Building an in-house video production studio has it's pros and cons or costs.
For growing businesses, having an in-house video production studio can be well worth the cost, time and space. Here’s everything you need to consider when determining whether to build your own studio nor not.
Most successful companies are using video. In fact, Wyzowl.com says that 86% of all businesses use video as a part of their marketing campaigns as well as for training. Here are some ways that videos are being used by companies:
- In social media
- On company websites
- In trade shows booths
- In Marketing emails
- As point of purchase displays
- For employee and customer training
For those companies that utilize a lot of video, having an in-house video production studio can offer a number of benefits. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? That’s what you’ll need to decide. We’ll go over some of the benefits and some of the costs to consider.
The benefits of having an in-house studio
There are many benefits, both financially and in intangibles. Here are some of them:
1. Having your own in-house video studio can lower production costs.
When you’re renting a video studio, you typically pay a set up and lighting fee, along with a studio rental fee. Typically, these fees can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per day. That only includes the space and possibly some lighting. It doesn't include video equipment, a video crew, set design and construction, or the cost of repainting the studio after the shoot. This is sometimes necessary and passed on to the client. When you have an in-house studio most of these costs go away.
2. An in-house studio can minimize travel time.
It’s important to consider whether your executive team, including your CEO, has time to travel to a local studio. This is often what’s required for corporate video productions. Having your own in-house studio will mean they’ll be freed up significantly.
3. An in-house studio can reduce the cost and resources needed for building and maintaining sets and for moving products.
Simply said, you won’t have to move things around. You won’t have to pay to build and break down sets over and over. You won’t have to move your furniture products across town to bring them to a studio. And you won’t have to bring them back to your business location again for storage.
For some companies this can mean a huge savings of time and resources. This is especially true for companies with large products, or large sets. For example, let's say that your company sells furniture. If you’re using an outside studio, you would need to load and transport the furniture and any sets you have over and over again. If you have your own sets, you may need to have them rebuilt each time. Another option is to pay for storage. Additionally, consider that there would be studio rental fees for set up and take down.
If you have your own in-house studio, it's easy to build and store several different room design/set-ups. This enables you to change them around as needed. Or you can create permanent sets. With an in-house studio you won’t need to transport your products (furniture in this case) across town. You can see that costs and resources can be dramatically reduced over time with an in-house studio.
4. Having an in-house studio minimizes work time lost.
Now staff can forgo travel time, which can really cut into productivity. For example, suppose certain portions of a video must meet certain criteria. This might require a company expert to sit in on the production. If you are shooting off-site, that person will probably have to lose the full day waiting for their portions to be shot. If you have an in-house studio, they can remain at their desk working until the time they’re needed. So, you can have the experts sit in on these portions of the shoot without having to lose extensive work time. An in-house studio allows everyone to easily and efficiently come and go from the set.
5. An in-house studio makes it easy to involve everyone on staff, including your executives.
An in-house video studio can be so convenient! Since your in-house studio is on premises, you’ll be able to bring in any and all staff you need to be involved with the production and post-production. This enables all kinds of conveniences. For example, the editing team can sit with their video client and get feedback. The CEO can be called in once the production staff is ready to roll. The convenience is fantastic!
6. You can schedule shoots more easily and get more done each day.
First, it’s easier to get a shoot on the schedule when your studio is devoted to your company only. Also, in a single day, you can shoot multiple projects. For example, you could shoot CEO messages, product demos for the marketing team, social media messages for your communications/PR team etc. All this can be done with little downtime.
7. You get equipment depreciation/write-offs.
Since you own all of the equipment, you can write off item costs over time in your books instead of all at once, supposing that an asset loses its value with use. With video equipment, it does. Many pieces of video equipment depreciate over 5 years. Accounting-wise, this can be a benefit.
8. Your video production staff will be highly motivated and excited!
When you’re creating a studio from scratch, you can create a great work environment for your team. They’ll be more motivated if you take their preferences into account.
Now let’s look at some of the costs, challenges and facts you’ll want to consider:
Some of the costs are obvious and some are more subtle or intangible. Let’s take a look at the most obvious first, and then we’ll discuss some of the other costs, challenges and facts you’ll want to factor into your decision.
