Unleash your imagination... And save time, money and the planet by doing it!

Virtual Set is trending and it’s no surprise.
Virtual Set is an invaluable production tool offering camera tracking, keying and live compositing of computer-generated environments with live action green screen contents for a fraction of the time, cost, and environmental impact of “practical” sets. We put together this quick guide to help inspire and educate everyone who might be interested in exploring this useful and simple-to-use technology. So without further ado...

Here’s a five-part breakdown of what happens when you take advantage of Cobalt's Virtual Production capabilities on a project:

Phase 1: Unleash your imagination.
Practical set building usually limits creativity because your budget and real-life parameters dictate what can and can’t be done. On the contrary, with Virtual Sets you can shoot a scene in any environment you can imagine. Recently, a client came to us with a challenge… They needed to shoot an actor in a massive, spotlessly-clean warehouse, and as we all know, “pristine warehouse” is an oxymoron!

Very few productions have the budget to build such an impractical set. With Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot, the challenge was easily met. This impractical, nonexistent space could be created virtually—for less money than feeding your crew bagels on location. Even better, instead of lighting an entire 300-foot deep, 100-foot tall warehouse, they only had to light the live action talent—a major time saver. With Virtual Sets, you’re finally free to create without limits. If you can dream it, you can have it.

Phase 2: Design your environment.
Now that Virtual Set technology is ubiquitous in Hollywood and popular worldwide, AND with the impact of Unreal Engine 5, there’s no shortage of great 3D artists who can create or customize environments for any concept you can dream. Unbound by traditional budgetary or logistical concerns, we will point you towards a range of trusted CGI providers who can create beautiful and efficient 3D solutions for you.

Phase 3: Combine your “practical” set elements into your CG.
Say you plan to shoot in a virtual log cabin where people are sitting around a table. While the whole “world” of your production can be CG, you’ll want the table and chairs to be “practical” set pieces, so your cast is sitting on real chairs—at a real table. It’s always a good idea, whenever possible, to have your talent connect with live props. Also, grounding your actors to a practical floor saves time with matte cleanups and shadow restoration. Now, you’re ready to roll!

Phase 4: Shoot in your Virtual Set.
Like a practical set, you and your cast can walk through your 3D world and see your composite IN REAL TIME. With real-time compositing, actors, directors, and DPs experience the seamless merge of both worlds. This is such an extraordinary time-saver! It’s also one of many ways that Virtual Sets can make your life easier and more productive. Instead of struggling to try to fit your story into a budget challenged 2-wall set, why not have an entire villa/ castle/ Mars/ or the Moon??… to tell your story?

Phase 5: and Walk away Happy!
Our new V Set capability enables you to actually finish your project (FINAL PIXEL) right then and there, or take the elements into post and do a more traditional finish. Either way you’re benefitting from amazing production value without breaking the bank.

For all you techies…. we’re talking Unreal engine power (UE5), THE state-of-the-art graphics engine, the ability to shoot either against a traditional green scene, or within an LED volume, a 4k finish, (with camera raw files in 6k and Leica Summicron optics), Ultimatte keyer, live switcher (in multi camera applications), and “Beam-In” capability (to include a remote feed as part of the final scene). And for hyper techies…Ray Tracing (for hyper realistic reflections), Occlusion Handling (enabling live action to be nested within a Virtual Environment), Soft Shadows, Depth of Field, and Reflection Mapping.

 

Set yourself free!
Let’s talk


Virtual Production: A New Era of Filmmaking

Virtual Production:
A New Era of Filmmaking

If you haven’t heard about Virtual…
there’s a lot to catch up on.

Let's Talk.

The Mandalorian’s interplanetary odyssey, shot on a soundstage using Virtual Set technology.

Virtual Set is the Next Normal

Virtual Set is the Next Normal.

Productions like The Mandalorian are changing the game for how episodics are being created.

The Mandalorian’s interplanetary odyssey is shot on a soundstage using Virtual Set technology.

We can all see that digital transformation isn’t slowing down. To ensure that our Industry keeps pace, everyone needs to make friends with modern digital tools like Virtual Sets. Fortunately, for the East Coast, Cobalt’s got it.

