New studio update – part one

It’s just over six months since I was forced to abandon my Kingston office following a fire in the building.

After much wrangling with insurance companies and the like, we’re now moving forward with fitting out new, and hopefully much better, studio facilities. Working in partnership with Touchdown, which owns the site, we’re upgrading the video production facilities and adding a new, dedicated space for audio recording, radio, podcasting and voiceover work.

Greenscreen studio under construction

Putting up the cyclorama

The first stage on the video side is to upgrade the studio backdrops with a “cyclorama”, shown being installed here. The cyclorama has both a chromakey (green screen) option, pictured, and a black background for use as a practical set.

With green screen you can pretend to be anywhere you want, of course, as long as you have the time to key the footage at the post-production stage (that’s something we can help with too). The black background’s a good option for quick turnaround work, where there’s no time, or perhaps budget, to key and to shoot background video or stills. With some creative lighting, black can look very good too, and it’s often used to dramatic effect in documentaries.

There’s also a white muslin background, not on the cyc, that can be set up, as well as paper backdrop rolls in white, green or burgundy; these are standard roll sizes so you can bring your own too.

Green screen studio

And the final result… before the drapes are steam ironed

Next, we will be adding some new lighting to cover the larger cyclorama area and allow for videos with more camera angles and so, more guests or talent. The third stage will be to integrate this with the new Studio 2 (an audio studio that will also function as a control room) to support applications such as live streaming, that need vision mixing.

Main studio set up for audio

The main studio set up for recording an audio discussion programme

The main studio, or Studio 1 as we’re now calling it, is also fully soundproofed and, as importantly, acoustically treated. This makes it suitable for a range of audio only, as well as video applications. The picture above shows the studio set up for an audio webcast; equally this could be the set up for up to four guests for a round-table discussion for a podcast or radio, or for training.

We have ISDN gear both for feeding to radio stations (I’ve used it to appear live on Radio 4) and for conducting remote recording or interviews. The latter can be with ISDN units at the remote end, or also regular phones. In addition, we can mix in a range of IP-based sources, from humble Skype to broadcast-specific connections, as required.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be constructing and fitting out Studio 2 for smaller audio jobs and voiceover work, making this a very versatile space. Now, we just need to upgrade the coffee machine…

If you are interested in booking the studio or commissioning a production, or want to arrange a visit, do contact me.


About stephenpritchard
Freelance journalist specialising in business and technology, based in London (UK).

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