The Studio Behind the Shoot

By Jacqui Palumbo

Christian Anwander photographed electronic duo Daft Punk in Tower 2 on the Siren Studios campus for the May Issue of GQ.

The Studio: Siren Studios
Hollywood, CA

The Shoot: CoverGirl Still + Motion Campaign
Client: Proctor & Gamble
Agency: Grey Advertising
Executive Creative Director: Alice Ericsson
SVP Art Director: Michael Bengtsson
Production: ADC Digital

Agency: Grey Advertising / Client: Proctor & Gamble

Since launching in 2006, Siren Studios has evolved from a full-service photography studio to a creative campus for entertainment production, spanning four acres on Sunset Boulevard. With the slogan “Old Hollywood values, new Hollywood edge,” Siren has become an epicenter for all things media. Its campus includes eight studios, two rooftops, a digital center and a special events division that provided services for 57 charity and brand events in 2012 alone. Siren Digital sent four films to Sundance this year, and hosted events on Main Street to celebrate independent filmmakers. Expansion into large-scale feature film, television and events has created a new wave of business for Siren, and the opportunity to elevate its brand into a community.

Partner and Vice President of Branding Chris Panizzon is thrilled at the rate that Siren has grown. “There is an electricity in the air.” he says. “The media industries are converging, and Siren is positioned at the nexus.”

It was this kind of innovative atmosphere that Grey Advertising sought out for the latest CoverGirl campaign featuring the twin sisters DJ-duo Nervo. Siren hosted the shoot, which was produced by ADC Digital. The studio was turned into a club for the day, setting up Nervo behind a DJ booth with a backdrop of records and LED lights. The campaign was shot on the RED Epic, and high-quality images were pulled directly from the footage for a seamless hybrid still and motion experience. ADC Manager Vick Vats says, “Working with Siren was a pleasure. Their facility worked out perfectly for our project.” 

© Siren Studios
Siren Studios’ prime location on Sunset Boulevard allows for 360-degree views of Hollywood from its two rooftop studios.

Siren was also host to one of the original electronic duos, Daft Punk, who appeared in the May issue of GQ. New York-based photographer Christian Anwander flew out to photograph the French musicians for promotion of their highly anticipated album, Random Access Memories.

2013 has been Siren’s biggest year to date, and Panizzon and Partner and VP of Sales Jay Ilardo have found new ways to provide solutions to every aspect of the life cycle of transmedia productions. They have taken on projects that integrate live broadcast, audience, motion picture, post-production and VFX, and they are in the process of building a state-of-the-art, 13,000-square-foot sound stage that will be named the Siren Cube. To keep their projects fueled, Siren partnered with Coffee Commissary to open a new craft coffee bar on site.

“Our mission is to contribute to this exciting culture of Los Angeles,” Panizzon says. “We want our clients to be inspired by our campus and offerings, to grow with us, and to take on exciting transmedia projects that change the way people look at the world.”

The Studio: Neo Studios
New York, NY

Client: CIROC Vodka
Photographer: Timothy Hogan
Creative: Colangelo 
Creative Director: Ryan Murphy
Director of Production Services: Holly Hansen

© Timothy Hogan

When asked about his experience working with Neo Studios, Santa Monica-based advertising and product photographer Timothy Hogan said that the staff was accommodating to all his needs, “Even when my needs are crazy!” Hogan has photographed at Neo only twice, most recently flying out to shoot the latest advertising campaign for CIROC vodka, but his pleasant experience within Neo’s walls has landed it among his top favorite workplaces.

Neo has become well-known for its attentive service, hosting shoots for clients Alexander Wang, Kate Spade, L’Oreal, Tequila Cuervo, Sugar in the Raw, and magazines including Martha Stewart, Elle and Vogue all within the past few months. Neo’s motto, “photographer comes first,” is critical to every aspect of their business, from flexible production schedules to fulfilling unique requests. During a shoot for V Magazine with Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke from HBO’s Girls, photographer Philippe Vogelenzang requested a key light that Neo did not carry. Within 20 minutes the staff had located and purchased the requested light, adding it to their in-house rentals for future use.

