Case Study: Netflix Camera Tests Put Our Turnkey Studio to the Test

Challenge
In June 2021, repeat client Netflix came back to Cobalt to test camera, lens, lighting, and filter combinations to create the mood the director had in mind before the new season began... Camera test days are different situations from production where prep decisions and artistic choices are mostly decided in advance. For this kind of project, the Director of Photography experiments to push the limit of what their camera and lens packages can do. You might need a slider, some atmosphere in the air, or a powerful light—all of which Cobalt can provide on the spot.

Solution
Our Turnkey Soundstage was built to support the flexible needs of productions on every kind of assignment, including this one. The DP conducted open-ended experiments to learn the equipment and design the film's look and feel. To use the space and time even more efficiently, the production used our wardrobe and talent holding areas to select and try on costumes and test how they moved so that animators could sketch the wardrobe in motion. Then, combining these elements, the lighting and the color palettes of fabrics got to merge and play together, too. Lastly, they used garment steamers, rolling racks, and more, putting everything we had to productive use!

Impact
This kind of behind-the-scenes learning could never happen in an empty warehouse without sacrificing efficiency and cost savings. Cobalt's versatile space and comprehensive equipment and amenities made the day run smoothly, and this Netflix production wrapped a successful day on a high note. We’re a grab bag of opportunity when it comes to testing!! Plus, we have killer AC 😉

Make Cobalt your production partner!

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.


Case Study: Hosting a High-Profile Star and Cast of 30

Challenge
In June 2021, a major multinational content producer brought a shoot to Cobalt. First, the client needed a quick save (booking in the weekend before yikes!), so we fast tracked the usual Grip and Electric schedule. Extra spaces were required to creatively accommodate their Star Talent, his guests, and 30 cast members. With the production team and crew members, there were about 60 people in the house! Finally, the project required a “black box” filming environment, and they also needed an extra creative solution for the numerous folks to feed.

Solution
Of course, Cobalt came through! The client officially booked on Saturday, and gave us the G&E list on Sunday. We orchestrated our vendor partners and in-house production tools, and they were good to go Monday morning! Their catering team set up shop in our spacious Home Ec kitchen, and served cast and crew in our Craft Service Kitchen. We provided black Duvetyne fabric for the project’s scenery, and our generous accessory spaces came in handy helping 30 cast members, the crew, the star, and his guests find lots of comfortable space to spread out.

Impact
The shoot was a great success, with no issues! This is where our Swiss Army Knife experience really shines. Whether it’s having close vendor relationships to tap in for last-minute needs, loads of versatile, separate nooks and crannies to host people, or access to a whole additional kitchen for catering, we are truly ready for anything! The star was delighted with our VIP amenities, and the production went super smooth—who could ask for more?

Make Cobalt your production partner!

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.


Go green... Or go home!

Create without limits—or waste.
Single-use set building can be problematic for your budget and the environment. Shooting on-location comes with a major carbon footprint too, especially when we account for the additional fuel needed to take an entire production on the road... Our Virtual Backlot provides a brilliant, zero-waste alternative with a radically lower environmental impact. In contrast to practical set building, our computer-generated Virtual Sets are photorealistic and waste-free making them as sustainable as they are effective.

Keepin’ it clean—and green.
From reducing our carbon footprint to creating a healthier studio experience, we’re committed to considering the impact of our actions on people and the environment. Our president, Kara Vedder, even offers her award-winning Kara Care Skin Food for purchase onsite. Kara Care was featured in Elle Magazine, and springs from Kara’s belief that anything you put on your skin should be organic and edible—that same passion was a driving force for making Cobalt a green facility! From the locally sourced, organic coffee we serve, to the chemical-free cleaner we make ourselves from lemons, essential oil, vinegar, and baking soda, we take a holistic view of wellness and strive to deliver the cleanest, greenest experience possible.

Everything is connected.
With our steady stream of food shoots and craft service-supported productions, we end up with a lot of extra food to share. We take pride in the fact that we never let usable leftovers from your productions go to waste. For more than 20 years, we’ve donated the extra food to The Hoboken Shelter. This local nonprofit provides meals for the hungry and shelter for the homeless. We’re grateful to play a supporting role
in their efforts!

