On-Demand Office Space

Purpose-Built for Producers

Production Prep at Cobalt
Did you know you can rent Cobalt’s comfortable and convenient second-floor production suite as a standalone rental? Cobalt clients can set up shop a day or two ahead of a shoot, or make use of our producer-friendly office space as needed. Recently, a producer took advantage of the space by renting our makeup and wardrobe area for a fitting while using our fully equipped conference room for their pre-production meeting. Smart guy... We offer unmatched flexibility to meet the unique needs of each project.

Turnkey Productivity
Because we’re a 'by-producers for-producers' studio, we understand your needs better than most soundstages or office spaces. We know you need to get up and running fast, whether it’s onset or in pre-production. To help producers be more productive, we also offer a turnkey office experience you won’t find anywhere else with facility-wide Wi-Fi, high speed hardwired lines at every desk, and networked Workhorse color laser printers.

On-Demand Office Space
Cobalt doesn’t rely on expensive monthly subscriptions like WeWork. To serve your needs and save you money, we make our production suite available on-demand and independent of our soundstage. When our soundstage meets your needs, it’s easy to move downstairs after production prep. Like our second-floor production suite, Cobalt’s ground floor production office is purpose-built for producers with a crystal clear view of the stage while you shoot.

With decades of insights and expertise, we’ve reimagined production workspaces to help you focus on what matters most—your projects. For a producer-friendly alternative to generic office spaces, park your production prep at Cobalt

For more information or to schedule a tour, let’s talk.


November 2019 Newsletter

Seth Meyers’ Netflix Comedy Special

Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting Seth Meyers, execs from Netflix, about 15 crew members, and a group of children for two days here at Cobalt! Seth kept the atmosphere very light and playful with the kids, so it was a ton of fun to watch. They shot with three cameras to get all the close-ups and intercuts they needed—a smart strategy to avoid tiring out the kids. We were told that Seth gave his 'Cobalt experience' rave reviews, and recommended us to the higher-ups at Netflix. Sounds like it worked because they've already been back — and with John Mulaney!! Thank you, Netflix. See you on the next one :) :)

Harry Connick Jr. in the House

We were honored to host Harry Connick Jr., a consummate professional who arrived at 6am, ready to rehearse ahead of an 8am crew call. Alex served as DP on the production, where Harry dubbed him the “Matrix Man,”— a nod to Alex’s historic contribution to cinematography. Conceived and directed by Harry, “A Celebration of Cole Porter” is a current multimedia theatrical performance that presents Porter's most beloved songs in an unprecedented and unique way, highlighted by Harry’s signature style. Performances are scheduled to begin in December 2019. We love you, Harry. You are darn cool!

Hobo House Hosts Hughlett

We want to give a shout out to our valued repeat client, producer Chris Hughlett. Chris booked our Hoboken House location for a recent TV commercial shoot. Shot in Hobo House’s sun-drenched living room, the production took advantage of the kitchen for setting up Video Village. The 2000 square foot Carriage House also features a private patio garden, a secure breezeway, three bedrooms, and three full bathrooms—perfect for makeup, wardrobe, etc.

Our Talk with Steven Gorelick

Last week, we had a productive call with Steven Gorelick, Executive Director of New Jersey's Motion Picture and Television Commission. He's been instrumental in making NJ the friendliest home possible for Tri-State Area productions– a mission we're doing our best to accomplish as well! We're impressed that he's made himself available to talk with us, personally, and is happy to talk to you too! Steve’s accessible to discuss more about the NJ Film and TV Tax Credit, and how he can help you save 30 percent on ABOVE AND BELOW the line qualified production expenses. New York’s tax credit only pertains to below the line expenses... so it's a great time to work at "Hollywood on the Hudson" here in Hoboken!

Production Prep at Cobalt

#Didyouknow... you can prep your production here at Cobalt? Setting up your pre-production meetings in our sun-drenched second-floor suite is convenient and affordable. This week, a production took advantage of the space by renting our makeup and wardrobe area for a fitting while using our fully-equipped conference room for their pre-production meeting. While here, productions enjoy access to facility-wide Wi-Fi, high-speed hardwired lines at every desk, and networked Workhorse color laser printers. After production prep, it’s easy to roll your production team downstairs to shoot on Cobalt's badass stage. Producers then situate in our ground floor production suite with a commanding view of the shoot's action. If you’re looking for a comfortable alternative to WeWork, try Cobalt! 💕


Welcome to Production Paradise

Cobalt’s Private, Production-Ready House is Available for Filming

The Hoboken House
The Hoboken House, or "Hobo House", as we like to call it, is a 2000 square foot Carriage House equipped with three bedrooms and three full bathrooms, private garden, and modern, Euro-style chef’s kitchen. This ultra-flexible space lends itself to all kinds of production opportunities.

