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Thinking about a video studio with two sets, one at each end of an isolated room.

Anything obviously terrible about this layout?  Would the deflected walls / ceiling design be sufficient to deal with resonance?

Could the building's exterior wall be an "M" in the M-A-M design?  What would the material layers look like?  Open studs on the inside filled with Roxul, two layers of sheet rock on the outside, then wood and siding over that?

Rough guesses on cost?  Interior construction of the yellow section can be ignored (deferred to a later time / never), but I assume I'd want to lay in water / drain pipes etc. before the slab.  Located in Eastern Connecticut, US.

Prob. goes without saying but I have no design or construction experience.  Just wondering if the ballpark cost is in the realm of possibility.





paulears Mon, 10/24/2022 - 11:59

You're doing a video studio, not an audio studio, and video spaces tend to not have the walls actually in sight, but usually behind a perimiter cloth - often black heavy cloth, with maybe a coloured cloth on a separate track in front, or the wall behind painted. You'll have hard floors too of course, so what the space normally needs is absorbtion - lots of it. Loads of studios simply batten out the walls to allow rockwool between the verticals. Often theyre simply chicken wire covered and left (in quite a few big broadcast studios) or sometimes fabric covered to 'posh it up a bit' to be seen.


The usual recording studio aim of non-parallel surfaces doesn't really appear to often in video studios. The spaces are large enough to not have a characteristic 'sound' - mic to subject distances can go up compared to a room with reflections. Its actually amazing that two or three cloths, even light weight ones can really deaden a square, hard surfaced space. Mine is about 55ft in length with a low 9ft ceiling - not ideal but workable, with only 14-16ft width, and I have 25ft of it with a semi permanent standing set surrounded on 3 sides with cloth hung from my lighting grid. I'm very content with the sound - which is very controlled and neutral.

kmetal Mon, 10/24/2022 - 17:30

Agreed with Paul about the rectangle shape. Usually even studios with slanted walls are rectangular structures. The angles are created by the interior finish treatment, usually some sort of facade housing the acoustic treatment.

With regard to price. It's the cost of high end home construction, and usually 3x per square foot due to all the extra layers of material and labor. So 75-225$ per sqft is the range in general. 

If you diy it it can be done for 35$-50$ per sqft. This would be for the England Area, as costs vary by region.

Since the isolation is the the most expensive part, you want to carefully evaluate the noise levels that exist, and the noise levels your likely to create, as well as your local ordinances for noise. 

Knowing those three noise levels in decibels (A- Weighted) will allow you to determine what construction methods are required for your needs. You want to only build what you need, because again, isolation construction is a disproportionately expensive part of the studio.

A standard double wood frame assembly would be layers of exterior sheathing (OSB or plywood) which is your first M, then Airspace, then a internal franes covered with 5/8" fire code drywall in the room interior. Thats your other M.  Both walls should be insulated with the cheapest code compliant insulation, usually the pink fluffy stuff. And the walls should be air sealed.

I suggest you get Rod Gervias book, "home studio: build it like the pros". It focuses on music studios, but the principals are the same. It's got excellent drawings which you can give to your contractor and building code offices.

Since your new to studio design and construction I highly suggest you hire a pro designer to help, as typical building contractors won't know how to build studios, even if they think they do. Trust me, they don't.

Rod Gervias is actually located in Connecticut and is a world class designer. 

When at all possible use only standard building materials. Avoid "acoustic" branded products. They're just overpriced and often inadequate. Standard drywall, insulation, masonry, and lumber are what even the best studios use.

If your floating a floor, or using isolation brackets, those product might come from an acoustic brand. Beyond that all the stuff is available at your local building supply place.

