be much appreciated. Thank you!