Studio hire – what size studio do I need?

Hiring a studio can be a daunting task when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Many studios are designed around one thing, such as photography, videography, or sound recording. Other studio hire may be more suitable for multi-purpose use, with a large, flexible space that can accommodate most projects. One of the main considerations when looking at studio hire is the size of it, including floor size, ceiling height and accessibility. Below is a list of things to think about when choosing which studio hire is best for you:

Floor size

Often, the location of a studio will give you a decent indication of its floor size. An inner city studio will likely be smaller (and more expensive) while a studio located in a more industrial area may be warehouse sized (and cheaper!).

Smaller studios are good for headshots or small, close up photography or videography. Larger studios provide far more flexibility, to shoot both small, close up things and large objects that require wider angles and more area. A larger studio rental will be more suitable for a film production.

If you’re planning to host an event, a large floor size will also be beneficial. This will ensure you have room for a sound system for some great music, room for a catering crew and even an area left over for a live photoshoot!

Look for a studio that is at least 20 square metres for most standard shoots. If your vision involves something a bit more out of the box (such as using a car or if it involves a large group of people) find a studio with at least 100 square metres. 

Ceiling height

It is pointless to have lots of floor space if your ceiling is low – it will cut into your frame and restrict the floor space you can actually use. Find a studio with a ceiling height of more than 2m high. This will allow you to use the full capacity of the studio in most instances.

Studios with high ceilings may also be equipped with suspended lights and other goodies. This will give you more freedom to use lights and other equipment from a high angle, that you wouldn’t be able to achieve with floor mounted equipment. A high ceiling also makes it easier to use a large green screen.

Your vision and the subject matter

How much room will you need to shoot your subject or film your video production? If you’re a photographer only working with a single person for a headshot (with maybe one studio assistant) you won’t have any trouble finding a photo studio to accommodate your photo shoot. However, if you’re shooting a group of people, a large object such as a car, or even a single person with lots of movement, you’ll need to consider the space more carefully. For small shoots, look for a studio rental around 20sqm but for anything more find a studio at least 30sqm.

Larger studios are also likely to have more equipment such as different tables, unique backdrops and lots of light options. If you’re shooting smaller objects but require tables and other similar equipment, look for a larger studio that has these available.

Be careful about hiring a studio with large windows – they may allow too much natural daylight in and it will be difficult to control the light for your music video, photo project or food shoots.

Accessibility

Depending on their location, some studios will be much easier to access than others. Centrally located studios may have very limited parking and the ability to get into the studio may be through a small doorway or up flights of stairs. Industrial based studios are likely to have roller doors, easy parking and quick access. This is great if you’re bringing in a variety of props and equipment – particularly for a film, video shoot or video production. A roller door will also allow you to accomplish things like drive a car in, if you’re filming or photographing with large props (or the car itself!). 

Packing up and cleaning up

If you’re planning to use ‘messy’ props such as glitter or confetti, how easy will it be to clean up at the end of the photo shoot or film shoot? Consider the flooring and walls of the studio and how simple it will be to tidy. A kitchen is also a good consideration, in case you need access to water, tea, coffee and cooking supplies.

It’s also important to consider flooring and walls for hardiness and risk of damage. Working with props, lights and other bulky equipment adds a level of risk, so consider how easily you could damage walls and other parts of the studio. A cement floor and walls is your best option. 

So, how much space do you really need? (the numbers!)

A professional photographer needs a professional space. Here’s how much space you need for your project:

Headshot or half torso portrait: 

You’ll need enough room for your subject, the backdrop, and light equipment, which all up is about 3 meters wide. 

Full length portrait:

You’ll need about the same space as you do for a single half torso portrait, but you’ll need more room for the camera to move further away from the subject, which is about 5m back.

Group portraits or large objects:

This one is a harder thing to calculate, as it depends on the size of the group and the structure of the group in the frame. Aim to add a couple of meters of backdrop on each side of the group, and leave 1-2 meters beyond that for lighting. You’ll also need plenty of room to move the camera back to fit all subjects in the frame. 

Futuretheory studio in Canberra

Our studio, located in Beard, ACT, is ideal for almost any photography or videography project. The studio is 126sqm with roller door access and cement floors and walls. We have a variety of lighting equipment available, as well as backdrops and props. The studio manager will be available during your hire time. The studio is fully blacked out allowing you to light the space as needed. For natural light, the 5m tall roller door can be opened, flooding the area. Check out more about our space here: futuretheory.co/studio

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