New Video/ Photography Studio
This is probably a very specific situation. I'm building a recording studio and the big room for recording I would like to set it up for Video/ Photography as well. To be able to have this room as a multi purpose space gives me a couple of limitations.
The room has aprox. 19.6 x 27.9 feets (the other side is a bit less than 19.6) and 13.12 feets from floor to ceiling. I wont be able to have a fixed Cyclorama because of the studio acoustics. So I will have to work with a paper back cyclorama.
My questions are:
1) Is 13.12 feets height good or I should have a bit more form floor to ceiling? Should I have a grid light on the ceiling? What kind of grid so the room doesn't loose much height and is professional? What would be the ideal height from the floor to the grid?
2) Is the size of the room OK?
3) I will be renting the space. What kind of lights you recommend to have some just as a starting point?
4) What kind of paper cyclorama system you recommend that is solid and to have the best light and back results? How big?
5) The person that is helping me with acoustics. Mentioned that we could have drapes (2 meter wide) around couple of the walls that could be used as backs as well like for a TV stage or something. Do you think this is a good idea? Is this something used in video studios? For what situations.
Thanks a lot! ;)
1) The height is ok. A lot of big stages have 20' ceilings or more, but there are plenty with 14' and you're in that neighborhood. If you ever watch The Late Late Show with James Corden, that is shot in Studio 56 at CBS, and even though that is a network show with a sizable studio audience, in reality that stage only has a 14'-deck-to-grid height, but it looks much bigger because of how they shoot it. Basically the bigger the stage the higher your ceiling should be, and while you have a pretty decent size there, it's not 10,000 square feet either, so realistically would you ever be shooting something so big and wide that your ceiling is too low?... probably not. I think you are fine there, it's certainly a better stage situation than I have here at my place.
2) I have no idea what kinds/types of things you are planning to shoot, so it's hard to say... but it's probably adequate for many uses. If you are planning to do automotive shooting with multiple vehicles then probably not... but for many things it'd be fine.
3) Hire a DP or gaffer to come in and look at the space and give you recommendations. I can't stress this enough. Asking that question lets me know you don't know much about lighting (not that there is anything wrong with that, we all can't know everything), so you are asking a very basic starting-from-scratch question for which there is no easy answer. It's a bit akin to saying "I'm building a building, what kind of pipes should I buy?" Get a pro in there, pay them for at least a half-day's work, talk about your potential projects and kinds of productions that will happen there, hash out a budget, and see what they have to say. Getting that consult will be the best money you can spend.
4) I don't know of any "paper cycs" in existence... other than seamless paper rolls. We have a number of those in a roller system for quick backdrops. Seamless photographic background paper is typically 10' wide.
5) Yes, textiles are often used for both sound and backdrops. Our stage has a curved "L" shaped black cloth cyc that runs along two sides.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Wow Todd, thanks a lot for the response! This will help me a lot..
As you realize I don't know much about lighting. I'm mostly a music producer but I want to get into the photo/video world and also rent this space to other people that could needed. I will hire for sure a DP or gaffer to come in and look at the space when the studio is built already. That's a great idea!
I'm just looking for some feedback and orientation to do something professional from the beginning and not spend money in something that wont be useful.
1) So I don't loose much height, can I use a grid light very close to the ceiling? What kind of grid you recommend? What would be the minimum height from floor to the grid to be professional. Does it have to be a GRID or could be just some log pieces of metal that passes in some parts of the ceiling?
2) Yes, sorry, I was talking about the "seamless paper rolls". Is it good to go with the widest ones? What would be that width.. Which is the most stable and best system to hang this kind of rolls?
3) I forgot to mention that this is in a basement, so no cars will get in there 😉 Is it possible with your experience to mention what kind of projects would be suited for this kind of studio and equipment with the seamless paper rolls, the grid on the ceiling and the drapes? On this way I can focus more on those ideas and investigate what needs people have around here.
4) For what kind of projects you use the drapes instead of the "seamless paper rolls"? When is better to use those.. An L shape could be a good idea or a C if possible. The drapes get dirty or are a problem at some point?
Is it possible to attach something so you see the shape of the space? Is not a complete rectangle.
1) Yes your grid can be close to the ceiling, as long as it is not RIGHT up against it. You need room for electrical connections, hangers on instruments, etc. In the "olden days" you had to worry about heat as well, but you might be creating a space that uses only flos or LEDs so heat is not a real concern. A grid is just criss-crossed pipe or even electrical conduit, usually held together at the intersections with U-bolts (or regular bolts drilled through). The benefit of a grid is that you can put lighting instruments anywhere. If you went with your permanent attach points, you'd be limited to putting instruments exactly at those places... and you have no way of knowing where you'll be needing instruments ahead of time. Especially since you are creating a space for rental use, you have no way to predict where your renters will be wanting to hang lights either, so that's not a good solution. A grid is the way to go.
2) 10' is the common width. I'm not aware of any wider. That's what I use.
3) That kind and size of studio space would be most useful for commercials (which is what I do), and corporate type work. You probably won't be getting any feature filmmakers in there.
4) Just depends on what kind of look I'm going for. If I want a black "limbo" look I use the existing black cloth cyc. If I want a white or gray seamless look, I roll down a backdrop. If we are compositing, I roll down a green or blue screen. Those are the permanently-installed ones... other backdrops or set pieces we put up as needed. It just depends on the project and what the concept is and the desired look that is needed.
Back to where you were talking about what lighting instruments to buy... since this is rental space apparently for other people's projects and not your own... you can always rent your stage as "dry," meaning just the space, and without any lighting or grip equipment. That is commonplace especially at big studio-rental spaces, where their base rate is really just to rent the space and nothing else... and the renter provides all their own camera, support, lighting, and sound gear. Many of them also have lighting/electrical/grip departments where they can rent you lighting or whatever à la carte, or refer you to nearby grip houses that provide exactly what you need. It's actually a little unusual to rent stage space and it automatically come with all the lighting, grip, and support equipment included and ready to go.
And yes you can include a picture... just click the "image upload" icon just above the reply box (it's the next-to-the-far-right one in the row of icons), select "Choose File" to find the picture you want and then hit "Upload Image." After it uploads, make sure it is selected in the column of things on the right-hand side of the pop-up window (although since this is your first upload, there won't be any other things there), and then copy all the text in the box that says "embed." Then past that text in the window when you are writing your reply. Sounds like a lot of steps, but after you do it once you'll see that it is easy.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.