4 Crucial Elements of a Great TV Studio Design Layout

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Did you know that one-third of retailers increased their conversions by 91% with videos?

No wonder more people are incorporating video into what they’re currently doing. And the best place to produce your videos are in a TV studio. Away from the weather, in a quiet, purpose built space – you can focus on your content and not on the fire truck passing by.  The right TV studio design layout determines the success and quality of your production. Keep reading to learn more about the aspects of great studio design.

Creating a TV studio can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can also be challenging if you’re working with limited space but you can still create a TV studio design that looks great, is practical, and functional. After you choose the type of studio you need you can add the following elements to make it complete.

1. Soundproofing

Audio is probably one of the most important element when creating a TV studio. If there’s buzzing, or background noise it can be very distracting in the video. You want to take into consideration the acoustics of the room you are building the studio in. 

If the room has any background noise, echo, or noisy equipment it’s going be a factor you have to consider when choosing your audio equipment. For ideal results, your studio should be acoustically “dead” with zero echoes. If the studio is still being built consider installing acoustic absorption panels in the ceilings and the walls. 

You have to keep in mind that if your audio is off on your videos or the sound is bouncing off the floors, ceilings, or walls the entire video can become worthless. Viewers will complain if they don’t like the sound and you are making your product feel cheap and worthless.

Think also about how to cool a sound-proofed space – you can’t just open a window! No matter how cool the room feels before you start shooting – your guests will soon start to shine under the heat. Regular office air-conditioning will be far too noisy for a studio and fans just move the hot air around so you will need to think about specialist air-cooling as used in all Celebro Studios around world. Specialist air-con is an expensive addition so ensure you plan for it in your budget

2. Lighting

Lights can be a tricky process in video production. You have endless lighting kits you can choose from to give you the perfect light. You want to be mindful of any shadows and glares in your video – if you get it wrong – your footage will be ruined. 

The most common lighting to follow is the 3 point lighting system but the entire studio has to be well lit in order to capture great video. You can add light reflectors as needed to help your shots and subjects have well-lit scenes.

The biggest development in lighting over the last decade has been LED lighting. To start with LED lights came with problems such as poor colour replication or a tendency to be less bright. Today, though, almost all major lighting manufacturers have made the switch – and you should too!

The main advantage of LED lights is that they produce almost no heat and they also use much less electricity. They are also much more flexible than older lamps.  

LED lights come in 5 colour types:

1: Tungsten – a more yellowish light that closely matches the old lamps of the 20th century.

2: Daylight – a bluish light that is similar to the colour of daylight – same as an old HMI lamp.

3: Bi-Colour – these are flexible as they can do both Tungsten and Daylight – they tend to be more expensive.

4: RGB – these are the main Red/Green/Blue lights that you expect from LED lights.

5: RGBW: These can do the RGB range AND the same as bi-colour lights. Not too many of these around at the moment and tend to be very expensive.

Because LED’s are so flexible – we tend to oinly now need one or two lighting types in studio. So apart from colour – here are your other options:

1: Hard light – these are normally used as a ‘key light’ to light your main subject. Often a small point of light. Can also be used as a ‘back light’

2: Flood – these are often used to fill a scene with light- can be a very effective ‘fill light’ to reduce shadows

3: Focus light – this a light that can go from a hard point to a wider flood and be used as a key, fill or back light.

Remember apart from the actual lights – you will need a budget for ‘grip’ – that is to say all the things you hang the lights from. By far the best system to hang lights is from a ceiling mounted grid. This means you have more floor space and fewer cables to trip over. Erecting a ceiling grid requires making modifications to the ceilings so can be quite costly. If your ceilings are very high your could consider ‘pantographs’ – a kind of scissor system to allow you to pull lights closer to the floor.

If you can’t mount your lights on the ceilings – you need to think about robust stands – and plenty of weights and sandbags to make sure they don’t get knocked over.

Oh and one final thing to say on lighting….

Do not under any circumstances attempt to use domestic or industrial lighting in place of specialist TV lighting! Although they may look similar to the naked eye – they will cause a horrible rolling or flickering effect on camera. This is due to the frequency of the light not matching the shutter speed of the camera. 

3. Backdrops

Another crucial element is your backdrop. What are you going to shoot in front of? These days – studios tend to have a very striking ‘designed look’ but some of the TV sets you see on the news can cost upwards of $1million dollars so you need to think abut what you want to achieve.

Neutral background like black or white can work – but is a little dated in today’s market. You should at the very least consider having a black or white paper photographers backdrop that you can pull down for some shoots. 

A greenscreen backdrop can also work very well for some shoots – but you will need to think about how you are going to ‘key’ the images. Also worth mentioning that lighting greenscreen brings challenges of it’s own.

Worth thinking about a range of surfaces in your studio that can give you multiple options. Ideas such as a white brick wall, a polished concrete surface, a wall of books or even wood panels. In front of these backdrops you can use a range of ‘set items’ such as, couches, armchairs, tables, etc. 

You can also think about building or designing your own set. Remember these days that wide screen TV’s are pretty cheap and could be mounted in interesting and dynamic ways to create your own cool set. 

Finally if you are making a news or talk show – you probably need to budget for a news desk. The higher-end ones (with TVs and LED light-boxes) can be a very, very pricey item costing as much as a family car – so you may need to look into simple option that looks neat and doesn’t distract too much.

4. Equipment

When it comes to the choice of video equipment you will use, well, there are so many options that it can seem difficult to start. Instead of answers – here are some questions that you need to ask yourself.

1: Multi or single camera

Seems like a stupid question but it really matters. If you go multi-camera then you need a whole different budget and a whole different workflow (such as vision mixing desks, master control room etc). Don’t think that shooting everything single camera is the easier and cheaper option. A multi-camera shoot can save you hours (or even weeks) in shooting time and even more time saved in post production, BUT you will have to spend more on your equipment.

2: Live or Not

These days, broadcasting is not the only way to reach an audiences live. With the advent of Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube Live – millions of people are reaching their audiences live. You may want to think about adding some streaming kit into your studio to allow you to do it. 

Once you have made your decision – there is still a huge amount of kit to think about. Here is the shortlist.

1: Cameras: These days you can go through UHD 4K down to HD (don’t even THINK about SD – it is as dead as dinosaurs and you will be laughed out of town). There are many option to consider including manned versus robotic cameras. 

2: Tripods: Or pedestals to allow your cameras to be fixed or moving

3: Prompter: Autocue or Autoscript to allow your presenters to read straight to camera. Very expensive but there are some cheaper iPad options.

4: Lighting Controllers: DMX units to control your lights without getting on a ladder.

5: Vision Mixer: A way to cut between cameras. These days these can cost from as little at $600 up to $1million depending on what you need it to do.

6: Microphone: Radio or wired? Lapel or boom. So many options! 

7: Audio Mixer: How will you smoothly control your audio? Budget mixers start from a few hundred dollars up to several hundred thousand.

8: Comms: This is possibly THE most important thing you need in studio. How will you talk to presenters or camera operator while recording/live. Presenters may need ‘in-ear’ monitoring while camera operators can use a headset. Make sure you don’t use a system that will interfere with your radio microphones

Ready to Make Your Dream Studio?

After reading the 4 crucial elements of a TV studio design layout are you feeling excited or ready to begin your layout? Take your time to plan and set up your room right to fit everything you need to create your TV studio.

If you’re able to find the perfect balance of being attractive to the eyes but not distracting you will have a great studio for all your filming needs.

If you prefer to save yourself plenty of headaches and money, plus have the perfect equipment, audio, and lighting every time contact us today to chat about your studio needs.

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