RD Studios. Film facilities to tell incredible stories
RD Content is the origin of these newly created London studios. RD Content was founded in 2009 by Ryan Dean, the company’s director, the same one who has given the green light to the initiative to create RD Studios. Located in the Park Royal area of London, an area of the metropolis heavily focused on the film industry, the facility offers the first-hand knowledge of a company that has spent more than ten years creating content and is now capable of creating film, photography, websites, virtual reality and augmented reality features. And it also has the know-how of those who understand the need for dedication required to tell great stories.
What is the origin of RD Content?
RD Content was founded by myself in 2009. I founded the business in a bedroom. In 2012 I hired our first permanent member of staff and by 2021 we had over 100 permanent employees, based in four offices around the world.
At the beginning, it was setup at a time when brands were beginning to use social platforms and channels for video content. We saw a gap in the market to take the best bits of a production company and advertising agency and bring them together.
It has been a slow and steady process building the business. It has all been built on doing great work and keeping our guiding principle at the forefront of everything we do: telling great stories.
We have long standing contracts with some of the biggest clients globally and now produce films, photography, websites, virtual reality and augmented reality campaigns.
Why would an advertising creation company set up a space for filming content such as RD Studios?
We are a vertically integrated creative production agency. That means we come up with campaigns for clients, have producers, directors, writers, DOPs, editors, animators and many others all on the payroll. We own post-production facilities in central London and also own millions of pounds worth of cameras, lenses and lights.
A natural next step for our business was asking ourselves, what would we do if we took on the construction of film facilities? How could we make a facility that was the best for telling incredible stories?
Part of our inspiration was the challenge RD Content faced in finding great quality places to produce our content. So many of the studio facilities were either completely booked up, or didn’t quite offer the type of environment we wanted.
We spent a number of years building our own construction company whilst also working with the property sector to find the perfect location. I’m pleased to say the result of that is RD Studios.
What are the reasons RD Studios is where it is?
We believe that West London, and in particular Park Royal, is the best possible location for studies of this type. It is very close to central London, less than half an hour from Soho. It is also very close to Heathrow and other major transport routes. I believe that the surrounding area is home to the highest concentration of film-related companies in the whole of Europe. The major camera, lighting and prop companies are located within minutes of the studio. It is also very close to other major studios such as Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton. We think this is fantastic. When productions there need to find a location closer to central London, we hope to be the person they turn to.
We are also very close to some of the biggest and best creative colleges in the UK. We are in discussions with several of these schools about how we can partner with them and facilitate new opportunities for young talent.
Most importantly of all, it is very convenient for the film crew, many of whom are based not only in the South East of England, but also close to West London.
How have you managed to make your studios a green option for production?
We chose the building we are in for its green credentials. In 2020 it was refurbished by Segro and has now become an award-winning building for design work on its green credentials. For example, we have a lot of solar power thanks to the large number of panels on the roof. The building also has rainwater harvesting systems to supply water to the toilet systems. The parking area has been fitted out to allow electric charging of vehicles and there is ample space for bicycles to encourage people to cycle to the studio.
In managing the studios we will continue with this idea of being eco-friendly. The studios will be supplied with renewable energy and we are taking steps to ensure that the way we deal with waste is good for the environment. We are particularly concerned about how to ensure that waste from the set (including props) is recycled, and we will be revealing more details about this in the coming months, which is very exciting.
Why is there such a growing need for the construction of recording studios for film, television and other media in the UK?
Over the past twenty years I believe there has been a growing momentum for the creative industries in the UK. As a country, the UK punches well above its weight in almost every creative field, music, film, fashion, gaming, advertising and so on.
Britain has become a beacon for international creative talent. We’ve been fortunate enough to hire outstanding people over the years from all corners of the world, and I struggle to think of other countries who can call on that rich diversity of creative thinking. It’s my belief that this rich melting pot of ideas is what drives the creative industry.
Naturally, the demand to create more content here has followed. I think the most visible driver is the world’s biggest streaming companies moving their productions to the UK from other countries. More and more are setting up shop in the UK. They want access to the best talent, world-class facilities and the latest technology. All of which the UK provides!
Could you give us a detailed description of the basic infrastructure of your recording studio?
RD Studios is composed of five sound stages. All of them are equipped with fully automated trusses. Studio 1 is composed of nine of them. This studio has a surface area of around 8500 square feet, second only to studio 3 which has a surface area of around 9250 square feet; and a height of 7700 millimetres, a common ceiling height shared by all the studios. This location has a specific area for resting, make-up and hairdressing and for the toilet in the sound stage itself. The energy capacity of the studio 1 is up to 400 amps.
Studio 4, taking into account some of the extra capabilities offered by our studios, includes a green screen inside the studio with a floor to ceiling size.
But in summary, we have five stages that are all soundproofed to NR25. We have ample production space, as well as a large lot for parking, or for the art department as we have planned for some productions.
What makes your RD Studios special, and how does your technical infrastructure differentiate you from other studios dedicated to content creation?
The spaces are designed to be flexible. While the immediate assumption may be that they will accommodate feature films or high-end television, we have designed the studios so they can be used for TV (shiny floor shows) as well as, of course, for commercial content.
They are sound-proofed. Even better, they are in an area that allows the teams to work at any time that suits their production (as there are no residential areas nearby). This is despite the fact that they are in London’s Zone 3 and very close to Soho and other central city locations.
We supply a very well stocked studio facility as standard; it is very rare for a facility to include these things as part of their base package: Large acoustic curtains fitted in all studios; fully automated mechanical trusses with 1-ton hoists allowing installation of up to 18 tons in the ceiling; all studios have bathrooms and showers, as well as production space, kitchen and hair and make-up facilities; and the studios will also be incredibly connected, offering 10 GB fibre connectivity and gallery spaces, lighting desks and edit suites to be installed in them. Through IP connectivity, all studios will be connected to our main server room and this feature will give them 10 GB downstream and upstream.
Which brands have you relied on?
Regarding brands we trust, Arri would be a good one to mention. We use their cameras and their lights a lot.
What technological tools and solutions have you relied on in your studios’ post-production facilities?
We utilise a mixture of tools as we offer an end to end post production service across our facilities in London and New York. They include: Full Adobe Suite, Da Vinci Resolve, Pro Tools, Logic, Unreal, Cinema 4D, Maya and many more.
The studios have different sets equipped with galleries for live production. What technology have you trusted on?
We have a number of partners to support with everything from live TV through to OB trucks. However, these contracts are not finalised with our dedicated supplier and so we can’t state specifically which product will be in position when we launch.
Do you have plans to implement virtual production tools? What are your technology plans for the future?
We intend to open a permanent virtual production stage in 2023 and currently have partners for temporary installation of virtual production stages. Interestingly, we have received a lot of comments and requests about setting up stages much earlier than we expected. We are already planning our next near-term development and will, absolutely, think about how to ensure that there is adequate coverage at all sites to support virtual production
However, one area we are incredibly excited about is our plans for VR and AR. We believe that studios are potential environments to develop and produce incredible experiences in this field. I believe that, in the next ten years, this will become a much more important part of our studio offerings than it is today.r