Three Common Mistakes People Make with Video Studio Rental

Mistakes People Make with Video Studio Rental

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Renting a video studio for the first time can be surprisingly daunting. It all sounds simple until you start thinking through the logistics of the process and realize how little you know about how it all works.

There are many good reasons why renting a video studio is a good idea, especially for marketers looking to produce a few short videos to share on social media or an up and coming influencer in search of good indoor lighting and professional equipment that doesn’t cost the Earth.

But it can have some drawbacks if you’re not careful. With that in mind, it’s good to have an idea of where to start and to be aware of the most common mistakes people make when renting video studios so that you can avoid them.

Make sure that you know what you need so that you can pick the right studio with the right equipment to suit your specific goals. Some studios will have everything from professional strobes and modifiers to a veritable forest of backdrops, while others provide nothing more than a heated space and an outlet.

Before you begin your search for space, make a list of items that you’ll need, and if you’re totally new to shooting in studios, take a class to get you familiar with handling expensive gear in such spaces. Then do some research, so you avoid falling into these three common traps when renting a video studio.


Failing to check out the pricing structure beforehand

Make sure that you know what you’re getting. It’s likely that when you first walk into a studio, a lot of equipment – from lights and softboxes to background paper and strobes– may be on display but the usage of that gear isn’t necessarily included in the rental price.

Read the studio’s website very carefully and ask for clarification on any points that are unclear. Make sure that you retain any emails detailing what is and is not included, and know when you can arrive and if they’ll let you tour the space before your reservation date (and use that opportunity if the answer’s yes).

Some studios will add the price of any gear used during a shoot to your bill at checkout, so it’s important to talk to the studio manager beforehand to confirm whether the equipment is included in the price to avoid any nasty surprises later on down the line.

This is just another business transaction, so don’t be afraid to ask for the things that you need but make sure that you always ascertain prices in advance to keep from going over-budget. Ask whether a changing room will be available, and ask about any specific equipment you might need, like a fog machine or modifiers for lights.

Finally, assume nothing. Always have a backup plan in place and be prepared with any vital items that you can’t do without if the studio lets you down. While you may have been given a complete list of available equipment and provided with written guarantees, it’s always best to hedge your bets.

As far as it’s practical, carry extras of your own gear in case of breakage or equipment malfunction. You’ve already spent time and money organizing your shoot, so the last thing you’ll want is to have to scrap the whole thing because you didn’t have a backup in place.

You might even want to rent backup gear if there isn’t a shop close to your rental studio. Such spaces can cost anything from US$30 to $150 or more per hour, and if you’re bringing in hair and makeup professionals, plus models and other performers, the costs will start to add up.

It’s worth spending just a little bit more to ensure that money doesn’t go to waste because you ran out of gaffer tape or batteries, or you can’t find the right lens or the lighting rig isn’t quite up to the standard you want.


Failing to prepare

Pre-production for a video shoot has a lot of moving parts, so when you’re renting a video studio, it’s always best to make sure that everything that can be taken care of in advance has been taken care of before the day of the shoot.

Some of the most common items handled in the pre-production process are:

  • Casting.
  • Location scouting – which you’ve already taken care of just by renting a studio in the first place.
  • Art direction.
  • Setting call times and shoot schedules.
  • Scriptwriting.
  • Creating storyboards and/or shot lists.
  • Organizing craft services.

The two items that are most likely to hold up a studio shoot are art direction and scriptwriting. In terms of art direction, make sure to account for all possibilities, especially the simple things that are often overlooked and can cause unforeseen issues – leading to costly delays – on the day of the shoot.

For example, if you’re filming a video to promote a new line of sunglasses, make sure that you bring plenty of options to the shoot and invest in anti-glare lenses that will look good on camera and under the studio lights.

Similarly, not finalizing/locking in a script is certain to cause delays during a shoot. It can sometimes be easier said than done, but it’s wise to try to make sure that you have approval for the script from all key stakeholders before the day of the shoot.