 

Digital Transformation for productions.
Think of the transition from film to video—we couldn’t imagine handy cams taking over, but here we are. We’re great believers in the tried-and-true, BUT there does come a time when NOT innovating becomes the bigger risk than sticking with what you know…

 

Science in the Service of Art.
With location travel largely off-limits, productions are seeing the silver lining: with our incredible virtual technology, your production can take place anywhere in the universe—past, present, or future. Virtual Sets practically eliminate set costs; they’re environmentally-friendly; and they’ve been around since 1994. So, for early adopters like us, they’re already tried and true. Virtual Sets are already “normal” for audiences. From “Black Panther” to “The Mandalorian”, anywhere you’re seeing imaginative, incredible backgrounds, you’re seeing Virtual Sets in action. And the fact that you haven’t actually “seen” them PROVES how seamless and photorealistic they are. Virtual Set is everywhere, and you don’t even realize it… That’s the whole point 😉

 

Experience practical, creative solutions.
We’ve been the 1st to offer Virtual Production to the film community on the East Coast. While most experts in the field hold their technical expertise close to the vest, we share it openly. Let us show you what’s possible, and answer all your questions. Invest an hour of your time; get up to speed; and walk away with a whole new production toolkit in your repertoire.

 


Unleash your imagination

Unleash your imagination…

And save time, money and the planet
by doing it!

Virtual Set is trending and it’s no surprise.
Virtual Set is an invaluable production tool offering camera tracking, keying and live compositing of computer-generated environments with live action green screen contents for a fraction of the time, cost, and environmental impact of “practical” sets. We put together this quick guide to help inspire and educate everyone who might be interested in exploring this useful and simple-to-use technology. So without further ado…

Here’s a five-part breakdown of what happens when you take advantage of Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot on a project:

Phase 1: Unleash your imagination
Practical set building usually limits creativity because your budget and real-life parameters dictate what can and can’t be done. On the contrary, with Virtual Sets you can shoot a scene in any environment you can imagine. Recently, a client came to us with a challenge… They needed to shoot an actor in a massive, spotlessly-clean warehouse, and as we all know, “pristine warehouse” is an oxymoron!

Very few productions have the budget to build such an impractical set. With Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot, the challenge was easily met. This impractical, nonexistent space could be created virtually—for less money than feeding your crew bagels on location. Even better, instead of lighting an entire 300-foot deep, 100-foot tall warehouse, they only had to light the live action talent—a major time saver. With Virtual Sets, you’re finally free to create without limits. If you can dream it, you can have it.

Phase 2: Design your environment.
Now that Virtual Set technology is ubiquitous in Hollywood and popular worldwide, there’s no shortage of great 3D artists who can create or customize environments for any concept you can dream. Unbound by traditional budgetary or logistical concerns, we will point you towards a range of trusted CGI providers who can create beautiful and efficient 3D solutions for you.

Phase 3: Combine your “practical” set elements into your CG.
Say you plan to shoot in a virtual log cabin where people are sitting around a table. While the whole “world” of your production can be CG, you’ll want the table and chairs to be “practical” set pieces, so your cast is sitting on real chairs—at a real table. It’s always a good idea, whenever possible, to have your talent connect with live props. Also, grounding your actors to a practical floor saves time with matte cleanups and shadow restoration. Now, you’re ready to roll!

Phase 4: Shoot in your Virtual Set.
Like a practical set, you and your cast can walk through your 3D world and see your composite IN REAL TIME. With real-time compositing, actors, directors, and DPs experience the seamless merge of both worlds. This is such an extraordinary time-saver! It’s also one of many ways that Virtual Sets can make your life easier and more productive. Instead of struggling to try

to fit your story into a budget challenged 2-wall set, why not have an entire villa/ castle/ Mars/ or the Moon??… to tell your story?

Phase 5: and Walk away Happy!

Our new V Set capability enables you to actually finish your project right then and there, or take the elements into post and do a more traditional finish. Either way you’re benefitting from amazing production value without breaking the bank.
For all you techies…. we’re talking Unreal engine power (UE4), THE state-of-the-art graphics engine, the ability to shoot either against a traditional green scene, or within an LED volume, a 4k finish, (with camera raw files in 6k and Leica Summicron optics), Ultimatte keyer, live switcher (in multi camera applications), and “Beam-In” capability (to include a remote feed as part of the final scene). And for hyper techies…Ray Tracing (for hyper realistic reflections), Occlusion Handling (enabling live action to be nested within a Virtual Environment), Soft Shadows, Depth of Field, and Reflection Mapping.

Set yourself free!!

