Screen used or production used. Should sellers just use PU to act on the side of caution?

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ContinuityKing

New Member
Screen Used or Production Used.

- Should prop sellers just state a prop is Production Used to act on the side of caution?

I do sometimes have an issue with wording on COAs stating prop as 'screen used'. I know a lot of professional prop sellers are meticulous in their research and have a lot of suppliers who worked closely with a production (Or indeed get warehouse clearance lots directly from the production themselves). But there's no guarantee a prop can be screen used unless it was screen matched (And that's usually by something unique to the prop itself, like damage in a specified area).

The reason why I'm concerned is that I sometimes see professional prop sellers selling items as screen used, and being super anal about continuity I've watched a scene back several times and it doesn't have the specified markings i.e. damage/wear or unique mark. Of course a prop can still be production used, but I think unless an item can be picked out specifically (And screen matched through wear or abnormalities) it shouldn't say screen used, only production used.

What does everyone else think?
 
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Rik1138

Sr Member
If the seller wasn't actually ON THE SET at the time of filming, and/or the prop can't be definitively screen-matched (as you said, with a stain, scratch, hand-painted, etc), 'screen used' can not be guaranteed. Thus, in my opinion, the phrase shoud not be used. (At the very least, as a buyer, understand the phrase can not be guaranteed unless you can confirm it yourself.)

One other scenario might be some guarantee that there was only one of the item used in the movie (which is rare, but happens), or like a complicated hero prop vs the dozens of stunt ones. The hero is likely screen used even if it can't be technically matched, but you never know about the stunt ones as they will make many. Live-fire weapons are another exception as they will usually only have one or two hero live-fire for a character, but dozens of various stunt versions (and sometimes you get a paper trailer with a weapon listing serial numbers and such).

Obviously exceptions can be made depending on the specific prop in question, but, for example, I can guarantee that almost every can of Chernobly from Hot Tub Time Machine out there that is listed as 'Screen used' never saw the front of a camera... :) As long as they aren't replicas, they were made by the production for use in the film, but it's likely they didn't use that many of them on screen, and certainly had plenty of extras. There's lots of examples like this.

I've even seen dress shirts sold as 'screen used' when they are still in their original packaging. PURCHASED for use on the film, sure, but never even worn... And being listed as 'hero' or 'screen used'... :rolleyes:
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Obviously exceptions can be made depending on the specific prop in question, but, for example, I can guarantee that almost every can of Chernobly from Hot Tub Time Machine out there that is listed as 'Screen used' never saw the front of a camera... :)
If that's the case, then United Artists (the production company) is not telling the truth. About 25% of the cans that made it off the set (the tin ones, not the rubber ones) were in my possession. The COA, directly from United Artists, says the cans were screen used. Other than a screen match, it's one of the strongest endorsements one can have. However, it's still not a 100% guarantee, which is why, in my eyes, the ability to screen match a prop greatly increases its value.

IMG_6548.jpg
 

Rik1138

Sr Member
Yep, exactly... I don't remember the details of the movie off the top of my head, but how many cans did you actually see in the movie? I can only remember a couple around the hot tub, but maybe there was a scene in a store or something... But I've seen dozens (possibly over a 100) for sale over the years, many of them even saying 'screen matched' because the can looks just like the one you see in the film. (No unique markings/dents/scratches, just the same can)

I suppose if there was a delivery truck full of them in a background shot, or a large store display at some point, then maybe they came from that batch and could be considered 'screen used', but that should be detailed on the COA. (That presents another question- lets say they were on set during filming, but they were that cans behind the front row... So you never actually see them, but there were right THERE during filming... Would that still be screen used? Or does the item actually have to show up, visibly, in the shot to count...?)

But in general, no, studio COAs generically stating 'screen used' are rarely accurate. If it's meant to be accurate, have them supply a screen shot from the film showing the EXACT six cans that came with that COA in the film. If they can't do that, then all they know is that the cans were made by the production for possible use in the film.

I have COAs from studios that actually just say 'This item is guaranteed to have been screen used in X movie' and they give the same COA with EVERY prop they sell... It's just a generic post card basically, but it says 'screen used'.

I think some studios/auction houses think anything production made can be called 'screen used'.
 

AvZ

Member
Unless it is a screen match, no one can say it is screen used. As there is no proof that piece is what you see on screen. Even if the piece was used filming it does not mean it was on screen (as scenes mostly shot multiple times).

The best description (not in use) between "screenmatched" and "production made" imho is:
"production made, with signs of possible production use".
 

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ContinuityKing

New Member
If that's the case, then United Artists (the production company) is not telling the truth. About 25% of the cans that made it off the set (the tin ones, not the rubber ones) were in my possession. The COA, directly from United Artists, says the cans were screen used. Other than a screen match, it's one of the strongest endorsements one can have. However, it's still not a 100% guarantee, which is why, in my eyes, the ability to screen match a prop greatly increases its value.
good point and I take that onboard. Ideally the COA would come from the studio itself but like you point out there's no 100% guarantee. With my initial post I should have clarified that I was referring to predominantly 3rd party vendors, who obtain their props from a variety of sources (Besides the studio or production company).

Side note: I do find it frustrating when professional vendors are selling items they always tend to upload the smallest, low res jpg images ever onto their site. So it makes it a lot harder to see for yourself to match it to the item onscreen :confused:
 
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robstyle

Master Member
the Chernobly cans were also used by extras in the background. Same thing with the energy drinks from Southland Tales (which if memory serves are NOS cans underneath).

as per the screen or production used scenario, the possibilities are near endless. Ive rented, loaned or just brought items to many jobs that go back into the garage for use another day. It could be a job where im a third party on payroll, or off payroll out of pocket/petty cash... im closer or faster than a shop and show up with said items and other items they may need.... Ive been hired to run smoke machines or fill a stunt part on some jobs and ended up supplying a variety of props.
In the end if youre dealing with someone that has something, there is a trail and story to every item. Sadly there was a few people in positions to fake items for many years. One has since passed away and the other is no longer in the position to gain access to moulds. Those situations are where a trail and story come into play. A good rule of thumb is quantity and quality. If there are 12 Constantine rubber shotguns in collector hands, and the paintwork is too clean or inconsistent as well as scope parts being completely wrong, and variance in assembly... Many times the story of how an item was sourced off a set/production is more interesting than the item itself.
 
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