Studios Spotlight – Sky Studios Elstree

Studios Spotlight – Sky Studios Elstree

The latest studio to come under the spotlight in our feature series is Sky Studios Elstree, a huge new facility with 12 sound stages, six acres of backlot and sustainability high on the agenda.

We spoke to MD Noel Tovey about how the studio came about, the high-profile feature that was the first to shoot there and the emphasis on sustainability and flexibility for the future.

Can you fill us in a little about how Sky Studios Elstree came about?

Back in 2019 Sky had the idea to create a film and TV studio that will become home to some of the biggest, boldest, global tv shows and films from Sky, NBCUniversal and many others from the UK creative sector. And with the support of our parent company, Comcast, we are now fully open and operating the UKs newest film and TV studio.

Sky Studios Elstree

It’s taken about three years to get the building fully complete. It’s been a mammoth effort alongside our developers Legal and General and sister company NBCUniversal. But what you’ll see when you come onto site is that we have left no stone unturned, every detail of the studio has been thought through with meticulous detail meaning that if you’re working here, life should be a little bit easier…

We’ve already welcomed our first two major film productions onto site as well as a number of smaller productions.

Can you outline the size and scale of the facility?

We have 12 stages starting at 10,000sq ft all the way up to 40,000sq ft. We also have over 250,000 sq ft of workshop space, five fully kitted-out production offices and six acres of backlot.

Sky Studios Elstree

However, the site really is built with flexibility in mind. If clients want to divide and sub-divide spaces, or even use them for different purposes, we can make anything work. We know that no production is the same and we’ve worked really hard to create a space that really can be anything you dream of.

Sky Studios Elstree

Tell us what it’s been like welcoming productions onto site?

The first production to film with us was the feature film adaptation of Wicked [to be delivered as two films], starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. It was an absolute whirlwind and a fantastic production to have as our very first client – I believe I am right in saying that it is the biggest feature film produced in the UK over the last decade. We were very proud to have them here with us and we’re excited to see the films when they come out.

What is Sky Studios Elstree’s strategy on sustainability?  

In 2020 Sky committed to becoming net zero carbon by 2030, two decades ahead of the UK government’s target. And that was front of mind when building Sky Studios Elstree. Sustainability has been built into the design and operation of the site from day one, with the ambition to becoming the most sustainable film and TV studio in the world.

The campus is powered by over 16,000 solar panels which are placed across every rooftop, any remaining energy needs are sourced from renewable supplier. We harvest rainwater, use sustainable LED lighting and electric vehicles plus all our operations are free from single-use plastic.

Sky Studios Elstree

What would you say is your studio’s standout facility? 

On top of sustainability, I think what really stands out about us as a studio is that we have been built with the client fully in mind.

The team is made up of experts in the industry and so we knew the pain points and pressures many productions face. We’ve considered simple things like making sure teams can get to office spaces directly from stages and making sure it’s easy to get to site with multiple parking spaces, a free shuttle bus from the station and being within easy reach of major airports.

But also, we’ve thought about the little things like having an excellent café on site and green spaces for people to relax and have lunch.

Sky Studios Elstree

What’s next?

We’re really excited for what’s next for us and we can’t wait to work with even more productions.
A key thing for us is to get as many people onto site as possible. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from everyone who has visited so far and if anyone wants to know more, they can just drop us an email or click here for more.

With many thanks to Noel Tovey, MD Sky Studios Elstree for his help in compiling this article. 

Images via Chris Lobina for Sky Studios Elstree. 

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