Shooting On Location vs. Sound Stage (Part One)

Hybrid Studios Soundstage

Which important factors affect a production’s decision between shooting on location or a sound stage?

The next two installments on the Hybrid Studios Blog will discuss five factors that determine whether a production is better suited for a shoot on location or at a professional soundstage like Stage 1 at Hybrid Studios.


We start this week’s discussion with the Production Design department. They are responsible for visually telling the story of the film through selecting the setting and style. (ex. Background, costumes, props, etc.)

ON LOCATION – The production designers choose the location that fits the aesthetic needs of the film, which means the space is already built. It may need some minor work such as touch up paint or the purchasing of a few props.

SOUND STAGE – A soundstage allows for more flexibility in production design, as the set is built from the ground up in a set location. A production design team may simply use the stage’s in-house features (such as Hybrid’s Cyclorama) or build custom walls, and handpick furniture and props. In the case of production design, your location is going to depend largely on the specific needs of each individual production.


Camera Department

The Camera department is linked closely to the production design. Yes, the production design would like to shoot on location but the camera is a piece of equipment that has limits. These limits that we will uncover are a concern that the production designers need to be aware of.

ON LOCATION – A camera is locked into the space in which it exists. Whether it is on a tripod, track, jib/crane, etc, you can only put on the widest lens and get as close to the wall behind you as possible. The option to break a hole in the wall is usually not an option to get the camera exactly where you want it.

SOUND STAGE – In a sound stage, the set can be built with moving walls or the common three-wall set. This means that there is much more working space available, allowing for better camera placement and flexible movement.

On the next Hybrid Studios Blog, we’ll take a look at the final three departments (Lighting, Sound and Production). Thanks for reading – we’ll see you then!

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