Mistakes People Make with Video Studio Rental

Have any potential variations of certain lines in the script prepared for the actors, instead of creating new ones as you go, and make sure that you have plenty of copies available during the shoot. It can be useful to have someone whose job is solely to ensure that the script is read exactly as it is written.

Scheduling and craft services are also likely to cause a problem if you haven’t put enough detail into them beforehand. For example, while some actors might have very short roles, others will be on set all day, so it’s good to have role-specific call times, rather than a single one for everybody.

There’s no reason to pay someone to hang out on set all day if their presence is unnecessary. If you need them, check with your hair and makeup artists to find out how long they’ll need to spend on each actor so you can account for that when working out call times.

Food is always important, and it can have a big effect on a studio shoot, so make sure you get craft services sorted out beforehand. Make sure that you have a variety of snacks on hand to suit everyone and that you take any food allergies, intolerance or other preferences into account, and don’t forget about lunch, especially on a full-day shoot.


Inefficient time management

A video studio rental is a great place for creating a variety of videos, including blogs, demonstrations, or short commercials. In order to reduce studio rental time and crew costs, make the most effective use of your time by shooting as much footage as possible in the time available.

Bring back-up scripts
It’s quite possible that you’ll have an actor who consistently knocks it out of the park on the first take every time. There’s no reason to let the studio, crew, and all of the work you put into setting up the shoot in the first place go to waste.

If you bring extra scripts for other videos, you can potentially produce way more footage that all has a consistent look and feel – a dream come true for any good video marketer! In a similar vein, you might want to create a time-lapse of the shoot for B-roll to make the final video a little more dynamic.

Create short teasers
This can be done during post-production but a few shorter versions of your video will be useful for social media and driving traffic to the full video. They can also be used to promote the launch of a series or short film-type advertisement, in order to build anticipation in the run-up to an online premiere of sorts.

Schedule a longer day and socialize the shoot
If you’re planning only to rent a studio for half a day, consider doubling that time so that you can get even more content with a consistent look and feel. It’ll cost you more in the long-run to do two separate half-day shoots than it will to do one full day.

Share photos, text posts, and short videos or boomerangs on social media while you’re on the shoot to start creating buzz around your new video before you’re even in the post-production phase. Being on set is often really fun, so it shouldn’t be hard to get good content. Make sure that you tag the actors and studio to reach their followers as well as your own.

Use a teleprompter
Sure, it’ll probably cost more to rent a teleprompter and/or operator if it doesn’t come with the studio hire, but the huge amount of time you’ll save will make it worthwhile. This is extremely important if you’ve decided to use employees as actors, especially if they’re unused to reading scripts in front of a camera. A teleprompter will help everything to move quicker on the day of the shoot.


Talk to the editor
If post-production is being handled by the studio, make sure to try to connect with the editor and ask them to look for ways to cut the video that will provide a larger quantity of videos, while retaining clarity and quality.



How to avoid making a mistake when renting a video studio?

It’s actually very simple. If you haven’t already realized, there’s a theme here: always do your research and come prepared to make them more efficient, cost-effective use of your time.

Make sure that you know what you want before you start talking to studios and that you understand what you’re renting before you hand over any money. Ask for clarification if anything’s unclear, never assume anything, and always bring back-up gear if you can afford it.

Always come prepared and make sure that everything that needs to be done in pre-production has been completed before the day of the shoot. This includes everything from casting and organizing craft services to setting call times and finalizing the script(s).

Finally, look for ways to manage your time so that you get the most out of your time in the studio. Try to film more than one video in a day, use a teleprompter, get on social media to promote your video in advance, and make sure the editor knows to cut the footage in the most efficient way possible.

Remember: If you hire a video studio for a whole day for US$800 and provide one video, then the total cost of the video will be US$800, plus anything else that went into it, such as equipment hire, actors and on-set catering.

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