For use when asking questions about a specific 'prop' used within a TV or movie set. Always use in conjunction with the work tag.
Excerpted from the Wikipedia article for 'Theatrical property':
The term has readily transferred to television and motion picture production, where they are commonly referred to by the phrase movie prop or film prop. In recent years, the increasing popularity of movie memorabilia (a broader term that also includes costumes) has added new meaning to the term "prop," broadening its existence to include a valuable after-life as a prized collector's item. Typically not available until after a film's premiere, movie props appearing on-screen are christened "screen-used", and can fetch thousands of dollars in online auctions and charity benefits.
Many props are ordinary objects. However, a prop must "read well" from the house or on-screen, meaning it must look real to the audience. Many real objects are poorly adapted to the task of looking like themselves to an audience, due to their size, durability, or color under bright lights, so some props are specially designed to look more like the actual item than the real object would look. In some cases, a prop is designed to behave differently from how the real object would, often for the sake of safety.
Examples in our context could include:
- The gun used by Guido to shoot before (or after) Han Solo fired.
- Software used in a sci fi movie to sequence DNA.
- Inside-joke items, such as Han in Carbonite statuettes in Firefly, or teddy bears in Babylon 5.
- Entire ship models
The term came from 'company prop-erty' , where roaming acting troupes provided their own costumes, but the portable items used in their shows were owned by their employers.