From Ron Burgundy’s kingdom at KVWN channel 4 in San Diego, to Jeff Daniels in HBO’s The Newsroom; from the live threesome on Blue Peter to the chaos of Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear studio – it always looks so damned glamorous making television programmes.
The reality is very different.
The most important item to have when using a studio to make a television programme or corporate video is a huge role of gaffer tape. Studios across the world are all alike. They are all held together with masses of the sticky black stuff, dodgy cables and the collective willpower from the cast and crew.
The upside of using a studio is you are not subjected to the whims of the weather that you get on a location shoot. A studio is usually dry and even now, using LED lights, it’s often warm. However, the downside of a studio shoot is one place and limited time.
Tallboy’s talented crews and producers will often find inspiration on location; the way a shaft of light hits a rack of piping in a warehouse will suddenly turn a rather workmanlike video into a stunning piece of cinematography. A carelessly discarded copy of the Financial Times can be used as a metaphor during an interview. On location, creativity is there for the taking.
Studios tend to come in one colour. White. There might be a bit of detail, such as exposed brickwork or piping, but the point of a studio is it’s a blank canvas to be dressed up and used. Ideally, the design and look of the studio is decided weeks or even months before the shoot day. There are gifted set designers who can turn the white space into everything from an alien spacecraft to a retro 1970’s bar. However, usually in corporate video, time is a luxury that isn’t in the budget and the studio is often dressed with a few logos and some second-hand furniture. Hence the need for plenty of gaffer tape.
Studios have a dual purpose. They’re there to be a place for the contributors to play their role, but they also serve as a place where the crew can work. And that means boxes of equipment and metres of cable. Tallboy’s crews are never afraid of getting their hands dirty and positively enjoy the challenge of creating a corporate video with every single piece of equipment they collectively own (It’s a bit like men in the kitchen – they cook fantastic meals but in doing so use literally all the saucepans and utensils). And that’s where the two worlds collide – the calm of the contributor meets the chaos of the cameraman.
For a corporate video, the studio is a controlled environment that can deliver a uniform look. There’s extra equipment that can help with making the video. However, just remember using autocue didn’t work out too well for Ron.