What will you need to have in order to build a TV Studio?

Are you contemplating building an in-house tv studio? Perhaps you're wanting a corporate or educational video studio. Here are the resources that you'll need in order to make this happen.  

1. Adequate space for your television studio. 

Obviously, you'll need an appropriate space to house your studio. How big that space needs to be will depend upon what you're planning to shoot there.

Most in-house corporate studios are approximately 20 ft X 20 ft. However, that can change depending on exactly what you need it for. For example, do you plan to shoot talking heads only? Will you be shooting products? Are your products large, small? Will you want a specific set, such as a talk show type interview set?

One project we're currently working on is for Chicos, which sells women's fashion. They will need enough space to shoot a runway for models. That means their tv studio must be quite a bit larger than the average studio.

Another studio we recently completed was for Mattress Firm. As you can imagine, they have a very large studio. It contains several different areas with sets designed to show beds in bedroom settings. 

Studio & multiple sets designed and built by us - Ball Media Innovations
Mattress Giant studio with multiple large sets designed and built by us - Ball Media Innovations.

And of course, some studios can be built in smaller spaces, particularly if they're shooting small products or talking heads.

Keep in mind that the ceilings in a studio must be kept in mind. They should be at least 15 feet high. It's also helpful if you have precise drawings of your location.

We realize that sometimes there are not a lot of options. We work with our clients to choose the best possible space (if there are options), and then to optimize that space. 

2. A good location for your TV studio.

What makes a good location for a TV studio? You'll want your studio to be as far from any noise as possible. Any kind of noise can interrupt a shoot and destroy a good take. You'd be surprised at what could create noise. Here are some things that you might not have thought of. 

A studio near a restroom can be noisy. Just the flush of a toilet in a nearby bathroom can be loud enough to cause an interruption. Does the area get foot traffic? Footsteps and talking can be a problem. Nearby offices can be noisy.  Ringing phones, phone calls, laughter, etc. Is there a nearby kitchen or break room? These can be an issue. 

Windows are another consideration. Most of the time, windows are not completely soundproof. Not only can noise get through, such as from a nearby road or parking lot, but the light can be a problem. Even if you cover the windows, some light can often leak through. The light can reflect off things like cars. Consider that light changes throughout the day. So if you've been shooting for 10 hours, your lighting will be different throughout the entire day. 

It's also important to consider what's above or below you. For example, in our first apartment, my wife and I got after marrying, we lived above the boiler. The living room was intensely hot. This would make a studio very uncomfortable to work in. We also lived below someone we privately called "lead foot". The noise was so loud when he walked around above us. 

One of the first studios I worked in was at Phoenix Mutual in Hartford, CT. This studio was built in a garage. We could hear cars starting, and of course the fumes weren't particularly comfortable or pleasant. 

Are you near an airport or highway? You can count on noise. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do about the location. Sound and light proofing as much as possible can help if your location isn't ideal.

Overall, you'll want your studio space to be quiet, and comfortable as possible. 

3. You've got the POWER! 

Your space must have power access through outlets, and the outlets must be the right size to power the lights and equipment. You'll also want multiple lines of power. When you have mics on the same power circuit, there may be a buzz in the sound when you turn the lights on. You'll want the microphone circuits on a different line.

The power is needs of a studio is something our engineers address with our clients' building contractors. Our engineers will make specific recommendations for the space. 

4. Appropriate air conditioning for your video studio & control room.

The studio and control room must be a relatively cool environment so that people can be comfortable working long hours in there. Also, the velocity of the air in the video studio area must be low enough so that it isn't heard when it's blowing. Plus, it's important that it's not heard when coming on and off. Keep in mind that the wider the vent, the less the sound coming out of the vent.

So all of the air conditioning equipment, including vents, must be planned for in a way that's different than in most other locations. When we design a studio, we work with our client's architects and building contractors to ensure that the air conditioning is appropriate and adequate. 

5. Ceiling must be appropriate for your studio.

First, is your ceiling high enough for a studio? And what is your ceiling made of? How much weight will it hold? Can it hold a lighting grid? These are things our engineers must look at in a proposed studio location. Sometimes alterations can be made, and sometimes they can not. It will depend on the building. 

Also, they'll need to see if there are pipes in your ceiling. Some things such as a sprinkler system or toilet plumbing may need to be re-routed, which can mean additional costs.

Studio Control Room 6. Naturally, you'll need equipment.

This is one of the more complex issues that will need to be ironed out. To determine what type of equipment you'll need for the studio, there are a number of questions your studio designer will need answered. Those include:

  • What is your maximum budget?
  • What will you be shooting? 
  • What will your staff include, and what skill levels do they have?
  • Will your videos be streamed live?
  • What quality of video are you hoping for?
  • Will you want a remote control room for someone to direct through headsets? 

There are many other considerations, including the number of cameras and microphones, whether to build a cyclorama, the need for sound absorption panels, a green screen set up, teleprompters and curtains for a backdrop. There are other types of equipment to consider for your studio, but this is a good start!

7. Sets may need to be designed and built.

Many studios have one or more permanent sets built within them. Some studio design and construction companies also have set designers. That's something that we offer our clients. Ideally, you'll want to have the set space allocated, designed and constructed at the same time that you have your TV studio designed and built. 

Possible sets can include news sets, fireside chat sets, a kitchen, retail area, etc. Some companies have large products to showcase, such as mattresses for one company we worked with. They required several large bedroom sets. Others have small products, so a table-top set might even suffice. Some clients need multiple sets created. It all depends on your needs, and what you plan to shoot. 

8. Staff for your TV studio.

Of course, you'll need to staff your studio. And before you build a studio, you'll want to have an understanding of the skill level of your staff. They're going to have to utilize the space and equipment effectively.

Naturally, you can also plan on having them learn to further their skills. When we create studios, we finish each project with education for the staff. We teach them how to utilize all the equipment. However, they're going to have to come in with some level of skill already. 

You can also choose to bring in subcontractors rather than keep full time staff. If you're in the process of deciding on how to staff your video studio, check out this article called: Should I Hire Video Production Staff for My Studio, Use Subcontractors, or Outsource Everything? 

9. General Contractor and Architect. 

Studio design, construction and installation companies don't do building construction. They don't build things like walls and floors, piping, etc. They do build video studio features such as a cyclorama. However, they don't do things that an architect and/or builder would do.

Your studio design and construction company will work with the builder and the architect. They should know how to do things like alter blueprints to reflect the things you need in order to create your television studio. They'll review the construction work to confirm that it was done to specs. Then they'll install your studio equipment. 

10. Studio design, construction and installation company.

You'll need a company that can do all the above, while working with your architect and builder. They can help guide you in every way. There are not many companies that have the qualifications to handle this. We are one of the few. At Ball Media Innovations, we're uniquely qualified to create the best possible studio for your needs, within your budget. We design and build studios throughout the continental USA. 

Visit here for more articles on how to have your studio designed and built. 

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