Let’s talk about elevating your next project with Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot.

 

 

 


TURNKEY PRODUCTION FACILITY

12,000 SF Facility
7,000 SF Soundstage
Production Office Suite with Complete View of Soundstage
52′ X 95′ X 22′ – 20′ High 3 Wall Cyc
19′ Clearspan
1500 Amps of Dedicated Power
Dedicated Stage Manager
On-Set / Plug & Play Video Village
Live Video Streaming Capability
Drive-On Soundstage, Street Level Load-In
Cement Floor

FULL IN-HOUSE EQUIPMENT INVENTORY

Extensive Tungsten Lighting Package
Complete Grip Inventory
Fisher 10 Dolly & Track Package
On-Site Scissor Lift
State-of-the-Art Motion Control Rigs including Turntables and Large & Small Sliders
On-Set HD Video Playback Package
Live Video Streaming Capability
Virtual Set / Camera tracking
Epic 6K Dragon / Leica Summicron Lens Package

SUPPORT SPACES & AMENITIES

Commercial Food Prep Kitchen
Live HD feed in Client Room
Conference Rooms
Wardrobe and Makeup Areas
Facility wide Wi-Fi, plus super high speed hardwired lines at every desk
Networked Workhorse color laser printers
Tables and chairs, wardrobe steamers, racks and hangers, and walkies
Comprehensive Woodworking Shop


COLUMN FREE COBALT Level Up Your Production in 2022

COLUMN FREE COBALT
Level Up Your Production in 2022

We Leveled Up – Now It’s Your Turn

1. WE ARE COLUMN FREE
That’s right. 7,000 glorious sq feet of completely unobstructed Freedom to CREATE. Our gift to ourselves and our clients for 2022. A massive 3 wall cyc, high ceilings, clear span, tons of power, in-house gear, virtual set, motion control, 2 kitchens and NO COLUMN.
Think unbounded Freedom and Flexibility.

2. Reimagine Your Soundstage
You CAN expect more from a soundstage! In a world of empty warehouse-type spaces, we strive to offer more—comprehensive tools, thoughtful amenities, a supportive team, and lots of room to spread out for Safe Shoots.

3. Lead the Way in Safe Shoots
We’re set apart from other stages so that you can have us all to yourself! Our uncrowded environment, our private spaces, our advanced Safe Shoot protocols, and our New Jersey location means you can focus on creating great work.

4. Get it all Onsite
Cobalt’s inventory of in-house production tools is curated and updated by seasoned professionals. We offer lighting, rigging, high-end lenses, precision robotics, world-class Livestreaming, Virtual Sets, and more!

5. Experience Turnkey
Why spend your budget on lights, rigging tools, and folding chairs when you can get everything you need, and more, right along with your stage? Cobalt saves you time and money by offering more of your production needs, a table d’hôte (the opposite of a la carte).

6. Get Comfortable

Over the past year, we’ve made our generous breakout spaces even more welcoming and convenient! Our versatile client and production rooms are ideal for undisturbed work, private meetings, social distancing, and more.

7. Make Magic With Us
Arthur Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” We have the tools and technology to make the magic, and we have the technical experts on hand to help you make the most of it.

8. Go Clean and Green
We’re committed to considering our impact on the environment. We do our part by investing in sustainable technologies like Virtual Sets, making our own green cleaning products, and clearing the air with an Ozone machines between shoots.

9. Support Woman-Owned
It’s rare to find a woman-owned soundstage, but we’re paving the way! Please join us in advancing gender equality in the Industry by supporting even more women-owned and led businesses and projects in 2022.

10. Shoot, Stay, & Work Here
The Hoboken House is the perfect place to park your production! Our chic, sun-drenched 2000 square foot Carriage House has three bedrooms and three full bathrooms—and it’s three blocks from our soundstage.

11. Take Advantage of Virtual Sets
With the East Coast’s first Virtual Set offering, you can set scenes in any location you can imagine with all the control of a soundstage. PLUS using our Virtual Backlot reduces waste and the cost of crew hours. A win for your budget and the planet!

12. Enjoy Stress-Free Livestreaming
Our facility is hardwired with reliable 850 MB per second bandwidth! Collaborate with people anywhere, and reduce the number of people on set with our world-class Livestreaming setup AND our helpful experts.

13. Work With Production Advisors
We’re a by-producers, for-producers soundstage specializing in cutting-edge technology. Call us anytime for innovative and practical solutions to save your production time, money, and stress. We take the time to listen!

