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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Professional Rental Studios

From the economic advantages to the benefits of good on-site support, DPP recently spoke with a number of veteran studios to get the inside take on renting the right studio space

Time And Overtime

Louis Jay of Studio 27 in Miami recommends an inquiry about overtime is always in order. Back in the old days, when photographers had their own studios, overtime wasn't a big concern. They could take three or four days to set up a shoot, so when the client arrived, there was very little time pressure. Today, once they walk in, the clock is ticking and the dollars are running. It's a race. You have to nail it; if you don't, you'll have to rent another day, and that's if the space is even available.

Professional Rental StudiosRIGHT: Neo Studios, New York

“The standard in the industry is a 10-hour day,” says Jay. “You want to make sure what the price covers as far as time, and how much is overtime. This is something they may not tell you up front unless you ask. If somebody goes over a 10-hour production day, every studio has different rates. Some will do 150%. If it's a big shoot, sometimes the photographer will underestimate time. They get slowed down for whatever reason—it's always that unforeseen thing in the production world. Your equipment can break or something goes down.

The Grand Total

What you can expect to pay for rental space on the West Coast compared to the East Coast won't vary that much for studios of equivalent size and amenities. For a basic daylight or cyc studio, rates average anywhere from $600 to $1,000 a day, with additional equipment rented à la carte. For $1,200 to $2,000 a day, some rental studios offer deluxe packages that include a selection of cameras and equipment, as well as tech support.

Rates are frequently negotiable and can vary depending on the shoot and the budget, so bring this up. Editorial is commonly charged at lower rates than a fashion or commercial shoot. In terms of price, this is difficult to generalize as every studio cuts deals differently.

Professional Rental StudiosLEFT: Blue Sky Rental Studios, San Francisco

Adequate Parking And Access

Jamie Kelter of West Loop Studio in Chicago says another thing to keep in mind is parking. “It's a simple thing, but sometimes it gets overlooked,” remarks Kelter. “When you have a big shoot, a lot of people coming—clients, models, makeup and hairstylists—if you don't have good parking, it's hard for them.”

Kelter also points out that if you're booking a studio that you've never seen before, don't forget to ask about accessibility and if there's an elevator, especially if the studio isn't on the first floor. “I've been at rental studios where it's on the third floor, and it's all stairs.”

Last But Not Least

Check out studios ahead of time in all the major markets and cities because each production can have specific needs. Some clients can be extremely picky about everything. Don't wait for the prospect of a job before you start looking for the right studio space. If you happen to be in town for a location shoot, pay a visit to some of the studios. See what they have to offer. Start developing a network of contacts, so when opportunity strikes, you'll know exactly where to go.




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