Bright, Spacious & Versatile
Created by producers, Hobo House strikes the ideal balance of fully-furnished comfort and uncluttered flexibility. Its elegant floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light. The house’s open floor plan and soaring ceilings enable creative camera placement. As opposed to cramped spaces that dictate the use of wide lenses, Hobo House’s open architecture, with its spacious kitchen, dining room, and living room, flows beautifully without interrupting walls. This allows your DP to step back, and get wide, uncompromised shots with a longer lens. Isn’t it nice to have creative choices in a home location?

A Private Urban Oasis
Hobo House, located in a private courtyard, insulates you from outside interruptions like the sights and sounds of street traffic. The secure breezeway enables worry-free shipping and receiving of expensive equipment. Clients often set up the private patio for crafty/catering or for talent holding.

Location Location Location
Fifteen minutes from Midtown Manhattan and a mere three blocks from our soundstage, Hoboken House could not be easier to get to. (“Commuting” between our two locations takes 1 minute 30 seconds by Lime Scooter.) But there’s another advantage to parking your production here at “Hollywood on the Hudson”... When you “set up your entity” here in New Jersey, you can shoot on location or in our studio and take advantage of the New Jersey Film and TV Tax Credit.


Shoot at Cobalt and Save 30% Per Production with the NJ Tax Credit

Shoot at Cobalt and Save 30% Per Production
Now, in effect for the fiscal year of 2019, New Jersey’s Film & TV Tax incentives include credits of $75 million per fiscal year for film and television projects. The bill also incentivizes companies to make significant efforts to hire diverse cast and crews with a 2% diversity credit for employing at least 15 percent women and minorities. And to top it all off, when you “set up your entity” here at Cobalt, you can shoot on location anywhere and still take advantage of the tax credit.

NJ Tax Credit News
Last week, we spoke with Steven Gorelick, Executive Director of New Jersey's Motion Picture and Television Commission. We discussed NJ’s Film and TV Tax Credit- and our shared mission to meet the needs of the Tri-State Area production community. This past summer, NJ’s Economic Development Authority awarded the first tax credits of the new program—$6.2 million... divided among four projects.

NEW JERSEY OUTCOMPETES NEW YORK ON TAX INCENTIVES
We consulted with Industry analysts, who confirmed that New Jersey’s Film & TV Tax Credit is more competitive than similar incentives in New York State. The NJ incentives include 30 percent of ABOVE AND BELOW the line for all qualifying production expenses. New York’s tax credit only pertains to below the line expenses :(

It's a Great Time to Lock in These Savings
To learn more about the incentives, you can check out these FAQs and read the legislation in its entirety here. Download this PDF that New Jersey's Motion Picture and Television Commission Executive Director Stephen Gorelick sent us to share with you.

Call us anytime to discuss parking your project here at “Hollywood on the Hudson” to save money and elevate your production!


Experience The Tri State’s Premiere Soundstage.

Cobalt’s state-of-the-art 12,000 sq. ft. soundstage facility delivers a true turnkey production experience.

A recent shoot with Seth Meyers.

World Class Soundstage
Production professionals throughout the tri-state region enjoy convenient access to our world-class 12,000 sq. ft. production studio, featuring a 7,000 sq. ft. soundstage, 20 ft. ceilings and cutting edge onsite equipment. Clients place Cobalt on par with NYC’s top soundstages, often preferring Cobalt because of our pristine, comfortable, and well-equipped environments. Leveraging Cobalt in a turnkey capacity saves productions considerable time and money upfront. When unforeseen needs arise, our clients save thousands of dollars more in crew time by accessing last-minute lighting, rigging and tech equipment from Cobalt’s comprehensive in-house inventory.

Cobalt offers a full suite of in-house equipment.

The Swiss Army Knife of Studios
Cobalt’s comprehensive in-house equipment and amenities are hand-selected by seasoned professionals who understand precisely what’s needed to deliver the optimal production experience. We offer lighting, rigging, high-end lenses, precision robotics, and the East Coast’s only publicly-available Virtual Backlot for working with Virtual Sets. Additionally, we provide an extra layer of hospitality with comfortable, furnished spaces for producers, talent, and hosting VIP talent.

Hobo House is our 2000 sq. ft. on-location production facility. Great for crews & long-span shooting space. Natural light to die for.

