Dubai-based equipment and crew rental company Atlas Television has built a studio for video and still photography within its offices in Dubai Studio City. The facility, which opened last month, has reportedly been built to fill a gap in Dubai for an affordable, high-quality studio space for mid- and small-size projects. The purpose-built 1,850sqft studio has three infinity curve walls, all over nine metres in length, adjoining the equipment rental facility and office of Atlas Television, now occupying the entire ground level of the boutique office in Dubai Studio City.
Commenting on the new studio, broadcast veteran and owner of Atlas Television, Cal Barton says: “The new studio was set up in response to requests from our existing clients, who approach us regularly for crew and kit. We saw the opportunity when the office space adjoining our existing work space opened up. That meant we could move our equipment hire stock out of the studio space we’d been using as a warehouse.”
Underlining the advantages of creating a studio in a purpose-built space, Barton elaborates: “The boutique offices in Dubai Studio City have these spaces with very high ceilings, low-noise air conditioning and robust power supply, making it easy for us to convert the space back into a studio. You can record sound with the air conditioning on.
You could turn the air conditioning off as well and the place will stay cool because it is well insulated. These are unlike the studios you see elsewhere in Dubai that are converted warehouses and are not adequately soundproofed.”
Barton’s team worked on the space in stages, starting with the construction of the infinity curve walls. He explains: “For the infinity curve walls, we used a contractor approved by TECOM that has built such walls in other studios. The walls give both photographers and videographers flexibility with what they want to shoot, and it helps with post-production as well.
“The lighting grid was standard, and for the sound baffling drapes, we worked with a company that stocks them and has a track record of installing them in other spaces. The drapes along the lighting grid and around the periphery of the studio offer sound baffling and considerably reduce echo.”
The new studio is generating interest among Atlas Television’s existing clients, Barton says: “We saw a gap in the market for an affordable, high-quality studio that is soundproof. In addition, you would not need generators with 71kW of power available. In contrast, in warehouses-turned studios you would need generators, especially given the requirements for lighting equipment.”
On the features of the new studio space, Barton says: “We have white, black and green backgrounds all available, so there is generally no need for any additional painting. As always, clients can hire our camera, lighting, sound and mixing equipment that are all available on-site, along with experienced crew. Most of our clients are production companies with corporate clients. We do broadcast work for clients in the UK, US and elsewhere – where we would shoot a segment of their show in Dubai.”
Barton has also set up adjacent production facilities allowing clients to watch proceedings in the studio from outside, and a Green Room for makeup. He also reveals that the company has approached Dubai Studio City to widen the doors by one metre, to be able to fit super cars into the studio.
Asked about the challenging economic situation and entrenched competition, Barton says: “We have been operating since 2003. I have seen the boom time and the financial crash. My experience in the UK and Dubai is that there is enough demand to keep the business going at all times. The key is to keep in touch with what clients want in terms of crew and equipment hire, and in terms of studio requirements as well. The studio presents a new income stream for us, and hopefully during summer, as business generally slows down, our air-conditioned interiors will attract business we previously didn’t have at that time of year.”