1. Building a studio can be expensive!
What does a typical studio require? Many people aren’t aware of the basics that go into a studio, and the costs can be steep. There can be a lot more than you thought. In a typical studio you’ll need to buy and/or build the following:
- A light grid
- Hard cyc wall
- Control room
- Audio Mixer
- Intercom systems
- Lighting dimmers
Including all labor, a studio can easily cost between $200,000 and $500,000. That also includes the studio experts working with your construction team and architects. So, you’ll need to be prepared to allocate a significant portion of your budget to this.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to staff your video production studio. You’ll want to take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of hiring a video production staff vs. outsourcing. From there you can get a sense of the possible costs of staffing.
2. Finding the right space in your building can be challenging.
Let's face it. In most circumstances, building an in-house studio is an afterthought. Most companies decide on a studio after the rest of the office space is allocated. That presents many challenges. For example, it’s tough to find a location with the needed space.
When you’re building a studio, the larger the space the better. Typically, you'll need a minimum of a 20' X 20' space with 15–20-foot ceilings. A large studio allows you to move the subject away from the walls to eliminate shadows. It allows you to produce a variety of video types and styles, and to use various sets.
The studio should be located in an area of the building away from noisy offices/cubicles, and away from elevators, kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
It should have no windows, or at the very least windows that have coverings to control light leakage. Consider that windows tend to allow noise from the exterior to seep in. For example, traffic sounds are always an issue. This means that a windowless room is best.
So, finding and allocating enough space and the right space can be challenging.
3. Working with an existing space is more challenging than building from scratch.
While it’s optimal to design your studio space before the building is built, it’s not always possible. It’s always easiest to have the design and schematics completed before building. This allows for elements to be properly placed and planned in advance.
For example, it will allow for the proper power requirements to be addressed, and air conditioning to be designed specifically for a studio. Air conditioning should be designed with a low velocity to keep the sound of the air conditioning low or non-existent. For electrical outlets, they should be strategically placed to help keep the studio neat, without cables strewn along the floor. The lighting grid should have power mounted above.
Optimally, electricity should be isolated by having the studio have its own electric lines. This way if someone nearby is running a copy machine, there won't be electrical interference with your video signals.
If you’re redesigning an existing space, you’ll have to account for all of the above. And there will need to be big changes. For example, plumbing lines and sprinkler systems may need to be rerouted to accommodate a light grid. The AC ductwork may need to be changed or rerouted.
All of these things can be overcome after the fact, but it’s always easier and less expensive if it can be addressed from the start. If you’re working with an existing space, there will need to be a redesign. This will require time and resources to implement the changes.
However, if your new studio is near other departments this can pose a problem. If you have people working close to the studio reconstruction area, it can be disruptive. The dirt, dust and noise along with workers coming and going can interrupt and add strain to nearby employees.
So, it’s always easiest to start from scratch, but again, it’s not required.
4. The building process takes oversight, time and resources.
Of course, at least one person on your staff will have the bulk of responsibility for oversight. This process may take up a chunk of their time. They may have a learning curve as it’s not likely they have done this before. This is why it’s always best to hire a company to manage the process. The liaison for that company will should not just understand the design and building process, but they should understand the video production process intimately. They should also be prepared to work with your architects and builders. This will help minimize the time that your staff must put into the building process.
5. There will be a learning curve once the studio is completed.
It’s likely that your staff will need to be trained on the equipment. This can take some time, depending on the experience of your staff. A good video studio design and building company should include training in the package. They’re the ones who know the ins and outs of the facility and the equipment.
Building an in-house studio does take a lot of resources and time, but ultimately the benefits can outweigh the costs. With all of the long-term financial savings, convenience, accessibility and opportunity for creativity, it can make a big difference to your company.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BUILDING AN IN-HOUSE VIDEO PRODUCTION STUDIO?
Contact us at Ball Media Innovations.
We’re experts at creating educational and corporate video production studios. We know how to design your studio in a way that enables productivity, creativity and efficiency. We can also create a great working environment and a studio you can be proud of.