What are the steps for building a corporate video production studio?
Designing and building a video production studio can be a complicated process.
Yet, with the right info and support, it can go smoothly! Businesses of all sizes are choosing to build in-house video production studios. It’s a big decision, but it can save money in the long run, and it can increase your productivity and ultimately, your business’s sales. I’ve written extensively about the factors to consider when deciding whether or not you should build an in-house video production studio. In this article, we’ll cover the steps you’ll need to take once you’ve decided to move forward. We’ll go through the entire process from start to finish.
When you’re ready to move forward with your studio, there’s a process that you should follow. Knowing the steps in advance will help you have a smoother process. It will help you create the very best studio you can have for your company’s needs, within your budget. Below is what you need to know. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Determine what types of videos you hope to produce.
It’s essential to have your goals in mind right from the start.
Some questions you might ask yourself include the following:
- What types of videos do you plan to shoot?
- Will you be shooting large products? Small products?
- Will you be interviewing execs or clients?
- Do you plan to demonstrate products or services?
- Will you need green screen?
- Will you need to construct specific sets to get the look you want?
This is all information your video studio design and building company will need to know to design and price your project.
Step 2: Determine your maximum budget range.
This is just like buying a home or a new car. You need to know how much money you have to work with. The extent of your budget will determine what features you can have.
To begin with, you’ll need a sense of your maximum budget.
We’ve found that some corporate executives may not understand what a realistic budget is for building a studio. Including all labor, a studio can easily cost between $200,000 and $500,000, give or take. With a little research upfront, you’ll be able to get a realistic picture of what you can really expect to have with your budget.
But what if your budget limits cannot get you what you’re hoping for?
It depends. How important to your business are the things you could include in your studio with a larger budget? If those things are essential, if possible, you may want to increase your budget.
If it’s not possible to increase your budget, you’ll want to strategize with your corporate video production studio design and building company representative. They can help you decide on priorities and come up with a plan that gets you as close to the ideal studio as possible with your budget.
Step 3: Find the appropriate space for the studio.
First, I’ll start with the best-case scenario. Ideally, a good studio should have a large square footage area. It should be located away from loud offices, elevators, bathrooms, loading docks and kitchens. If you’re creating the studio in a new building being built from scratch, that’s always ideal. That’s not necessary though.
If your studio will be placed in an existing building, it can be a bit trickier to get the right amount of space and a good location. Sometimes perfection isn’t possible. However, with your studio designer’s help, you’ll be able to get as close to perfect as possible.
Once you’ve got an idea of what your studio budget is, where you’ll place it, and what can be included, you’ll be able to design for the optimal use of that space.
Step 4: Create an RFP (request for proposal) or a "want's and needs" list.
This will allow you to obtain multiple bids. This isn’t the final equipment list. It’s just meant to get the conversation started. It can be as specific or general as you wish. How much detail you include will depend on whether or not you already have preferences, such as for equipment. If not, your RFP will be more general.
Your RFP can include details on what your plan is, and what you’re planning on doing in the studio once it’s built, etc. For example, you might say that you will need a designer to plan a studio in existing space. You can include specifics such as needing lights, cameras and teleprompters. You can share your wish list. And you can request exact equipment brands and items, or you can have the company you hire make recommendations. Your RFP can request suggestions. It’s also helpful to provide drawings of the space.
Step 5: Reach out to companies that can help you design and build your studio (including equipment procurement).
At this point, you have enough information to begin reaching out. (Check out our TV studio design and building website here.)
What should you look for in a video studio design and building company? Ideally, you should only consider companies that understand that a good studio design must be based on your corporate workflow and culture. The studio they design must support an optimal workflow for your specific company’s needs. It must meet the needs of the executives who will be commissioning work, and those of your video production staff.
You should have several phone conversations with any companies of interest to find the best match for you.
Step 6: Select a company, sign the agreement, pay the deposit.
As mentioned above, you’ll want to select the company based on whom best understands your project and can meet your needs. Now it’s time to review the equipment list, the pricing, sign the agreement and pay the deposit.
After you’ve signed the agreement and given the deposit, equipment can be ordered and shipped.
Step 7: Involve the building architects and general contractors who know your building well.
Once you’ve chosen and hired the company you wish to work with, it’s time to hook them up with the architects and general contractors. They can provide detailed blueprints and schematics of the space with exact measurements. This will enable your studio design team to move forward.
At this point, they can create and send their drawings to you. A good company will take your architect’s drawings and insert their items on top of those drawings to indicate power requirements, AC Ducts, and conduit runs. It's important to confirm these items and pull cables BEFORE the walls are closed. The drawings will be used by your architects and general contractors.
Step 8: Site Visit
Once construction begins, you should schedule a site visit by the Design company to confirm that everything matches the drawings. If conduit is placed in an incorrect spot, the walls will need to be torn down and started again. It’s essential to have everything done correctly from the start.
Step 9: Finish construction
The studio should be completed, and the floor covered with plywood, so the light grid can be hung from the ceiling without damaging the floor. Often, there’s a need for a genie lift or several tall ladders, so the installers can work up high. The light grid will be installed, and all cables will be pulled. The equipment will be installed and tested.
Step 10: Training
The design company will hold a training session on studio operation. It's important to have those involved from a technical standpoint attend training.
Are you considering the option of hiring subcontractors and outsourcing your video production studio staff? If so, check out our article called “Should I Hire Video Production Staff for My Studio, Use Sub-Contractors, or Outsource Everything?”. If you choose to outsource, you may wish to line up your staff in advance so that they can participate in the training.
So, you’ve completed the steps for building a corporate video production studio. Enjoy your studio. If you or your video staff have any remaining questions, you should be able to follow up with the studio design and building company.
What can you do right now?
If you're looking for a company to help you design and build a video production studio, we can help. You can start by visiting our dedicated studio design and building website by using the button below. Or you're welcome to contact Greg Ball for a no obligation consultation and quote.
About the Author & His Company: Greg Ball, is President of Ball Media Innovations, Inc. Not only has Greg worked as a video studio designer from the start of his career, he's also worked for over 25 years as a corporate video production producer/director/editor. Having worked in both types of positions has given Greg the unique ability to design custom studios that work efficiently and effectively for his clients. Greg has designed and built studios for companies such as Burger King World Headquarters and Mattress Firm. Feel free to contact us for a chat with Greg about your project.