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Studio space- two options

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John YoungStudio space- two options
by on Sep 24, 2013 at 8:17:13 pm

My company wants to set up a more permanent studio space for video production, mostly talking heads and interviews.

They want to turn this office into a studio.

The problem is that this office is only 15'x13'. I just don't see how I can get proper distance between the camera, the talent, the greenscreen, and the lights.

I think the better option may be to put some effort into making our downstairs storage space into a better video setup.

The room is much bigger and is defintely better for getting good visuals. The problem with this option, is room is terrible for sound. It is right next to the boiler room, and (as you can see in the photo) has HVAC running all over the ceiling. I have been told there is no budget for constructing walls or anything that kind of scope. I am thinking, however, that I might be able to convince the decision makers that we can make it work.

I am thinking that with some sound-adsorbing drop ceiling panels and maybe a heavy drop curtain, we can make the room work.

Does anyone have any experience or ideas on this type of thing?

Thanks in advance.


John Young
Surrounding Media
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Mark SuszkoRe: Studio space- two options
by on Sep 24, 2013 at 9:13:42 pm

Please give more details on the exact kind of shoots and projects you'll be doing.

The too-small upstairs room sucks because of the window. The downstairs location sucks because of noise, and you will not be able to turn off all that plumbing stuff.

Neither is a good location for a "real studio"., one that would get used several days a week.

Does the upstairs room have a central door leading into another room or a hallway? I have had shoots where the camera had to do a telephoto shot THRU the open door into the actual room, just to get the right separation for depth of field and etc.

You can certainly put up cheap u-haul or Harbor Freight type movers blankets or rugs on the walls and cover the window. Some bounce-light off white walls will give you a soft overall light level. But don't promise them you can be a Star Trek Holodeck in this space: a locked-off, sit-down close-up prompter read is about all you'll be able to do. It may not be room enough to set and light a green screen.

How frequently do you think the space will be used? Could you maybe just book a conference room or small ball room at the local hotel when you actually need it?

Do you have a loading dock, perchance? I've had good luck using one for PSA shoots with greenscreen.

Another idea could be to shoot after hours and commandeer a much larger space in the place you already own. Have to work around the scheduling of course.

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Corbin GrossRe: Studio space- two options
by on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:13:59 pm

I feel your pain, friend. I'm an in-house guy too, and nobody ever understands (superlative). My first studio was about 6x9. I was there for 2 years and never did anything but stills of swatches (which we scan now) and a few corporate headshots. It was ludicrous.

I like the shooting through a door idea, I've done that many times myself. That room would actually be not so bad if that could be arranged. The window is a challenge, but easy enough to block the light. If there's not a door centered on the short wall, you might be able to get them to put that in the budget. One door is way cheaper than a whole room.

For that storage space, you might be OK if HVAC is your only noise, unless it's super loud. It's better to not have that, but the problem can be minimized with very close mic placement (not eliminated though). Plus, I'd rather have a little HVAC noise than zingy, too-small room noise. But that's just me. If there are other people in that storage space that might be a problem. Are people loading/unloading or using forklifts or anything?

I have a good dedicated space where I work now. But often times I shoot other places when required. If you're doing 90% talking heads, you could shoot in the small room and then set up in other spaces when required.

Corbin Gross | SANMAR
Photographer/Videographer | Marketing
22833 SE Black Nugget Road | Issaquah, WA 98029
206.727.5501 x5237

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John YoungRe: Studio space- two options
by on Sep 26, 2013 at 4:00:02 pm

In my mind, I have decided that the small office will not work and I should focus my energies on the making larger storage space work and I think the company is on board. I am optimistic that the sound issues can be minimized without a huge expensive construction project. With some sound-absorbent ceiling tiles and a heavy black curtain surrounding the space, I think we can make it work.

Keep your fingers crossed everyone.


John Young
Surrounding Media
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Bill DavisRe: Studio space- two options
by on Sep 28, 2013 at 10:40:33 pm

Ok then.

You had a choice that was better for video (the big space) and one that was better for audio (the small space) and you went big.

No problem with this - IF - you can keep your projects visually oriented over being audio oriented. That means you should try to push for projects that can be shot MOS and do the audio separately as VO plus bg music.

Your larger studio will be pretty bad for typical sync talking heads - because with that much HVAC and boiler stuff, you're never going to get your noise floor for an "open room interview" down to a level where it's going to be easy to work with.

First purchase is a good set of monitor headphones and learn to hear the room - because the room sound will drive you nuts over time.

Sound blankets are file, but see you can talk the powers that be into building you some kind of dedicated VO booth - an enclosed space with enough mass to dampen the HVAC rumble. And track down a few folks who don't suck at VO narration, because without that - you're gonna struggle to keep your audio quality high.

My 2 cents.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

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