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Monday, February 11, 2008

Hi-Tech Studio: High-End Rental Studios

When you don't own your own studio, a high-end rental studio is your solution

In the Bay area, Blue Sky Rental Studios in San Francisco offers studio space ranging from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet. Karima Cherif, studio manager and production coordinator, says photographers use the space because it's less expensive than owning a studio in the San Francisco real estate market. “We have full service as far as equipment goes,” says Cherif. “We have arrangements from rental houses, and we also own a lot of our own equipment like digital backs, lighting systems, and moving booms.”


PREVIOUS PAGE: Studios that can accommodate automobiles, like Stage 3 Productions, a high-tech studio based in Detroit, have large lightboxes that can hover over a car to get the ultimate lighting. TOP: Some facilities also offer natural light options. BOTTOM: Blue Sky Rental Studios provides various loft spaces and services like camera rentals, plus a modeling service if you haven't booked talent.

The Advantages
One of the advantages of shooting in a studio is that everything is already in-house—you don't usually need to bring your own equipment, but most likely your camera gear unless a particular studio has camera rentals.

Smashbox Studios and Quixote Studios work directly with Splashlight Digital, an imaging solutions provider that has the options of digital capture stations, retouching and compositing, and asset management, which they offer as an add-on service.

While space is limited in New York City, Neo offers various studio shooting possibilities. From elaborate lighting systems to rentals of set equipment and accessories to customize your shoot, you get the right equipment without bringing anything with you, including cameras, memory cards and external hard drives to back up your images, all of which you can purchase.

In the Midwest, Stage 3 Productions, in particular, sees a lot of high-end car shoots because of its proximity to Detroit. If you want to shoot a car, they have a massive 10x48-foot lightbox hanging from the ceiling that gives off a flattering light for vehicles.

Art Bonus, business development manager for Stage 3 Productions, says the studio offers many services for the professional photographer, including parking for 125 cars, retouching offices, wide-format printing, kitchens, lounges and cameras from 35mm D-SLRs to digital camera backs available for rental.

Blue Sky Rental Studios also features an in-house modeling agency, which can provide you with a model if you need one for a shoot—if you're coming from out of town or need a model promptly, they can get you what you need for your shoot.

Cost Per Footage
The great thing about shooting in a rental studio is the range of spaces. If you want more light, all offer studios with windows with natural light; if you want a closed off set where you manipulate light, you can get that, too. Another factor is studio size—you can rent anywhere from a couple hundred to 10,000 square feet or more.

The cost of a high-end rental studio ranges with the studio size and the location itself. Smashbox Studios rates range from $2,200 for Stage 1—an 8,500-square-foot studio—to Stage 3 for $1,000—an 1,800-square-foot studio. Stage 3 Productions rates range from $400 to $450 for a daylight studio to the larger stages—from $1,400 to $1,500. Blue Sky Rental Studios rates are from $650 to $950 for spaces that range from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet. Neo Studios prices are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the photographer.


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