February 9, 2011 \ Geoff Birmingham
Your producer’s video studio – nice but maybe not necessary

Movie sound stage in for Iron Sky

Many video productions need to be “on location.”  In other words, the producers for a marketing video about a university probably ought to spend some of their time on campus.  But let’s say you’re the VP of Marketing, you plan to have several people interviewed for the video, and you want them in front of a neutral background.  For footage like this, filming in a studio might be a good option: it’s a controlled environment (no loud students nearby) and it’ll provide all sorts of conveniences (lights, cameras, green screens, and audio equipment will already be in place).

Many clients in this situation might say, “Okay, I need to hire a company that has a video studio.”  Here’s something to keep in mind, though.  If a production company has a studio, it’s mostly because it makes business sense for them, and it’s less about what they can offer to the client.  In other words, a video production company might have a studio because a lot of their projects require one and it makes things convenient for them.  Or they know that they can rent it out to other companies and earn some income.

For the client, it really shouldn’t matter if your company has a video studio at their disposal because they can always rent one.  In fact, this might be to the client’s advantage.  It’s possible that you will pay more for access to your producer’s studio than if he had rented space elsewhere.  Studios come in all shapes and sizes.  If your production is pretty straightforward, you may not need a space equipped with a hundred lights, a stage, and an audio booth.

A producer acquaintance of ours, for example, did a bunch of filming for a Discovery Channel show in the basement of our local cable access station and paid a few hundred bucks to rent the space.  Similarly, clients whose needs are also modest might be paying for much more than they should be in order to have access to their producer’s fully-equipped space.

If you are working with a producer who has his own studio, you might want to ask for an explanation of what will be needed for your production and then make sure that you are only being charged for the space and the equipment that will be used.  You won’t be recording narration in their audio booth?  Then you shouldn’t be paying for it.

Movie sound stage, ironskyfilm