14. Make Friends With Robots
Cobalt’s Alex Fernbach is credited with inventing the first array camera used in the “Bullet Time” scene for “The Matrix.” These days, our tech guru and Moco Master, Alex, helps productions reduce crew sizes with Remote Camerawork and creative solutions!

15. Head West (of the Hudson, that is 😉
Here at “Hollywood on the Hudson,” we’re open and safe! Located just 15 minutes West of Midtown, Hoboken’s laid-back college town vibe is perfect for taking a breather from big city crowds and traffic.

16. Save Money in NJ
New Jersey’s Film & TV Tax Credit includes up to 35% percent of ABOVE AND BELOW the line on qualified expenses for productions in New Jersey while New York’s tax credit pertains to only below the line expenses.

17. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
At Cobalt, random last-minute needs won’t put your production on pause. Our inventory of “emergency expendables” is legendary. We even improvised a robotic “laser beam” on the spot for Jerry Seinfeld’s Netflix special!

18. Spread Out & Stay Connected
Superior connectivity makes it effortless for you to multitask and monitor the production. At Cobalt, a live HD feed broadcasts from our soundstage to the client room, conference rooms, commercial prep kitchen, wardrobe, and makeup areas.

19. Get Creative
No two productions are the same, so our spaces are built to be ultra-flexible. We’re hosting Livestream, after complex Livestream, with productions making creative use of our two locations and copious breakout spaces!

20. Trust us for Tabletop
Produce and distribute content at the speed of change! Our highly-controlled Tabletop setup is second to none for cinematography and photography, and our Home Ec kitchen is fully-equipped and easy-to-reconfigure.

21. Use More, Pay Less
At some soundstages, your itemized bill looks like you went on a Whole Foods bender. We deliver the best value by offering generous free amenities and a comprehensive inventory of onsite production tools.

22. Make Us Your Secret Weapon
At Cobalt, we’re as passionate about production excellence as you are! We invite you to leverage our expertise and equipment, just like an extension of your team. We’d love to hear about your next production, and how we can help.

Ready to Level Up?

It’s 2022. It’s time. Let’s talk.

 

 


We are closer to Midtown than Brooklyn.

If you haven’t shot in NJ lately,
there’s a lot to catch up on.

Let’s talk.


May All Your Dreams Come True

“May All Your Dreams Come True”

Who says cutting edge in-camera effects can’t be magical ✨

 


We are closer to Midtown than Brooklyn.

If you haven’t shot in NJ lately,
there’s a lot to catch up on.

Let’s talk.


We have so much to share

We have so much to share

Check out what’s in our bag!

 

We’re Santa’s helpers yo
Productions depend on a lot of random and arcane things and being here for 25 years, we have quite the collection! When our clients come to us for a random item like a red necktie or a gallon of black paint, they think we’re Santa Claus when we pull it out of a closet like a rabbit from a hat.

The Cobalt Nice List
Since we’re all about sharing, here’s an actual list of last-minute requests our little elves were able to provide this year, saving our clients countless last-minute scavenger hunts:

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Our Soundstage Gave to Thee:
One red necktie
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner (for diamond commercial)
Degassing vacuum pump (to take bubbles out of a thick liquid)
A pallet jack
A selection of white ramekins
A low coffee table
Some black paint (always comes in handy)
Cyc booties
A pottery wheel (to use as a quick manual turntable)
Strings of Christmas lights
Some press type
Fake ice cubes
A large green screen
Cardboard boxes and bubble wrap
Some heat gel
A large 3 ring binder
Some kraft paper
SD memory cards
Washer and dryer (gotta keep it clean)
Industrial hanging lamps
Clear Plexiglass
8” water column of gas pressure (for an industrial oven)
A Dremel tool
Clear plastic binder sleeves
Removable tracking markers
A set of diopter filters
A paint roller sleeve
Shipping labels (to the North Pole)
Some green fabric
A 3ft round table top
Several heat guns
A small dry ice fogger (Thriller time yeah)
Push pins
Binder clips
Staples
Reams of paper
Repositionable glue sticks
Post-Its
A hole saw
Candelabra light bulbs
And a rii iii iii gggg to ooo steeeam foooood!

 

Schedule a tour today and we’ll show you how we deck the halls!! Then, you can focus on what really matters—the work!