Our Newest Location: The Hoboken House
Cobalt Stages spans two locations in the heart of Hoboken. Each located one minute, thirty seconds apart by Lime Scooter! “Hobo House” (as we like to call it) is a fully-appointed, sun-drenched 2000 square foot Carriage House with three bedrooms and three full bathrooms—perfect for wardrobe, hair, and makeup. Shoot in our modern, Euro-style chef’s kitchen. Make our secure breezeway your own private shipping & receiving area. Set up a food tent or talent holding in our private patio/garden. The possibilities are endless. Schedule a tour of “Hollywood on the Hudson”, today.


Why I Made Friends with Robots. (Watch the VIDEO!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQqLT7wDp3E

We know that Motion Control can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Today’s MoCo technology is easier than ever to master. Let me show you how MoCo makes precision moves manageable, so getting the shot can be fast, cost-effective and maybe even 'good times'.

Read on to learn how to make the most of Motion Control.

MoCo is About the Mindset
As a Cinematographer, DP, and Effects Supervisor, I’ve come to rely on non-linear problem solving to arrive at the simplest and most cost-effective solutions. Start with the shot you want to create, then ‘zoom out,’ breaking it down into smaller, more manageable components. Next, envision how they all fit together. When you ‘zoom out’ this way, it’s easier to see all the facets of a single shot, and you open the door to ‘eureka moments’. For example, what looks like a complex camera-moving problem can often be reimagined, and you’ll discover that it’s simpler to move the object, instead.

Get the Story Behind the Shot
Getting the backstory helps you process the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind great Motion Control executions. That’s always more valuable than just knowing ‘what’ was done. One side-by-side, time-lapse product shot demanded a novel solution... It started with two hand models smearing deodorant sticks on a sheet of sandpaper. Then came the 2-3 hours of time-lapse to show off the product’s performance. Because of the time-lapse, we wouldn’t know if we had a good take for hours. We also had to repeat this demo with several competitors’ products. We were severely crunched for time, but MoCo came to the rescue! We build 3 sandpaper cubes, then wrote a simple Motion Control move to turn the cubes from facet to facet. This way, we were able to shoot 12 takes at a time instead of one. In record time, our delighted client got about 50 takes to choose from! Now, any time you run into a similar problem, you'll have a sense of how MoCo can help solve it.

Find a Right-Sized Solution
When you ‘zoom out’ and see the big picture, a shot that looks complex on the surface might be achievable with an absurdly simple solution. One commercial product job required oversized pills to roll out of a shot, revealing the ‘hero product’ in the background. The producer first came to us with an elements list a mile long. He envisioned the pills being actuated by arms from above, but given the production time it would have taken to shoot all the picture and matte passes, this would have been a herculean task. (Not to mention all the rig removal and reflection restoration)... The right-sized Motion Control solution was inexpensive and far from complicated. We put the pills on tiny sleds with a magnet, then ran a magnetic rig under the table to move them. Our magnetic rigging was invisible, the effect was in-camera, and the solution created ZERO post-production ramifications. Again, great success!

Don’t Be Afraid to ‘Retro-Tech’
So, as you can see, being clever and inventive is infinitely more important than just having the latest gadget! I’ll tell you one more story about seeing things differently. On another shoot, we had a challenging water shot to pull off. We needed a high-speed macro shot of a pebble falling into the water, making a crown-shaped splash, but without seeing the stone. In linear thinking, one might say we have to hide the pebble somehow. By breaking it down and seeing all the angles, I was able to devise a simple solution. We cut a hole in the bottom of a shallow tank, stretched some latex across the gap, and connected a motion-controlled motor to push and pull the center of the latex creating a beautiful ‘crown effect’ without the pebble.

Lastly, Get Good Advice
I can’t imagine any aspect of cinema requiring a more ‘consultative’ approach than Motion Control. When you hire a motion control company, you should be getting some solid advice as to how best to achieve the desired shot. Work with a supplier who spends some quality time with you discussing the nuances of the shoot, planning out the schedule, resource allocation, and system redundancies. This sort of service and support helps your production to contain costs and deliver uncompromised creative work.

The Takeaway
Motion Control is a unique blend of analytical problem-solving and out-of-the-box creativity. Get your mind around big shots by breaking them down into smaller components; tailor the solution to the problem; and seek out the best advice you can get. You’ll be amazed at how this ‘Big Picture’ approach can help make your MoCo projects manageable, and even fun!


How Motion Control delivers limitless creative opportunities.

Motion control, or MoCo, gives you the flexibility to move the camera in three-dimensional space with complete precision and repeatability. Today, MoCo is the backbone for almost every VFX scene that’s shot, and it doesn’t add complexity. On the contrary, even the easiest shots can be streamlined with MoCo.