Your methodology and cost will vary depending on if it's new construction or your retrofitting in an existing structure like a garage or basement or warehouse.

paulears Sat, 10/29/2022 - 01:25

I just finished a job on a ‘video studio’. It has virtually no sound insulation from the outside world, and internally is massive, think aircraft hanger style big! It has a decay time from a clap of well over ten seconds and as every surface is hard, it’s horrrible. Luckily, I have finished my particular part of the job. As I was leaving, the USAF landed B52 bombers on the disused runway. The site had been sold off for redevelopment when they moved out a few years before, and lots of businesses operate there now. However, they maintained their ownership of the runways and aprons, just not the buildings. They’re now practicing touch and go landings most weeks, and the businesses can’t hear themselves think.

video studios don’t always need recording acoustics, in terms of what we normally want. Isolation and control. They want as much height as possible, so often the roof is single sheet, so even rain can be heard inside. First things for an acoustic video studio is the isolation. Then if money is left, treatment. If you look at the bigger audio studios they do tend to be parallel walled, but just have lots of treatment and diffusion. Abbey Road is a good example. It’s pretty square. As you get smaller, angles become more vital. 

parabel Sun, 04/16/2023 - 09:08

In reply to by paulears

paulears wrote:
Loads of studios simply batten out the walls to allow rockwool between the verticals. Often theyre simply chicken wire covered and left (in quite a few big broadcast studios) or sometimes fabric covered to 'posh it up a bit' to be seen.
What provides the second layer of mass in this scenario? Is there an exterior wall, then an interior wall with double-drywall facing outward, and rockwool laid in facing inward toward the recording space?
I have 25ft of it with a semi permanent standing set surrounded on 3 sides with cloth hung from my lighting grid.
OK, so if you need a set of a room interior, you would build free-standing walls separately, within your recording space with exposed-rockwool walls? Like a TV sitcom set?

paulears Sun, 04/16/2023 - 10:09

Video studios often have no need for absolute soundproofing, but they do need big space treatment to make the cavernous sound better to live with. Worse, the studio floor is usually hard, and there's little you can do with that. What remains is a structural space that has clockwork, concrete or brick walls. Sound treatment often involves conventional stud work with sheet materials, but reversed. In a typical sound studio, you might have the layers of sheet material on the inside, and the reverse filled with the rockwool or similar. Video studios often reverse it - so the layers on the stud work are on the cavity side. That is the dense layer, doing what it would do on the inside layer, usually. Then on the studio side, the rock wool just needs to be exposed to the sound in the room, to do what it does inside the usual studio wall panels - with nice looking fabric, but often just left covered with chicken wire to stop it falling out. The studio, even if having freestanding sets built normally has heavy curtain material that runs around the perimeter, and provides yet more deadening, but really there for visual background. The usual question is how much external sound reduction is needed. if you have B52's outside, quite a bit - but video is often far more tolerant of external noise. Just tame the reverb from the walls and you're there.The size of video walls also makes treatment very expensive, per square metre.

parabel Thu, 01/18/2024 - 20:28

Quick recap: considering building a space where I can create some sets/scenery and record videos. 

The audio recorded would consist almost entirely of spoken dialogue.  I don't anticipate recording music.

There is some moderate external noise from a nearby industrial source (machine noise, semi trucks entering/exiting).

I'm sort of settling on a minimum 28x40x12 building, possibly wider/longer if cost allows.  I guess it would be counter-productive to build a garage from stock plans, then modify that as per the Gervais book.  Should I have an architect with acoustics exerience draw up plans instead?  Or someone in a design/build firm with the detailed requirements spelled out as per the book?

Along a totally different track:  I've also considered moving out of state, buying a former church or school building in the midwest, and renovating that into a recording space with attached living area.  Lots of space and high ceilings in a nave (?) or a gym.  Just curious if anyone had tried something similar.