Cobalt on the Road 2021

Cobalt on the Road 2021

Making Magic, Coast to Coast.

Yup, we’re more than just a soundstage! We’ve deployed our expertise in all sorts of environments, Coast to Coast. Read on for a few examples of Creators making magic with Cobalt on the Road.

Chris Rock x Cobalt on the Road
When Chris Rock’s team calls with a production emergency, you don’t let it go to voicemail! We recently pulled off a near-miraculous TV gig in Chicago supporting Chris Rock’s comedy special with just 48 hours’ notice! Challenged with coordinating equipment and talent in three time zones, we devised a custom rig to fit in an extremely tight space. As true team effort, one of Cobalt’s Stage Managers even drove the rig overnight to Chicago, so our client wouldn’t miss a beat. Success!!

Albert Einstein, Live and on Location
PBS’s “Light Falls: Space, Time and an Obsession of Albert Einstein” brought Einstein’s work to life through a groundbreaking multimedia stage performance. The show’s narrator and actors performed live between two scrims, each with its own perfectly-synchronized projection, which we combined to create a dimensional live hologram effect. The whole performance was captured with seven cameras to produce 60 visually-stunning shots. To match the projections precisely with the performers and audio, we used Time Code Triggering to sync devices to great effect!

Back to School in Syracuse – recent Feature Film work
Team Cobalt packed up and headed Upstate just the other day! The project, a girl-powered coming of age story, was being shot on location in a decommissioned school in Syracuse, NY. Our challenging effect showed the scene’s protagonist interacting with classmates in a crowded high school hallway while everyone, except the lead, moving in reverse. Shooting the actor and different groups of extras, in separate passes required complex choreography. In the scene, she bumped into some extras while others passed in front and behind her. The star moving forward and extras moving in reverse gave us a lot to keep track of!

We’re here to provide world-class service and support in the studio and on location.

Let’s talk.

 


Hoboken is closer to Midtown than Brooklyn.

If you haven’t shot in NJ lately,
there’s a lot to catch up on.

Let’s talk.


Meet Our Founders

Meet Our Founders

Get to know the people behind the soundstage.

Kara Vedder, Owner and President
As Cobalt’s leader, Kara has been the ‘business’ architect behind Cobalt’s by-producers, for-producers ethos along with our holistic approach to hosting productions. With a career spent working in television, film, photography, and commercial production as producer and actor, Kara now strives to make a positive difference in the production community through Cobalt. A “happy rebel” in the Industry, Kara weaves together superior support, warm hospitality, and innovative technology to create an elevated soundstage experience. Kara’s degree in Health Sciences, as well as her passion for clean, holistic living, has been a driving force behind making Cobalt a green facility with our commitment to providing sustainable production solutions. With Cobalt’s alternative push, Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot offers viable eco-friendly and tech progressive solutions to wasteful, practical ones. The vision and energy she brings to Cobalt has placed the company as a cutting-edge industry front runner with what we call “Soundstage Reimagined”.

Alex Fernbach, Owner and EFX Supervisor
Alex is an acclaimed Director and Cinematographer who’s worked on TV commercials and interactive experiences for the world’s most iconic brands, as well as feature films, documentaries, shorts, and trailers. His work has been featured in at least 15 Super Bowl ads, and he’s often invited to speak at universities, film festivals and Industry events. Alex’s major contribution to cinematic history was his invention of the first Array Camera in the US. He sold this revolutionary technology to “The Matrix,” to create the film’s legendary ‘bullet time’ effect. Alex pours his encyclopedic knowledge, unparalleled creativity, and passion for problem-solving into his role as a dedicated advisor and hands-on helper for our clients.

A Powerful Partnership

Kara and Alex’s complementary skills and interests add up to a uniquely compelling blend of creativity and productivity, yin and yang. Leverage Cobalt’s cutting-edge technological expertise, in-depth Industry knowledge, and unparalleled comfort and convenience on your next production. We’re not just a soundstage… We’re a Soundstage Reimagined.

 


Happy Thanksgiving!

Three Cheers for Gratitude and Abundance!!!
We love all of you so much, and really wish Everyone- our family, our staff, our clients, collaborators, and the Tri-State filmmaking community – very, happy and full tummies this Beautiful Thanksgiving.

 


We are closer to Midtown than Brooklyn.

If you haven’t shot in NJ lately,
there’s a lot to catch up on.

Let’s talk.