Shooting On Location vs. Sound Stage (Part Two)

Soundstage at Hybrid Studios

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

This continued installment on the Hybrid Studios Blog discusses five factors that determine whether a production is better suited for a shoot on location or at a professional sound stage like Stage 1 at Hybrid Studios.

Lighting DepartmentLIGHTING

This week we start with the Lighting department. The Lighting department has a crucial role in ensuring that a production looks organic. They can change a film dramatically through different lighting set-ups to achieve a variety of moods, atmospheres and effects, which ensures that the film’s talent is always correctly lit.

ON LOCATION – Have you ever noticed the color of light changing throughout the day? If a production spends an entire day filming under natural light, you will notice the different shades of red and blues changing from morning to afternoon, to the evening. This requires that the lighting department use a lot of equipment to control the changes in lighting conditions in order to maintain continuity throughout the scene.

SOUND STAGE – The problems above don’t occur on a sound stage because all light is artificial and controlled.  Many lights may be needed depending on the scene, but once they’re set, they’re not going to change unpredictably throughout the day. Another advantage of a sound stage is the convenience of a lighting grid, complete with access to electricity and the flexibly to easily place lights anywhere above the set.

Sound DepartmentSOUND

ON LOCATION – Have you ever wondered why home videos sound terrible? Random people chatting in the background or wind screaming in the microphone can easily distort outdoor audio recordings. A quality sound department can defeat most of these problems, but a plane flying overhead or strange plumbing sounds in a building can easily bring any production to a screeching halt.

SOUND STAGE – A sound stage is built to be more or less isolated to avoid the interference of outside noise. Having full control of isolated audio can make this department run seamlessly with very minimal equipment.


ON LOCATION / SOUND STAGE – The last department is the one that leads the whole dog and pony show, the production department. There are many questions that this department needs to answer: Where will we store equipment that’s out of the scene? Where will all the actors be waiting when not needed in the shot? Is there parking for the production trucks? Are there any bathrooms? Is there Internet available? What kind of make-up, dressing room and office trailers will be needed? While these questions will need to be answered individually on location, they are eliminated altogether when shooting on a sound stage.

Locations and sound stages both have many advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific shoot, but when it comes to the choice for saving cost, renting a sound stage can help keep the production budgets low.

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