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By Devon Maresco
A movie set is one of the most dynamic environments you can imagine. From the actors, to the film crew, to the directorial and administrative staff, to the countless others standing by, film studios are incredibly complex. As such, they need a keen level of oversight to keep everything organized and on-track. It starts with the effective use of space. Film studio space utilization ensures that even in small, extremely busy spaces, everyone has the room to do their duty in pursuit of production.
It’s easy to think of film studios as massive spaces with endless square footage. But not every studio sits on a Hollywood backlot. Specialty studios, small production venues, and local movie production spaces often operate at a space deficit. It costs money to make a movie, and the last thing production companies want to allocate funds to are facilities. Making the most of every square foot is imperative.
Here’s a look at what it means to practice good film studio space allocation and how it contributes to a higher standard of production.
What is film studio space utilization?
Film studio space utilization is the act of delineating specific spaces around specific purposes or needs, to make the most of a given square footage or facilities. Where is wardrobe setting up today? Is it nearby hair and makeup? Is there space for craft services? During a shoot, where are the various cameras positioned? These questions and a thousand others factor into allocating and using space efficiently within a movie studio.
The goal of movie studio space utilization is to ensure minimal facilities costs and maximum production capabilities. It’s not just about saving money in the budget, either. Good space utilization can streamline the production timeline, reduce the need for reshoots, and even open up the set to more complex and intriguing shots. Above all, it’s about ensuring everyone who’s part of the production has the space they need to do their job.
The benefits of space utilization for movie studios
There are a multitude of benefits that come with good space utilization. Movie producers and studios alike benefit from the ability to make the most of space, no matter the need. Some of the most prevalent benefits associated with good space utilization include:
- More efficient use of facilities, from both cost and operations standpoints
- Better understanding of space allocation and utilization
- Purposeful allocation of space to support the needs of employees
- Context for broader facilities data such as utilization and occupancy
- Insights and opportunities to repurpose or reallocate space
- Smarter spatial layout of facilities, to streamline accessibility
Consider the cost savings that go into something as simple as allocating optimal space for props. Instead of renting a trailer or secondary lot, production can continue on one lot, with ample space to store and retrieve props. Not only does this reduce production cost, it also expedites production time and can even improve safety on set. This is just one example of how thoughtful utilization of space creates measurable efficiencies.
How can film studio space utilization software help?
As mentioned, film studios represent dynamic spaces. While it’s easy to identify demand for space, it’s not always easy to ensure maximum utilization. Facilities remain static; production is dynamic. Film studio space utilization software helps bridge the gap.
A CAD mockup of the studio provides set administrators and PAs with the context they need to allocate and utilize space effectively. For example, Zone A might house props today to support the current scene. Tomorrow, Zone A is where hair and makeup will set up—and on Friday, it’ll become an extension of the set to film a complex continuous shot. The ability to visualize Zone A and its many purposes over the course of a shoot enables studios to make the most of space in an operational sense.
Space utilization software is also paramount in ensuring on-site safety, no matter how you’re using a space. Various guild and studio regulations place significant emphasis on keeping studios and sets safe, private, clean, and organized. Utilization software can build in standards and codes to ensure there aren’t any violations on-set.
The identification, planning, and execution of space during film production necessitates the use of software. Without it, PAs and other set administrators could find themselves lost in a sea of clipboards, printouts, and requests for space. Software helps everything run smooth, so that production can run smooth.
Optimize facilities to produce a masterpiece
Outside of Hollywood blockbusters, film budgets tend to be tight. The more money spent on the production, the better. And while facilities are imperative to filming the movie, they’re not always the best use of funds. Instead, it’s better to make the most of the space you have and put as much of the budget into effects, post-production, distribution, and, of course, talent.
Thankfully, through good film studio space utilization, it’s possible to do more with less. Understanding and allocating space, and using it synergistically to facilitate production, is a great way to make the best use of a film’s budget. After all, audiences don’t see where you film a movie—all they care about is the quality of the finished product.
Keep reading: Movie and Film Studio Space Planning Software Benefits