Once the personal studios of a former still-life photographer, Neo was founded with an intimate feel. The two main studio spaces, which are 2,500-square feet each with 14-foot ceilings, were carefully designed with oversized windows and large cycloramas, and each has its own full kitchen, client lounge, production desk and makeup station. The layout was recently modified to include two new food and still-life studio options as well. The available equipment is best in class for fashion and portrait photographers, but is also tailored with still-life photographers in mind, with items such as heavy duty FOBA stands on hand.

© Neo Studios
A FOBA stand sits in front of Suite 401’s top cove cyclorama, across from one of two full kitchens, each with food preparation tools readily available.

Neo is now run by ten staff members, and Studio Director Jonny Florez is proud of their ability to maintain the atmosphere of a private loft studio with the capabilities of a much larger space. “We take a multidisciplinary approach to resolve any technical and logistical concern,” he says. “We are photographers, retouchers, editors, producers, art directors, graphic designers and even a professional inline skater.”

Fashion, advertising, food and still-life photographers seek out the setting for its versatility and ease. During the CIROC shoot, Hogan set up shop right in the main entryway. “It acted as a background for our prop and set stylists to work with, and was key to the look and feel of the final image,” he comments. “The space is inspiring for me to work in.”

The Studio: Industria Superstudio
New York, NY

Client: Colon Cancer Alliance
Photographer: Nigel Parry
Agency: CK&D 
Talent: Terrence Howard

© Colon Cancer Alliance / Photo by Nigel Parry / CPi

Portrait and celebrity photographer Nigel Parry has been shooting at Industria Superstudio for two decades since its opening in 1991 by Italian photographer Fabrizio Ferri. His long-standing relationship with the studio was built upon Industria’s personal and customized service, which has simplified Parry’s workflow while on set. “Nothing is too hard, too soon, too big or too far for the staff,” he says.

It was Ferri who realized the potential of the space, located in the once-gritty neighborhood joining the West Village and Meatpacking district, and made Industria the first full-service facility in New York City open to photographers for daily studio rentals. Positioned close to the Highline and Hudson River Park, Industria is situated in what is now one of the most sought-after locations in Manhattan. The building houses seven studios, ranging from 1,500 to 4,500 square feet, with five studios containing state-of-the-art cycloramas and two studios with light trusses installed for customized lighting, as well as an extensive collection of rental equipment. 

© Andrew Frasz 
Studio 3 at Industria features a 13-foot-high full-corner cove with a compound curve, a 9-foot, 11-inch by 14-foot skylight, and an overhead grid for customized lighting. 

In addition to studio services, Industria hosts an eclectic array of events for product launches, showrooms, art exhibitions and galas for nonprofit organizations. Recent event clients include Uniqlo, Maserati, Chloé, Joseph Altuzarra and Nike. “The atmosphere at Industria is, dare I say, industrious,” Parry quips, and notes that its in-studio restaurant, Barbuto, is the perfect place to wind down, away from the bustle of the studio powerhouse.

Recent shoots have included Sarah Jessica Parker for Net-a-Porter, the female cast of Saturday Night Live for Glamour magazine, the Resort 2014 collection of Diesel Black Gold, and Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage for Playboy. Gavin Bond, who photographed the Emmy-winning actor, set up the sultry shoot for the men’s magazine in Studio 10 in the building. Bond says, “I like this studio for many reasons. It’s private and has a good balance of great textured walls with character along with wonderful daylight.”

© Gavin Bond
Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage channels his inner Tyrion Lannister for Playboy.

Industria has welcomed nonprofit projects along with their typical fashion and editorial client base, and was the setting for Parry’s work for Colon Cancer Alliance. Parry worked with CK&D on the still and motion shoot, featuring Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard. The campaign, titled “Sons and Mothers,” features high-profile celebrities and public figures whose mothers have been afflicted by the disease to raise awareness of the risks for women. The print campaign launched in March of this year and is featured in leading newspapers and magazines nationwide. 

Bookings Manager Stephanie Wilson says, above all, “We want our clients to feel at home in a welcoming environment, while giving them all the privacy they deserve.” Industria is pleased to have cultivated deep-rooted relationships with acclaimed photographers such as Parry, and looks forward to embracing more in shoots to come.



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



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