PS - Paul - why would a space for video / film-making require less isolation than one for music?

paulears Sat, 01/20/2024 - 00:52

Large spaces tend to have content that gets replaced in post, so if you are making Star Wars 24, very little of what you record is actually used. Since this topic started, my space has changed numerous times, and again yesterday when one job finished and another is starting soon. I also produce some YouTube stuff, basically a few viewers but I like doing them. I started with me sitting at my studio desk, which has the audio and video monitors, and kit and the switcher desk in shot. Because of things paying bills happening in the other bit the camera for YouTube doesn’t see, the actual desk has moved quite a few times, so is sort of a set really. It’s just moved again, and is now 90 degrees rotated, as are the cameras. The space is dead, but one side is open to the office, the kitchen, the entrance and the exit door that goes to stairs and importantly, the toilets. Worse, one double glazed window that goes to the car park and railway line and crossing outside. So trains, two an hour or so, with the crossing beeping, car doors slamming, but all producing noise. The things I’d forgotten about was that in the layout up to yesterday, the mic, which is an SM7B normally, points at my mouth from around two feet away. Going past my mouth, is the path to the window, about 30ft away or so. Now the rotation points towards a wall, and three layers of cloth. Black, green or white layers currently. The green screen is currently the exposed surface. My noise sources are now at the mics side. One thing I can do nothing about is noise from above. An office, with two people. I can hear their shredder, and footfalls. I could easily change to the stupid huge mic close in style you see all the time on YouTube and even broadcast tv, but I hate it. This would drop room noise way down because spoken word at two feet is great for letting you hear things. On my videos, with headphones on I can hear the occasional train crossing and a few bumps from upstairs. If I’m recording video or audio and I hear something, I just stop and do it again. Annoying but workable. The solid walls on three sides under the cloth mean the room sound is great for speech, a little dead for instruments. I just don’t have the height to build something, with lights and stuff. If you need a set, build one inside the space so you can move it, change it or add to it.  Some of the big famous studios that use churches have to spend lots of money keeping sound out if they are in london near busy roads, but a chapel in the countryside have more trouble from birds, as church roofs are not bad when lead covered, but under the lead is not really much, mass wise, and if they’ve had a replacement roof, they let sound through. The walls don’t but windows do, so double or triple glazing big windows can be mega expensive. Churches are also so expensive to heat, so that’s got implications too. Last thing, I do lots of church recording and big or small, they don’t all sound good. One I use is horrible, and the recordings made there have artificial reverb sadly.

paulears Sun, 01/21/2024 - 06:22

I've had the move around and removed so many cables that I'd added but never removed other ones that it's all working fine again and the angles look pretty much the same. The cunning plan to be able to do more green screen without massive movement have failed a bit because the lighting for the green walls is in the way of the lighting for the desk end, but It's working - I just need to spend some time tightening the green cloth as it's not stretched out properly yet. The store area is behind the cloths to the right of the desk - about a 6ft slice behind them where junk and flight cases live. I even for the first time ever, stuck a label on every mains plug saying what was connected!

pic 6pic 3


parabel Wed, 07/10/2024 - 14:13

Thanks, Paul and KMetal, for the feedback on this endless thread.

What I gather so far:

- Sound intrusion is less of a problem for film/video production

- Rectangular space is acceptable for film/video

- To control cost, measure sound levels and internal acoustics, then only isolate/treat as needed

My initial aspirations are for a 30'x40' space with 12 foot ceilings.  I might have the construction documents accommodate a staged build.  The first iteration would be a fairly standard garage/workshop, but built to to support additional isolation / treatment materials if required.

The industrial sounds I'm trying to keep out of the space are about 66dB.  However, since I'm no longer working and tend to be nocturnal, I'm thinking of simply recording outside of business hours.  In this case the outside noise would consist primarily of passing cars.

Would it be sufficient to start with a standard wall assembly of sheathing, fiberglass insulation, and one layer of 5/8" interior drywall?  If further isolation were required, I could add another layer of drywall inside, then build framing for exposed rockwool behind chicken wire, as Paul mentioned.

Any suggestions for finding someone qualified to draw up construction documents and price out the initial build?  I don't know if Rod Gervais is still practicing, and if so whether he'd be interested in a modest hobby project.

Thanks again.