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seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?

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Al Kohout
seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 5:00:05 am

Looking for some advice ā€“ we have space in our building that is not being used and we would like to earn some revenue. We are considering producing live (via internet) and taped videos and wonder about the feasablility of this ā€“

We have room for some backgrounds and a light grid. We own a Tricaster and would like to put it to use in this situation.

Iā€™m gathering opinions and suggestions from other s, so please bring them. We have seen the site http://www.theroomlive.com and see this as a great idea. We are in suburban Chicago as well, so know there might be TV show wannabees around.

All ideas are welcome. Thank you.


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Todd Terry
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 4:31:17 pm

It's interesting, for sure. I'd say the big question of course is "How do you make money doing it?"

I watched some of their teasers and behind the scenes video, but I didn't watch any of the actual shows. Do the shows contain advertising? If so, do the people who are doing the shows buy blocks of time from The Room Live and then re-sell internal ad time themselves? Or does The Room Live do it? Or do the people who have these shows pay The Room Live just to have a show on their "channel" (a more or less vanity project). I'm just not sure who is making money, or how. The website itself doesn't seem to have any paid advertising on it, just self-promotion stuff.

I would say, if you want to do something like that, do it better than they are doing it. It's not bad, but it's not uber-slick either. It all definitely has a cheap "public access" look to it, which is not usually a good thing.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Al Kohout
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 4:41:11 pm

AHH....yes.. I do not know the business model, but I am intrigued. And what about the 'public access" look.? why does it need to be slick if it draws?

I'm with you.. we are a long time production house - over 30 ears...but YouTube has changed the way people expect video...and if we can make some $$$...then why not? I do think that the show needs traction or sponsors will not pay. But their are types that need exposure and with broadcast their " training" to the masses...no?


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Mark Suszko
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 6:56:12 pm

Most of those shows look really badly-lit, was my first impression. Second impression was that the audio was weak and off-mic too much.


Regarding the idea that the internet aesthetic doesn't require quality, well then, if people are happy doing crappy videos without a "real" studio, why would they pay you to use YOUR studio? Who are you building this for?


As far as your business case, well, there isn't really a lack of existing available studio space in Chicago right now. Open the FILM ILLINOIS production guide book and there are many many pages of listings for studio spaces of all kinds. Another huge one just opened up like last month, and Harpo has plenty of room now that Oprah's show is done. Your medium to high-end studio space availability is already covered as well. What's left is the low-tier budget/public access market, and this is typically filled by people converting bedrooms and garages into temp studio spaces. Are those people, who live off of Craigslist, going to pay you what you need to charge, to make a studio space pay? When they already have public access studios and the other low-end types of spaces available?

Situation is a litle different if you're just putting to use equipment that you already paid off and were not otherwise using. Still, it is not always cheap to make a *real* studio space, superior to the DIY home studios, with sound proofing, clean power, good lighting, silent HVAC. I think maybe you could pitch it locally as a near-free "experiment space", say, specializing in chromakey,
and then you upsell them on your better room and stuff and services when they want to take their level up a notch.

Still, I don't know that you have defined a market that can afford what you want to do. Until you do, I think your money is better invested in, well, investments.


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Al Kohout
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 8:58:45 pm

Thank you. Well thought out response and great food for thought. We don't do bare bones ...but not HARPO either. With the Tricaster, we do do so much. Always curious as to feasability. Need to use the skills and equipment we have and hate to see that space go to waste.

We're 30 minutes out of downtown Chicago...so no need to pull those high prices.

In this economy...those high overhead studios may be too much $$. i have to wonder how "the Room" makes it. Anyone in Hollywood have a scoop?


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Mike Smith
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 25, 2011 at 10:27:23 pm

Once consideration is whether the space is better run as its own profit centre, with any production / distribution ideas as separate businesses / profit centres.

So if you think you mgiht have a business in this public access or similar style, look around and see what it might cost you to hire equipped production space : that will give you a guide as to market rates, to what facilities are available around you, and what they charge - useful market information for you.

On the technical side, if you want to charge pro rates you need pro engineering, and an all-round capability. Some issues that might come up include :
can you isolate the studio from outside sounds ?
Can you get the floor smooth enough to handle studio camera pedestals, or other tracking devices?
Is there adequate space for lighting store, props and set store, dressing rooms, green room, production office?
Is there easy street access and a big stage door for bringing in large items?


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Al Kohout
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 26, 2011 at 5:09:56 am

BTW..more info on 'theroomlive" can be found here
http://tv.newtek.com/player.php?recordID=54


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Bill Davis
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 26, 2011 at 7:03:05 am

Take some advice from someone who has owned a personal studio space for the past 6 years.

The space size, capabilities, and equipment are astonishingly insignificant. Every knucklehead with a spare room, a digital camera, and a bucket of paint fancies themselves a "video studio." (myself included!)

All the matters is whether you have a realistic functioning MARKETING PLAN that will actually drive enough business to your operation to both cover your overhead (including those pesky on-going marketing costs!) and turn a significant profit.

Everything else about the whole effort is secondary.

Simple as that.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Mike Smith
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 26, 2011 at 8:07:16 am

Of course content is crucial ... but a facility based on talking-head shows is going to need great writers .... an early study for a web usability expert group reported findings that webcasters should be aware of at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/video.html


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Mark Suszko
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 26, 2011 at 2:18:26 pm

One idea of a client base for this kind of space... churches. You have some pretty large "mega churches" in that area, and some that have aspirations to mega-dom. Their weekly services are heavily oriented in multi-media, and they like to make custom vignettes or skits to play-act and demonstrate some scenes from their scripture readings or the pastor's homilies. These play on large projection systems during the service.

So, for these people, a decent sized greenscreen space and a collection of appropriate virtual environments and clip media that would let them easily illustrate some parables could turn into steady weekly business.

Green screen standing sets are a PITA to put up and take down all the time; once you have one well-lit, you like to keep it going as long as you can. That may not be possible in the studio spaces of the mega church or local midi-church. This is about the only thing I can think of where you can provide a low-end space that beats a garage or basement.

They could shoot there and take their footage home to work on, but your added value upsell is, you suggest they do their compositing right there in your suite, for a nominal upcharge, because it would be faster. Plus, you build a collection of the stock media and virtual backgrounds and add that value. Have something like a Toaster or tricaster there so you can do the compositing live. Since they have a deadline at least every 7 days, it only takes a little bit of poor time management to get behind schedule and then they need you to save the day.


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Al Kohout
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 26, 2011 at 4:03:10 pm

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I believe I need to do further research and test the waters. We own so much equipment that would be nice to put it to use more often. The Tricaster has allowed us to do the work we have wanted to do for many years but now budgets are so restrictive it's difficult to do remote multi-camera shoots.

Please feel free to share any ideas with me. Thank you very much


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Eric Susch
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:31:38 am

You should definitely check out what Leo Laporte is doing at http://live.twit.tv They've been live streaming the twit shows for many years now and probably know more about live internet video than anybody. Just this week they also moved into their magnificent new studio space with multiple sets and lots of technical innovations. In between the recording of the shows the stream continues and you get to see everything that happens behind the scenes.

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Check out my blog at EricSusch.com
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Follow me on twitter @EricSusch


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Al Kohout
Re: seeking ideas - building a studio--to make money--is this feasable?
on Jul 27, 2011 at 5:43:49 am

have watched LEO for years...amazing...really a tech guru from days gone by...and doing so well...that the 'cottage' is not such a cottage anymore


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