From empty boxes to record-ready studios

We worked in partnership with Elstree Studios (owned by Hertsmere Borough Council), to transform two of its film stages (stages 8 and 9) into fully equipped high-definition TV studios.

The sound stages were effectively empty boxes and had remained largely untouched since they were built in the 1960s. This unique co-investment opportunity allowed us to think about how we could offer the very best TV production facilities to the market.

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Wooden flooring being stripped out of Stage 9 by our team

Considerable work had to be undertaken to ensure the studios were fit for purpose. The wooden flooring was stripped out and replaced with laser-levelled resin to ensure TV cameras could track smoothly across the surface and new acoustically-treated wall cladding was installed. We constructed purpose-built HD production galleries and improved the facilities for production teams and talent by refurbishing all the dressing rooms, green rooms, production offices, make-up and wardrobe areas.

While film stages tend to light scenery from the floor upwards, TV studios typically light from above. Monopole hoist systems were therefore installed in the lighting grids of each of the stages to transform them into professional TV studios. This arrangement enables us to flex the lighting according to each production we facilitate and allows a fast turnaround between shows.

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Laser-levelled resin flooring in Stage 9

We also completed the build of a new HD gallery suite to serve the renowned George Lucas Stages to support large-scale TV productions.

At the same time as the Elstree Studios fit-out, we upgraded the Studio D facility (across the road at BBC Elstree Centre) to support entertainment shows and live event shows such as Children in Need and BBC News election broadcasting.

The upgrades at Elstree were an extremely complex project to deliver within an incredibly short timeframe of just a few months. Transforming the stages to make them work for television, and successfully attracting big shows previously produced elsewhere to a new studio proposition is a real testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the project team.

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Stage 9 following our refurbishments

Under this unique partnership, the George Lucas stage is now the largest gallery-served TV stage in the UK and has hosted many of the top UK entertainment shows including the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, ITV’s The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent and Sky’s A League of Their Own. Stages 8 and 9 continue to be successfully used for top TV shows such as the BBC’s Pointless, ITV’s The Chase, Celebrity Juice and Love Island: Aftersun. There is always a constant stream of shows in production.

To discuss your technical brief or production needs, or to find out more about our consulting offering, please get in touch here