Read on to learn why MoCo is such an invaluable tool for unleashing creativity and enhancing productivity:

Eliminating Camera Operator Struggle

There are two reasons that seemingly simple shots are often the trickiest to execute - precision and repeatability. A shot that starts out, head-on, and ends directly overhead sounds astoundingly simple to operate, but trying to execute that without robotics can be a real drain on resources. When you factor in challenges like coordinating a boom, dolly and tilt, holding critical focus on shallow focus long-lens macro shots, is nearly impossible. Trial by error is no way to spend your on-set time, so those “in the know” rely on the precision and repeatability of robotics.

Programming is Easier than Ever

Key framing and editing are now quick and easy to do! Moves can be imported from Maya 3D animation software. They can also be “live encoded”, then tweaked, so you have robotic control over organic action. For example, the dolly grip can operate the dolly and boom, while the camera operator operates the pan tilt head, and the A.C. is pulling focus—all LIVE! Then, that take can be edited and precisely played back. You can even choose which axis of motion is being played back, robotically, and which axes are “live encoding”. This blend of control and flexibility creates infinite new opportunities for unbound creativity that would be impossible without robotic technology.

Tricky Rigging Situations Made Simple

As seen in the Game of Thrones finale, a recent trend in cinematography across all genres is shooting at higher and higher frame rates for a slowed-motion effect. Each time you double the frame rate, you’ll need to halve the timing of any rig (including the motion of the camera). So, if you’re executing a 3 second shot, but shooting at 800 frames per second, your rig timing now has to occur at the right time within a 1/10th of a second shot. The old “ready-set-go” will never accomplish this level of precision, but MoCo makes it easy.

“Selling” a “Twins” Effect

Because audiences are seeing amazing visual effects everywhere, the bar for VFX keeps getting higher and higher. Say you needed to shoot a single actor playing twins, like Mark Ruffalo in HBO’s forthcoming series, “I Know This Much is True.” Certainly, a locked-off camera simplifies the challenge, but would the effect be convincing enough for today’s sophisticated viewers? What if you wanted the scene to feel organic, as opposed to “telegraphing” the effect? The solution is clear. You’d start shooting with a moving camera! MoCo can add a sense of realism to the shot, by using a rig that enables the two characters (played by one actor) to relate to each other on screen. For example, one twin could carry a pile of books, while the other grabs a few off the stack. How is this possible, with just one actor? You’d use a motion-controlled sled to carry the stack of books while the “twins" are just going along for the ride. This way, you can ensure that the books appear in the identical position for each pass. Here’s a great example of this kind of effect.

The Takeaway

Motion Control is a versatile, user-friendly, problem solver for all manners of creative challenges. It can be as simple as a giant repeatable turntable to spin a car or turn a set, as delicate as a rig configured to spin and tumble a diamond, or as massive as a camera crane. The possibilities are endless... And that’s the magic of MoCo.


How 'Morning Kickoff' makes your team more efficient.

Nobody likes sitting through a meeting when an email would suffice. That said, holding a daily "Morning Kickoff" meeting is a key time (and money) saver on any shoot. It gives you a chance to go over the day’s work, and to align everyone with your Vision. But there’s more to it than that.

Here’s why we believe that a daily Morning Kickoff practice is essential to any production:

There’s something for everyone.
In the hospital, teams of doctors get together at the start of each shift to collaborate on patient care. Morning Kickoff serves the same purpose on your production. When experts from all disciplines come together, they coordinate tasks, determine priorities, establish daily goals, and plan for potential problems. Sometimes specialists have never even been in the same room with each other before, so giving them a chance to communicate, helps everyone hit the ground running.

It’s Critical for Collaboration.
In an interdependent workplace like a production set, Morning Kickoff is a major opportunity that empowers everyone to fine-tune workflows, update plans based on current conditions and maximize the efficient use of time and resources—all of which will impact your bottom line. Taking 15 minutes at the start—or even 45 on the first day of a complex shoot—will save you hours at the backend by allowing departments to work and problem-solve, simultaneously, instead of sequentially.

Power to the People.
Our experience has been that people want to impress and do their best. Morning Kickoff is the ideal venue for sparking up everyone’s creative and strategic thinking for the day. Empowered with information, every department can chime in with suggestions and contributions—while they are still actionable! When they hear the updated plan, your Grips might suggest getting a scissor lift instead of ladders which might save a couple of hours of crew time. Then the Gaffer says, “If we do that, then we can also send back some equipment.” Morning Kickoff gives everyone the chance to optimize and coordinate, together, for everyone’s benefit.

