Video productions of any size require a lot of time and money. One major element that can throw off your schedule and bring you way over budget is the space you use. Renting a video studio comes with a lot of advantages if you know the process and what to look for. That’s why we are going to cover the 10 things to know before renting studio space for a video project. You will learn what to do before choosing a space and how to find the right space for your project.
What to Know When Renting A Video Studio Space
1. Know What You NEED – Know What the Space Has to Offer
You need to ensure the space you rent is going to meet the needs of your project. You don’t want to arrive only to discover you won’t be able to accomplish everything you want.
- How big is it? Know the dimensions you have an idea of how you can use the space. How big are the entryways? If you need to load large set pieces you want to ensure they will fit into space.
- Soundproofing. Some studios will have quality soundproofing of their rooms, many may not. Know whether or not external noise might interfere with your shoot and what you can do to combat it.
- Do they have green screens? Many projects need access to or the ability to shoot in front of a green screen. If the studio doesn’t have one check if it is possible to install one for your shoot before you book.
- What color are the walls? Some studios will let you paint the walls, but you will need to paint them back to their original color. This adds to your budget and time, which need to be factored into your shooting schedule. If this isn’t an option, knowing the color before you arrive will give you time to make any wardrobe or set changes so they do not clash or get lost in the background
- Cyc wall. Cyc walls provide you with a seamless wall-to-ceiling transition (popular for many commercial shoots). If you are going for this aesthetic know if the studio has one available.
- What furniture or other items are in the room? If they offer furnished rooms to choose from, know what is in the room. Are there closets or windows in the room? And where are they? Knowing the layout gives you a better idea of how to set up your equipment and where your actors can travel.
2. How Can You Use the Space
Some studios won’t allow for outside equipment or staff. The staff you’ll need to rely on will be provided by the studio. You don’t want any confusion when you arrive to shoot or be told you can’t set up the special effect lights you plan to use use. Other studios may not have.
3. Additional Rooms for Use While Renting
You may want to have access to other office spaces for hair, makeup, conference room to review the storyboard, bathroom. If you think you may need a smaller space to keep all your extra scripts, wardrobe, personal items, or even a space to have lunch to check what other rooms you will have access to.
4. Equipment Provided
Some studios are fully equipped to support big-budget films while others only provide an empty room. Knowing what equipment, accessories, and other necessities you may need for your shoot can help save your budget. Some equipment you want to ask about when renting a video studio:
- Sound equipment. Many may not provide proper sound/audio equipment. If the studio does have audio equipment double-check about additional fees or if you need to put in a request to use the equipment. Microphones and what type of microphones they use along with mount gear if necessary. soundboards, and mixers are all items you may need for your shoot. Ask if microphones in the space can be moved to better suit your project needs.
- Lighting. This is an essential detail that most do not ask about because they assume that it will already use versatile lighting that accommodates a wide variety of projects. This isn’t always the case so ask what type of lighting there is, if there is natural lighting, and what type of lighting equipment they provide. Many studios do, however, include lighting equipment with the studio space rental of\agreement but they might not have a lot of options.
- Camera and gear. Though you may have all your own gear you might not have everything you need. Some studios offer equipment and gear rental as well. You want to know how this process is handled so you can request what you need when you are in the space. Renting gear from the space may be a better option than having to load and unload everything you need. It will be one less thing you will have to worry about gathering together for your shoot.
- Backdrops. If you are planning on taking still shots, a backdrop might be essential, especially if the walls of the studio offer little for you to work with. These are also things you can bring with you if permitted but again, is one less thing you have to worry about traveling with.
Booking a space is not something you want to wait until the last minute to do. If you found a space that is perfect, book it as early as possible. Almost all spaces will require a reservation fee so this is something you need to know.
6. How Long Can You Rent the Space?
Many studios offer a variety of options for how long you can rent and use the space. Keep in mind that many rental spaces will charge an overtime fee if you are still there past the time you should be out. Many studios charge per day but you only have access to the space between certain hours. If you continue to shoot past this time you will get hit with an extra fee.
7. Do Your Pre-Production
Pre-production is essential when you are considering renting a studio space to shoot. Before you even begin to look for a studio you need to know the in’s and out’s of what you really need when you shoot. Some things must be done closer to the shoot so they do not have an impact on the location you choose but others will. Things to finalize before you put down a deposit for a studio space include:
- How many cast members will there be? Include fill-ins that will be on set as you shoot. How long do you need them to be on set? Some talent will need to be there for the whole day when you shoot, others may only have a line or two and can be done in a few hours. This is another thing to keep in mind so you know you get a big enough space.
- Your script should be written. At the very least you should have nearly done rough-draft if you are not personally writing it. Scripts can unexpectedly take longer to get done than anticipated, and if changes need to be made this needs to be done prior to finding a location to shoot. Everything is going to depend on the script so it is crucial to have it done.
- Know the props, sets, and any art direction details. What will you need to have on set? How many alternatives are you planning on bringing? If you are shooting a commercial will you be using multiple products? If so, this is a crucial detail to know as it may add to the time you need to shoot each one. It will also mean you need a place to store things while you shoot.
8. What Is Outside The Location or Nearby?
Are there locations nearby that can also be used for exterior shots? If you need to send someone to grab something quickly from the store are the options? What about food, getting meals or snacks? Are there places close enough to get something quickly for the cast and crew or is this something you will need to factor in on your shooting days? Also, know the public location stops. Many of your cast and crew might need to know this information or they might not be able to make it to the shoot. Additionally, you want to ensure to schedule them a little earlier to reduce the risk of services running behind and them not getting there on time.
It is also important to know what takes place or is planned to take place outside the location. If you choose a studio that only has subpar soundproofing but is located next to an elementary school you might have to battle with screaming kids randomly throughout the day. Is there construction set to take place? You don’t want to waste your time at a location where the audio will be severely compromised in these circumstances.
9. Ask Around Before Committing
Some studios do not openly promote their space. This lets them narrow their audience down to professional and serious production and reduces the risk of negligence from those who rent the space. Ask other videographers, photographers, or industry professionals in your area what rentals they recommend.
What are you willing or can you spend on a location? Keep in mind you may be able to save if the studio offers equipment in the rental price. See where the space could save you from having to rent or buy some of your own gear and accessories. Carefully consider your options and know what you are planning on spending on things like your crew, equipment, props, talent, food, printing extra scripts, also factor in post-production cost. If you don’t have an editor you always use, some studios may offer one which might save you as well.