Ask Gratuitous Sets your burning scenic questions!

We’re fans of Gratuitous Sets and we want your help building a list of questions to ask them!

As we start the summer of RECON, we’re excited to be putting together our first video collaboration.

Gratuitous Sets logo

Their set design and tech videos are a fantastic resource for the escape room and immersive experience community. I find them informative, amusing, and honest.

Submitting your Question

We’re making this super easy by providing 3 simple options for you:

  • Write your question in the comments on this post.
  • Drop it in our Facebook post.
  • Reply to our Tweet.

You’ll get your question in the queue through whichever option floats your boat.

How’s This Q&A Gonna Work?

David and Lisa will read the questions and Gratuitous Sets will answer them… and it will all go up on their YouTube page which you should be subscribed to.

We will, of course, share the piece as well.


  1. Love Gratuitous Sets!!! I’d love to hear tips on creating realistic, but durable rocks. Huge rocks, not rock walls πŸ˜‰ Rocks are my nemesis in set creation.

    1. Expanding on this, I would like to know the best practices for coating carved foam to look like rock, prioritizing look and durability. Not just a prop, but a full set, like a cave or mine shaft. Thank you!

  2. I would love to know any tips/tricks for set design with UV paints in an escape room (smaller spaces) and the best lighting to make them pop!

  3. A handful of questions to take or leave (people should feel free to refer to other Q&A’s or videos they’ve given!)

    1) What are their favorite *cheap and dirty* set building techniques? If they had to build a fun (obviously not hyper realistic) set in one day, or on a super shoestring budget, or as a rough prototype, what techniques/materials would they reach for?

    2) Have they seen/participated in mixed-media sets that incorporate physical builds as well as projection-mapped video (as done by teamLab, a number of the OneDome exhibits, Electric Playhouse, etc)? Any insights / thoughts on that direction in design (including “we think that stuff is all bogus”)?

    3) What is their approach to safety in set design, specifically fire safety? How to make sure emergency exits are still obvious while maintaining an immersive environment? Materials and techniques to use/avoid on this basis?

  4. What are the three biggest issues that DIY set builders struggle with, excluding safety and build time?

  5. What are their rules of thumb for making builds and props public-proof? How sturdy is sturdy enough?

  6. When designing a puzzle, do you ever reach a point of “not worth it” (time + effort β‰  result). Where is that point and if there isn’t a point (since you usually have custom commissioned pieces I assume and have to complete it), how do you approach solving something challenging that gives you too much trouble even after having walked away or had someone else take a look?

  7. How do you see the future of set / prop design progressing? In other terms, what techniques or products are changing the industry and worth investing in? What techniques or products would you like to see developed or improved in the coming years?

  8. Not sure if this falls in their realm, but I’d be curious to hear if they have any good advice on making drop ceiling tiles look less…like thatπŸ˜… And texturing walls/props (metal/ stone/ forest/ etc)

  9. How much input do they have when building a prop or set for a client. What was their favorite prop build?

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