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Old March 4th, 2011, 07:00 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Montpellier, France
Posts: 81
Studio layout: advice required

I'm having a new studio space built up and would appreciate your help in resolving a few issues.

I have run a small multimedia business for the past 5 years (Photo-Web-Graphic Design-Video), and am currently expanding.

Here's what we mainly do:
-photo shoots (product photography, portraits). Nothing that requires more than 5 people in the studio at a time.
-video shoots: 99% interviews
-Graphic design+internet (no studio required)

Right now, we're working in a 10X5Meters studio which I built 5 years ago, plus a 4X4meters office for accounting, remote data storage and various paperwork related tasks.
See attached picture for an artist rendering :-) of the studio layout.

Now there's a few things I find annoying in our current configuration, that I'd like to adress in the new studio. And for that I'd like you to share some of your wisdom with me! (please :-) )
Please keep in mind that I'm OK with regards to what equipment is needed in a studio, or insurance, or electrical requirements, etc...
I only need some advice on the layout of 'things' or 'areas' in the studio.

SO, back to my gripes with the current studio:

1- The client reception area is behind my back. That's not ideal for brainstorming sessions, general communication or project presentation.

2- Clients enter the room via a door that's right next to my desk. (and my desk is almost always, err, how should I put it...well, just take a look at the picture by the blue zone... Yeah, that's right, there's always all sorts of junk on my desk (good for inspiration!) Doesn't make a good first impression. (trust me, I've tried keeping it tidy, but my brain just doesn't work that way...darn...!)

3- My desk is facing a grey wall (not very inspiring). One of the main reasons is that my main monitor is mounted on a remote controlled device that allows me to adjust its height. Actually, so does my desk. Now, that's awesome, and I'd recommend this 'feature' to anyone. The only problem is that those devices have rails that attach to the floor and ceiling...and to the wall. Does anybody have an idea of a setup that would allow me to keep the same flexibilty, but also have my desk positioned differently?

4-My ceilings are kinda low (2.5 meters). See picture next to 'light grid'.
They need to be higher in the new studio. What's the recommended height, keeping in mind I'd like to find a good ratio between height and air conditionning requirements. (the higher the ceilings, the greater the room volume, and hence the beefier/more expensive the air con units.

5-My current storage space for equipment is behing the backdrops/green screen. Looks tidy when there's a backdrop (none in the picture...obviously...), but makes getting access to some 'unplanned' equipment really complicated during a session. I also need more storage space...

6-I need more space between the talent and the backdrop (darn shadows!!!)

7-I was gonna forget, but the new studio is likely to be twice as big as this one (100 Square meters) and should ideally accomodate 2 workstation spaces, decent-sized toilets and a client area big enough for 4 people+my assistant and I.

WIth all these observations, I'm counting on you all to share your ideas (and sketches!) to help me come up with a functional and flexible studio layout.

Thanx again...
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Studio layout: advice required-studio-layout.jpg  
Mikael Couderc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 6th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,189
Re: Studio layout: advice required

you need a lot of space for a photo studio. to get the subjects away from the background and the camera away from the subjects, space for you behind the camera, ceilings high enough to get strobes above the subject. in the usa its difficult to compete against retail portrait studios.
Pete Cofrancesco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 6th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Re: Studio layout: advice required

Since my contractor tells me the room I am adding to my house will be done in a month (in other words...too late to change anything!)
Here's what I have come up with. looks a bit smaller than what you have now but different layout. my desk is also capable of seating two people. It's a beast!
It's only 400sq/ft and has the smallest bathroom code will allow. Though I am putting in a shower in case we sell the house it can be a guest apartment.
The ceilings will arch from 9ft up to 12ft. The painted greenscreen with cyclorama wall will be 12' wide, 9' tall and 9' of floor space. The room is 15' wide which means the camera can be about 5 feet from the talent. (the XF has an insanely wide lens and can shoot full body from that distance!)
Lighting will be a grid above the floor and will be kino-bulbed homebuilt fixtures (I might start selling these as they work extremely well) Acoustic panels just about everywhere and two acoustic "clouds" above the GS (shown in black) and one above my edit/mix position.
The space is limited in size but by keeping the lighting off the floor, allows a LOT more flexibility and no setup time. When not in use, a rug will cover the green area of the floor so it's safe to walk on or set up a table and chairs if necessary.
I've got a few extra tricks up my sleeve that I will post when done.
Most of what I do is shoot greenscreen, edit, or go remote to shoot b-roll. This is about as small as I'd want for 2-3 actors at once. According to my calculations, it will work very well for my needs and sound fantastic which is something that's missing in the large studios around me. Once again, I'll post pics and full writeup of all the cool stuff in about a month when it's done. (the framing was finished Friday!) thing about your # 6 item. I've switched to fluorescent and LED lights which don't have quite the throw of the tungstens. I don't have any issues with shadows. I am basically using the same lightning I use on my portable cloth screen so I know the dimensions and light output will work in the new space...main screen will get two 220 watt fluorescents (kino daylight bulbs) flooring will get two more of the same. backlight is a 110 watt. All these are hung from the ceiling grid. For key lights, I have some 500watt bank-dimmable CFL's in soft boxes or 110 watt kino-style or 600 watt LED's. All can function as fill lights if needed. These will be stand mounted as they will get moved around depending on the shoot.
Attached Thumbnails
Studio layout: advice required-screen-shot-2011-03-06-7.52.41-pm.png   Studio layout: advice required-screen-shot-2011-03-06-7.52.54-pm.png  

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Robert Turchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 7th, 2011, 05:17 AM   #4
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Location: Montpellier, France
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Re: Studio layout: advice required

...and thanx both for your input.

That's really helpful. Thank you.
I'm indeed looking at building something bigger, but the general idea is the same.
You've obviously studied your needs and tailored this studio so it fits them. Congrats to you! (I'm still surprised by your choice of the 1.5m working distance between your cam and your talent...but hey, as long as the math works out for you, then it's all good)
Since you've probably gone through the same brainstorming and decision making sessions with regards to desk placement, clients reception and all, do you have any ideas or tips concerning the questions in my first post?
Thanx and good luck in your new studio!

Mikael Couderc is offline   Reply

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