Studios Spotlight – Behind the scenes at Centrestage Studios
The latest studio under the spotlight in our feature series is London’s Centrestage Studios. We talked to Saul Barrington about the site’s interesting history, the types of production it hosts, and its fabulous canteen…
Can you fill us in a little about the history/location of your studio?
We started 25 years ago in Euston, taking over a then well-known motion-control studio called Cell Animation.
Eight years later the whole street got flattened. Don’t like industrial estates so we found a former saw-mill in a great spot in Islington and spent the better part of 2007 converting it to studios.
Could you describe your key offerings?
We have two stages here and a canteen. The stages are both soundproofed with drive-in access, parking and a lot of broadband. A-Stage has a white cove and B-Stage has a dedicated greenscreen cove. Each stage comes with a production office, wardrobe and hair & make-up room.
Can you tell us about some of the recent productions you have hosted?
We don’t really chat about our clients’ activities too much, but we typically host shoots that are up to two weeks long and once in a while someone will want us for a month or so.
Typical visitors are doing broadcast idents, commercials, corporate films, gaming, live-streams and television. We have connections with various movie studios who find uses for us if, for instance, James Bond can’t bear the idea of schlepping out to Pinewood again for something, or if they need to re-shoot and their own stages are for whatever reason not wanted or available.
Have you noticed any changes in the last few years in terms of production activity?
We have seen new technologies, of which some pass, some endure and the volume of work that passes through is heading out to a wider variety of platforms, but I think that what goes on within our walls has remained essentially the same sort of thing – people are still building sets of all kinds, making food look nice, shooting fashion, product, monologues, drama, documentaries, special effects…
What would you say is your studio’s standout facility?
Great central location, masses of equipment on-site and well-appointed stages are lovely assets, but what everyone really seems to compliment here above all is the catering and the warm atmosphere.
The excellent food, lovely canteen [run by chef Michelle Kavanagh] and design of the place reflect our main underlying attribute, which is that we understand that what we are doing here is something in which we have a long-invested cumulative experience, that being the simple art of hospitality…”
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