Booking A Studio? 10 Questions To Ask

You just landed a new client! Your company is excited about the project and eager to make the best impression possible. As a team you’re not worried, you’ve all been through the production process time and time again. But there’s one caveat. This time around the production won’t take place at the typical corporate office or at a private residence. The scope of the project calls for it to be shot at a studio with a cyc.

During the first pre-production meeting there’s an aura of anxiety since no one has booked or worked at a studio before. Regardless, you do your due diligence and begin to seek out the studio that’s best suited for your needs. Not before long you’ve narrowed down your list to one studio, and all that’s left is to make the phone call to book the space.

Whether you’re seasoned professional or just stepping into the industry, these following questions need to be asked and answered prior to signing the contract and submitting the deposit.


#1 What is the cost for the day? How much is overtime?

The standard studio rental work day will be 10 hours and overtime will be billed hourly. If your production only needs a half day, ask about the half day rate. Moreover, inquire about what’s included in the rental. Typically a scissor lift, basic electrical distribution, chairs, folding tables, etc. are included.

#2 Can sets be built in the studio?

Absolutely yes. The sheer size of a studio space provides ample room to build out the set(s) you have in mind. Your production will want to ask about build/prep rates and rates on any in house power tools you will need for the construction of the sets.

#3 What are the dimensions of the space and accessibility?

The studio website should provide a downloadable PDF with the specifics on width, length, and height. Be sure to ask for clarification if you have further questions. Additionally, you’ll want to find out about the access point to load in; most studios will have roll up or sliding doors in the back. This is important is you’re loading in vehicles, boats, large items, etc.

#4 Does the studio have a cyc wall? Is it green or white?

You’ll want to make sure that it’s a seamless cyc wall and that it’s painted the color you want. Studios will charge a fee for painting it white if the cyc is green, and vice versa. In addition, there will be a restoration fee if you plan on doing full body. Shoes tend to soil the ground regardless of how careful you are.

#5 Is the cyc pre-lit?

Some studios come shoot ready with a pre-lit cyc wall, others will require your production to rig the lighting during the shoot day or during a pre-light the day before. If the cyc isn’t pre-lit, find out what the cost is for pre-lighting. Be sure to find out what kind of electrical outlets are on the grid for powering lights.

#6 Is the studio soundproofed?

If your project requires sound recording be sure to find out how much the studio is soundproofed. If it’s not, follow up by asking what kind of external noises are prevalent throughout the day. If in a neighborhood with undesirable weekday noise, consider booking the studio on a weekend.

#7 How much electrical power does the studio have?

Smaller studios will typically run on 20A Edison outlets limiting the type of lighting that can be used, while more robust spaces will offer single phase or three-phase power allowing your production to use higher amperage lighting fixtures. Aside from consulting with the studio, open the discussion with your DP and gaffer.

#8 Does the studio rent camera/grip/lighting equipment?

Depending on the studio, equipment inventory will vary from none to full service. Your production will want to ask for rates on the equipment you may be needing. If the studio doesn’t have equipment ask for referrals and if any discounts are available from the rental house(s) they work with.

#9 What are the rates for additional rooms at the studio?

Often at times the studio you’ll be shooting at is a working environment with editing suites, conference rooms, offices, etc. If your production will be utilizing any of the additional spaces, be sure to ask for the rates for the rooms you’d like to occupy.

#10 What are the best restaurants to order from?

Unless your meals are catered, your production will be ordering lunch from one of the local restaurants. Ask the stage manager what the most popular eateries are and if there are any discounts given from these vendors.

Now that you have your questions ready to be asked, are you ready to book studio time at Mac House? For rates and availability contact us at info@machouseproductions.com or (408) 837-3777. We look forward to hearing from you!


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