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My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?

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Mike LittleMy studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 7, 2013 at 2:43:27 pm

Hi! So, I was given a space by my boss to set up a small, in-house, studio. Green screen, mostly talking head stuff dramatically low ceiling... My desk is in a space just outside the studio proper. But... near by is a small building fitness center. 3 treadmills, no waiting. When people are in there, banging away, the entire place shakes and vibrates. God forbid someone is using the weight machine improperly! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! When at my desk during one of these sessions, it feels like I am sitting on the back of a battleship running full throttle while someone drops 50 lb. sacks of potatoes every two seconds. It isn't as bad in the studio, but you can still hear and feel it.

It is clear that need to build additional soundproofing in/on the walls. But what I don't know how to work with is the vibration. This space is on a terrace level of an office building, parking garage below. I guess you could say that I am in the basement (with my red stapler). I can't control who uses the fitness center, or when. The fitness room is open to all tenants of the building.

Sound proofing is one thing, but vibration? I don't know how to approach that. Moving isn't an option.

Thoughts?


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Mark SuszkoRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:15:33 pm

Telephoto shooting magnifies vibration. So working with a wide lens, close-in, can help. Small, regular frequency wobbles can be taken out in post using a plug-in with various degrees of success but the render times are long. Some cameras use active motion stabilization of their lens optics, this would also help.

Really, the space you describe is plain unsuitable, but I know, I know, its all you have to work with. The thing I would try is to float a new, isolated floor in the shooting area that talent and camera both stand on together, with elastomeric absorbing layers and/or deadweight mass like sand under it. If everything is in the same reference frame and shaking together, then nothing in that frame will seem to be shaking except in comparison to a nearby wall, just like on a boat or car shot, and since the wall is chromakey that won't matter. But you already have a ceiling height issue and adding two or three inches of floor may not work.


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charles meadowsRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 7, 2013 at 6:43:28 pm

Egg boxes on the wall and thick sponge/rubber mats on the floor. Nowt much more you can do after that except tell your boss the room he gave you sucks.

"There's no point in filming if you don't have fun"
Charles Meadows
Creative Director
Incubate Productions South Africa
http://www.incubatevideo.co.za


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Mark SuszkoRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 7, 2013 at 7:44:34 pm

Egg boxes are more for reducing reverb than for dampening sound. Their shape is designed to break up large waves into little ones that interfere with and cancel each other.

Sound issues have to be dealt with in two modes. You have to isolate the space physically to prevent vibration traveling into the structure via conduction, and you have to absorb acoustic energy in the air.

The first issue is dealt with using air gaps and rubber seals between all major structural joints or contact points, like where studs meet the floor and roof, and where walls touch.

The second is done using mass, since moving a mass eats up the energy. Typical solutions for that mass include lead foil in the walls, layers of cement board with transmission air gaps in-between, or dense batts of materials with a porous outer surface and a convoluted interior of foam, fiberglass, or horsehair or similar, with many interior surfaces that trap the sound waves.

Angling walls by a few degrees to make the room non-square is used to break up standing resonant waves and reduce reverb or slap-back by causing an interference pattern of wave-canceling in the space.

The HVAC ducts and any wall penetrations for utilities need their own treatment in both modes or they will conduct and resonate sound into the room quite notably.

Instead of egg crates on the walls, on a budget, foam rubber wrestling mats would do better, especially with shag rug or decorative textile wall coverings like carpet tile on top of them. For temporary use, hanging mover's blankets works great and is cheap, blankets are low-cost at u-haul stores or harbor freight stores. Or build new inner walls of cement board, isolated from the real wall with rubber washers or grommets, and backfill that with expanding foam or loose fiberglass fluff, then cover with tapestry carpet or fiberglass acoustic insulation tiles. Now you have a dead audio space to work in.


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Mike LittleRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 1:45:15 pm

What about sand bags? We control an empty room between us and the exercise room. Could I load up the wall between me and that room with 50lb. bags of sand?


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Mark SuszkoRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:44:31 pm

Can the floor take the weight?


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Mike LittleRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 9, 2013 at 3:06:18 am

Good question. I have no idea. I guess I would have to bring in a structural engineer, or some such. Do you think that would work? I am getting a little desperate... I am worried less about the quality of the video, and more about my sanity. The pounding and vibrations are getting to me.


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 9:38:41 am

Reminds me of a long time ago when I was looking for new space. A local "Media" office style building showed us an unfinished audio studio in their basement that we could have our offices in. Apparently they had till that point spent $125,000 and then left it without finishing it.
As I was asking the question "Why?", and Underground train passed through right beneath our feet...

I agree with Mark, unless you can get a really good gyro or steadicam + sound proof with triple layer insulation and hang the floor from the ceiling down, you are not going to make that space work for you.

Obviously you may want to tough it out for 6 months to prove to your boss that the concept works and could do with a better location - just be careful that boss doesn't think that you managed that far, and can go on managing...

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Mark SuszkoRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 1:15:41 pm

Been there too: our old studios were in the top floor of an old bank building with no real accommodation for acoustics. When we taped our talk shows, you could hear the pigeons out on the windowsill cooing so before rolling, you would have to bang on the steel window cover to scare them away, and again during commercial breaks. Picture the guests sitting on the set and suddenly the cameraman walks over to the covered window and whacks it with a stick like a madman BOOM! Boom! Boom!

The motor room for the building's only elevator was next door, so if anybody used the elevator, you could hear it. We would hang an out of service sign on the elevator after our guests used it to reach the studios, for the duration of the shoot.

But what we could not control at all, was the noise of two groups of four F-4 Phantom jets from the nearby National Guard base, taking off and then coming back in to land. While awesome to watch at the airport, particularly landings using their drag chutes to save their brakes, those F-4's were LOUD. Things got easier when the Guard switched to F-16's which were a comparative whisper.

We eventually moved two blocks over, to a space that was customized for our use; the studio walls are air gapped and isolated, over a foot thick, covered with absorptive batting, and when you close the solid. heavy, gap-sealing doors, a bomb could go off outside and you wouldn't know.


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Sareesh SudhakaranRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 1:12:32 pm

If you're willing to spend money, you could spend it on the fitness center for better flooring. You get industry-grade dense mats that go under the treadmills so the energy is dispersed sideways and over a greater area on the floor.

The only thing better than this is a custom layered floor used to support industrial machinery, but that too, must be done in the fitness center, and is probably beyond your control or budget.

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to Reds to the Arri Alexa.


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Mike LittleRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 1:49:39 pm

The treadmills do have relatively thick mats under them. They just don't do the trick, especially when there is someone on the machine who has no idea what he is doing. I walked by there last night on my way out, there was a guy in there, probably 6ft. 4in. in work clothes, even leather dress shoes, running hard on one of the treadmills. BANG! BANG! BANG! I know from experience as a trainer, in another lifetime, that if you are banging when you run, your technique is wrong. A lot of people using that room are using the equipment wrong, apparently.


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Mark SuszkoRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:51:02 pm

You should make some training videos for them:-)


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Mike LittleRe: My studio shakes and vibrates - treadmills? What?
by on Mar 9, 2013 at 3:06:52 am

Ha! LOL! Good idea.


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