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Author Topic: When is a Studio Too Small?  (Read 4934 times)

Sareesh Sudhakaran

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When is a Studio Too Small?
« on: April 27, 2014, 11:02:16 am »

Hi

Right now, I am just bouncing ideas around and I probably don't know the right questions to ask. When unused, I'd like to rent the space for professional shoots. I was thinking about accommodating bands, full body fashion shoots, maybe a car, etc.

So, as professionals, for studio work, what is the minimum acceptable space for the kind of work that you do? E.g., even one-person portraits and fashion photography needs a sizable studio, because it has to take into account large lights, a big crew, clients, wind machines, sets, etc. I don't want to go overboard and look at real sound stages, but just the 'bare minimum'. I am also aware that my living room or bathroom can be a studio, but I'm looking at the professional scenario.

Height, width and length. Any advice is appreciated.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2014, 09:49:44 pm »

That's a great resource, though the sizes are too big! I'll google around, though. Thanks!
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LenR

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 09:40:26 pm »

A studio is too small if you can't swing a cat around in it.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 05:51:59 am »

A studio is too small if you can't swing a cat around in it.

Are we talking Siamese or a tiger?
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MikeDitz

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 08:22:19 pm »

You need room for your subjects, enough room to use a longer lens if you like and about 10 ot 5 feet round the shooting area for setting lights and storage, etc.My first studio was 45 x 20. Long and skinny. Once a 9 foot roll of seamless paper was hung there was only about 5 feet on either side for lights and flags and reflectors and other studio things. Not wide enough. My second studio was 45x60 great for lots of things but a little too small for cars.
My third studio has not yet happened as now I do 99% on location. Saves me $30-40k a year  :D
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 07:07:16 am »

You need room for your subjects, enough room to use a longer lens if you like and about 10 ot 5 feet round the shooting area for setting lights and storage, etc.My first studio was 45 x 20. Long and skinny. Once a 9 foot roll of seamless paper was hung there was only about 5 feet on either side for lights and flags and reflectors and other studio things. Not wide enough. My second studio was 45x60 great for lots of things but a little too small for cars.
My third studio has not yet happened as now I do 99% on location. Saves me $30-40k a year  :D


Thanks Mike! I was arriving at the 1000 sq.feet size as well. I just realized a larger space means more money for air conditioning (heating is not a problem), sound-proofing and maintenance.

A question: Why does it require 45x60 for cars? Is that much space required for just one car or many? One of the frequent posters here, Harper, has a cyclorama that's about 30x25 - http://www.harperphoto.co.nz/the-studio/ Would that be too small?
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Petrus

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 08:44:01 am »

Cars are a problem because they often need to be shot from relatively far away, like 30 meters (100') or so to get a pleasing perspective. I know one 100 foot long studio which was used for car shoots, and even there one wall was removable to allow shooting from even further away. The space needs to be high also for lights, and cars need either a lot of clean white huge lights or a lot of Photoshopping to get the reflections right.

At our company we have 3 studios which are about 25x10 meters and 6 meters high and it is possible to drive a car into one of them.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 11:46:41 am »

Cars are a problem because they often need to be shot from relatively far away, like 30 meters (100') or so to get a pleasing perspective. I know one 100 foot long studio which was used for car shoots, and even there one wall was removable to allow shooting from even further away. The space needs to be high also for lights, and cars need either a lot of clean white huge lights or a lot of Photoshopping to get the reflections right.

At our company we have 3 studios which are about 25x10 meters and 6 meters high and it is possible to drive a car into one of them.

Thanks, that makes sense. I hadn't considered perspective.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 11:52:16 am »

The cyclorama is just the stage area or the area in which the car will sit - so that's like saying that's the size of the table-top you have, to shoot product on.

I built a small car studio back in the early 80's - the cyc was 30 feet long, 15 feet wide and 12 feet high - which obviously limited what angles I could shoot, etc - so I'd say that's about the minimum cyc size you could get away with, for this type of work...

Thanks, I understand now. Quick question: Does a cyclorama hinder other kinds of photography? I checked out a few videos and it looks like it's a permanent construction, so does it make sense to have a cyc as a permanent setup for non-car work like fashion, portraits, etc.?

Also, how does one light a cyc evenly? I'm guessing putting lights behind it is counterproductive due to hotspots, unevenness and maintenance issues. That leaves the ceiling - a giant softbox or diffusion perhaps?
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Craig Lamson

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 12:11:46 pm »

The last studio I built that had a cyc was a little over 5000 sq. feet.  The cyc was 40'x60'.  It was on the smallish side for shooting cars (or trailers, and I did lots of them) but it worked.  When I moved to my 10,000 sq foot building I just left it basically a warehouse and did not build the cyc.  My uses really did not require it.  I've done three studio spaces over the years but I'm only doing location work now.  Its really a relief not to spend all that money on building overhead :)

Lighting the cyc can take many forms.  I had a bank of 1k broads in the ceiling to wash the wall from above.  Or I often used Mole 2k and 1k  Fresnels to spot  or create strips of light on the wall to create lighting effects for reflective surfaces.  Or I sometimes built a stub wall from black fabric and flooded the lover part of a wall with 2k Mole zips to create a horizon line in reflective surfaces.  When shooting smaller products the cyc walls were never a hinderance.   Unlike a lot of people I found that a good neutral gray paint made creating reflective gradients easier than when the walls were white.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 12:42:38 pm by Craig Lamson »
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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 06:48:12 am »

The last studio I built that had a cyc was a little over 5000 sq. feet.  The cyc was 40'x60'.  It was on the smallish side for shooting cars (or trailers, and I did lots of them) but it worked.  When I moved to my 10,000 sq foot building I just left it basically a warehouse and did not build the cyc.  My uses really did not require it.  I've done three studio spaces over the years but I'm only doing location work now.  Its really a relief not to spend all that money on building overhead :)

Lighting the cyc can take many forms.  I had a bank of 1k broads in the ceiling to wash the wall from above.  Or I often used Mole 2k and 1k  Fresnels to spot  or create strips of light on the wall to create lighting effects for reflective surfaces.  Or I sometimes built a stub wall from black fabric and flooded the lover part of a wall with 2k Mole zips to create a horizon line in reflective surfaces.  When shooting smaller products the cyc walls were never a hinderance.   Unlike a lot of people I found that a good neutral gray paint made creating reflective gradients easier than when the walls were white.



Wow that photo is brilliant! Why don't they make cars like that any more? At least not where I live.

Thanks for the info. I've pretty much given up the idea on anything bigger than 1000 sq feet. The monthly bills for lighting alone (for your studio) would have been heart-stopping.




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Craig Lamson

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2014, 07:58:26 am »

Wow that photo is brilliant! Why don't they make cars like that any more? At least not where I live.

Thanks for the info. I've pretty much given up the idea on anything bigger than 1000 sq feet. The monthly bills for lighting alone (for your studio) would have been heart-stopping.


Thanks. A bunch of 2k's will make the electric meter spin :)

I went back into my archive and found the trailer shot from the studio photo.  Was from 2005.  It was one from a series of 20 trailers.  They were all shot for outline and the backgrounds were added in post.



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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Re: When is a Studio Too Small?
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 10:35:50 am »

Yup, that could be the size of my studio!
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