Firstly, Well done on choosing to shoot in a soundproofed studio. Many of our clients weigh up the pro’s and cons of shooting on location or in a studio and regularly choose a controlled, soundproofed environment for their purpose. The pro’s far outweigh the con’s of a location shoot.
Soundproofing gives greater flexibility and save time and subsequently money – You may find location shoots will throw up all sorts of nasty noisy surprises, sirens, background noise, traffic, doors banging, printer noises, people chatting. If you think your office or chosen location is in a quiet area. It wont be, especially in London. Planes, trains, cars, people, unexpected, unplanned situations will always arise and you can never foresee them.
Where to start?
There maybe a few choices for you to make. Size, price, location and adjoining facilities to consider. Having a good idea of your shot types before booking will give the studio manager or technician some useful knowledge in preparation and they may even be able to offer some consultation to make your shoot simpler.
What are the actions?
Will the subject be walking and talking, walking into shot? Sat down? a 4metred squared stage area will allow a simple walk into shot and out of shot for a mid to full body shot. The greenscreen cyc behind the subject should be at about 2.5 – 3metres to allow for some head room if the subject is standing
How many people?
Roughly a 4m squared stage area will cater for 3-4 people standing in the space. If the shot is a ‘head and shoulders’ framing then you could get 5 in this type of space.
If the budget will allow it then hire a sound recordist with good credentials (ask for a show reel or references). If your shoot is simple the using a decent boom mic or radio mic linked into your camera will do just fine. Just remember to wear headphones to monitor the audio. Some radio mics give off a low buzzing noise. Try and record into both of the cameras channels. One or 2 radio mics or radio mic and boom or 2 booms.
Check if the facility has a lot of outside disturbance. Some studios will have 2 spaces and it is best to enquire about the other shoot booked in that day and see if the studio will still offer a totally soundproofed environment.
See if the green screen studio is draped or has surplus drape which can be a great way to further deaden the sound.
Check the chairs that the subject, crew, cast and clients will be sitting on during takes is solid and silent. No sqeaky chairs, wicker chairs or anything else they choose to sit on. This applies to clothing and footwear too! Brand new leathers, sequins, ruffles, zips, jewellery (earrings, bracelets etc) are to be avoided.
Sam Parkinson, Studio Manager Camberwell Studios.