In the middle of the pandemic in Melbourne, our inner-city office space suddenly became unavailable and we had no other option than to move out. In fact, we had been sharing only about 60 square metres of space with another video production company and that meant that both of us had, fairly quickly, to make other arrangements. Although it wasn’t an ideal space — on the third floor of a building in South Yarra, without a lift — it did have great parking for Christmas shopping and going to the MCG!
By that time, JPC had been creating video content for Melbourne businesses for a little over six years. Although the company was doing good work in South Yarra —after its somewhat humble birth in my second bedroom — it was clearly time to step up a level: enter The Jasper Picture Company v. 3.0!
The company had three full-time staff at that point and it was important to have a little more space for growth. One of our video editors and videographers had been editing in a dark, cold hallway, so it was definitely time to fix that. We had a few other requirements as well: good parking; room for all of our camera gear; and a location not too far from the city.
Finding somewhere else in South Yarra or surrounds that wasn’t a shoebox, with adequate parking or that wasn’t a squillion dollars a month to rent proved difficult. Our wish list also included production space to shoot videos in, and perhaps a cyc wall or a small studio, so we needed somewhere big enough for that.
The move to Burwood
Following a lot of looking, we ended up in Burwood, around 20-25 minutes from the city and around the corner from Videocraft, a production sales and rental company. My thinking was that, if people were willing to go there to get their equipment, they would be happy to come to us in pretty much the same location.
Our new space covered a little under 300 square metres, a big step-up from the 60 we had previously shared, and it had office space and a large factory floor-type area. Five parking spaces and great internet were already there.
As I said, a cyclorama, or ‘cyc’ wall, was on our wish list. We obtained permission for that, and while planning was underway, a massive rainstorm came through and we could barely hear ourselves think, a long way, you would agree, below the optimum for sound recording! It was time to build a video studio that was soundproof and perfect for corporate video production or even live streaming; a place where we could record good sound as well as good pictures. We were away from the road which was a great start so the only real external noise was from what would come through the roof.
A couple of months later we opened the studio. About 50 square metres in area, heavily insulated with acoustic foam and thick walls and a place in which our production team can now create video content with great sound. We even have a large window and control room area where clients and the video production team can sit to either facilitate a live stream or just watch what’s going on inside the space. We have a lighting grid in our high ceilings and use a bunch of Aputure Nova P300c’s to light the cyc.
In the two years since we built it, our soundproof studio has become quite busy. We have recorded webinars there as well as live streams for clients. We have shot music videos for artists in the US like Sub Urban and also for local musicians. We’ve even rented it out to other video production companies who have created their own great video content.
We have thrown up green screens for news-style broadcasts, podcasts have been recorded in there and photographers have taken advantage of the three-sided cyc. Basically, we love it and our clients do as well. One client described it as ‘Goldilocks’ size: not too big; not too small; just right for a wide range of tasks. The space also allows us to experiment and try new things, even to make mistakes and get better at what we do. If we only used it for that, it would be worth it.
JPC 3.0 … the now and the future
It’s 2023, so what’s the current setup?
Right now, some final touches are being made to the new control room, a space that will also be available as a grading suite and large edit suite. We will also have a smaller edit suite away from the main office space — a quieter place to work and create that’s not in the cold hallway.
And people? We are soon going to be five full-time and two part-time, and we continue to grow. Somehow in the last couple of years — despite plenty of challenges — we managed to build a high-quality, accessible video production studio in Melbourne and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
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