The Takeaway.
Don’t skip Morning Kickoff! It’s a valuable forum where ideas are exchanged quickly to boost collaboration, accountability and efficiency across every department. It can be a game changer.


Crew on scooters, how cool is that?

My project manager Chloe and I have been zipping around Hoboken on e-scooters since they launched, and they’re the bomb 💥 (It only takes 1 minute and 30 seconds to get from Cobalt’s soundstage to our “HOBO HOUSE” location by Lime scooter!) Since the city launched its first e-scooter program, 300 vehicles are available — powered by Lime Scooters and OjO Electric by PG3M.

This is how we roll, and here are 7 reasons why you should too:

There’s something for everyone.
Here at “Hollywood on the Hudson,” there are two brands to choose from. My personal favorite is the Lime Scooter which offers a razor scooter-like experience where you stand up. If you prefer a more Vespa-like, seated ride, take an OjO Electric Scooter.

They’re on-demand.
In the era of Lyft and Uber, nobody likes to wait long for a ride. Hoboken’s e-scooters are on-demand, so you can just grab and go. The Lime scooters are dockless, so you can leave them anywhere, which is awesome.

They simplify commuting.
The Lackawanna Terminal is where the Hoboken Ferry, NJ Transit and PATH train terminals adjoin. There, you’ll find an assortment of e-scooters that are perfect for zipping over to our soundstage and Hobo House locations.

They’re fast, but not too fast.
Maxing out at 20 miles per hour, Hoboken’s e-scooters are fast enough to save lots of time, but not fast enough to be a menace. We use them daily, and they’ve been a great way to pack more productivity—and pleasure—into the workday! Just don’t hit a pothole lol.

They’re clean and green.
Riding an e-scooter is an eco-friendly alternative to taking a car. Steve Jobs even predicted that e-scooters would make a bigger impact than personal computers, and that modern cities would be redesigned around them. Right again, Steve!

They’re cheap and chic.
There’s a reason Sophia Loren was photographed on a Vespa so many times—scooters are classic, accessible glam! Hop on an e-scooter and have your iconic “Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday” moment (minus the shaky steering, of course).

They’re fun.
Picture this: You take the ferry in from NYC, hop on an e-scooter and roll into work at Cobalt... You spend the day doing excellent work in a comfortable space where you’re proud to host important clients. When your PA’s run out for a last minute ‘whatever,’ they hop on an e-scooter and get back in 10 minutes flat—with a big smile on their face! Sound like fun???

The Takeaway
Hoboken’s small town vibe is greatly enhanced by access to e-scooters. They’re everything we love—fast, flexible, green and fun! Swing by and see for yourself, we’d love to see ya 🤙


How a turnkey soundstage saves you time and money.

How do you want to spend your time—being creative? or managing minutia..? With an 'empty warehouse' soundstage, you can spend your precious time sourcing lights, lenses and folding chairs. A better alternative is working with a turnkey soundstage.

Here’s why leveraging your soundstage’s onsite offering helps you stay under budget, and spend more time on what matters most:

Save time and money TWICE.

Using a turnkey soundstage protects your production against wasted time and money, upfront, by sparing you some of the sourcing. Then, you save AGAIN, onset, by being 'preventative'... At a turnkey stage, you are aligning yourself with vendors who have already thought through & prepared for last-minute emergencies that can occur. Even better, in a spur of the moment rigging pinch, it helps if a studio has rigging components available. Having these last minute capabilities, keeps you from needing to put your production on pause. What happens if someone has a creative idea in the middle of lighting design?? It really helps if you can just 'grab something' from the in-house inventory.

Start from scratch? Really?

More tools and amenities, onsite, also means a lot less to worry about. If you’re shooting food, don’t construct a kitchen. Find a soundstage that has one! If you’re making a film, shoot where there’s more of what you need, long-term. How about ample production space, office supplies and generous internet bandwidth, to start? If you’re building a practical set, don’t rent another entire space to do it. Find a place with a woodshop. If you’re building your set, virtually, find a place that has VSet ready to go. And if you’re working with celebrity models or actors, see what amenities are offered for talent. Comfortable chairs, robes, and slippers really DO make a difference.

Use more, pay less.

We saved the easiest for last! The simplest way to save on below-the-line expenses is by working with a turnkey studio, and taking advantage of economies of scale. In addition to comparing what tools and amenities are offered, in-house, ask what kind of package deals each soundstage has to offer. You can save exponentially on time and money by negotiating a volume discount.

The Takeaway

It's simple. Your soundstage’s onsite resources shouldn’t be an afterthought. When you factor in the time and labor of sourcing, transport and last-minute surprises, it almost always makes sense to work with a one-stop shop that offers more of what you need.