Give us a call or schedule a tour to learn more about our green facility. We’d be happy to show you how our green practices can help you feel good and work better!

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.


Why Shoot in NJ? MAJOR Tax Credits.

Save up to $10M a year per production!

We’re seeing an influx of films usually shot in New York, that are now moving to New Jersey. One of the reasons we are seeing this is because New Jersey's robust Film & Digital Media Tax Credit Program unequivocally beats NY's tax incentives. NJ includes 30 percent of ABOVE AND BELOW the line on qualified production expenses for productions in Northern New Jersey. In stark ontrast, New York's tax credit pertains to only below-the-line expenses. Our Soundstage and Hoboken House locations are also within the 25-mile studio zone, too!
Learn more >

Look Who's Shooting in NJ
NJ offers an unparalleled variety of locations within a short drive - from the mountains to the shore and from rural to city spots.

Select projects to debut soon include:

  • "The Equalizer" starring Queen Latifah and Chris Noth
  • "Ways and Means" starring Patrick Dempsey
  • "Wutang: An American Saga"
  • "Dr. Death" starring Alec Baldwin and Joshua Jackson
  • "FBI Most Wanted"
  • "Lisey's Story," a mini-series based on a Stephen King novel
  • A Lifetime movie premiering on Valentine's Day
  • Features for Netflix, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, over a dozen independent films
  • And many TV episodics from Apple TV Plus, NBC, Hulu, Showtime, and Amazon Prime

Experience a Premier Shooting Location
Our Turnkey Soundstage and Carriage House locations are purpose-built to make shooting here comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective. Experience "Hollywood on the Hudson" for yourself and find out how our By-Producers, For-Producers production facilities serve you better!

 


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.


Hoboken's Easy. Here's Why.

Located smack in the center of “The Mile Square City”, our Hoboken Soundstage is never more than half a mile from these amenities:

  • Our Hoboken House location
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants and caterers
  • Hardware stores and paint suppliers

Our Soundstage and Hoboken House locations are also:

  • 15 Minutes from Midtown Manhattan, and 5 mins from The Lincoln Tunnel and The Holland Tunnel
  • 19 Minutes to Newark Airport
  • 7 minutes to the W Hoboken Hotel
  • Easily accessed via NY Waterway Ferry, PATH Train, and NJ Transit Bus

Hoboken's college town vibe feels a world away from big city traffic and crowds. We have:

  • On-street parking that's $1 an hour (NYC is up to $7.50)
  • On-demand Citi Bikes and Zipcars
  • Terrific Burgers at The Elysian Café, Hoboken's oldest bar <3
  • Dinner and drink options for every lifestyle and mood—Washington Street, our “Restaurant Row”, is just a short stroll away
  • Our waterfront esplanade features spectacular views of the NYC skyline

 

Park your production here.
It's easy.

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.


What's in a Cobalt estimate?

Superior cost certainty.

There are clear advantages to working with a Soundstage that understands the nuanced needs of production. Here’s what we think you should know about soundstage estimates.

The Purpose Behind Cobalt’s “No-Surprises” Estimate.
As a “By Producers, For Producers” Soundstage, we know that post-production surprises are never good. In this relationship-driven Industry, we want you to feel empowered and supported—not taken advantage of. To serve you better, our estimates go far beyond the Industry standard, so you know exactly what you’re getting and how much it will cost. First, we add a layer of consulting to the initial inquiry phase, where we find out your project parameters and offer expert strategies on cost-control and efficiency. Then, we crunch the numbers upfront, so you start out with the most accurate estimate possible.

Transparency and Collaboration are Cobalt Core Values.
While our Turnkey Soundstage offering gets you the best value, we also break your estimate down line by line. (Look at the “stage line” in our estimate in order to compare apples-to-apples with warehouse-style stages.)

Here’s the beauty of a Cobalt estimate.
Before the job even starts, we show you all the costs that other stages will surprise you with at the end of your shoot. This way, you can feel confident about your budget from start to finish. We encourage you to compare our estimates against other stages… Look at the final itemized invoices, and you can easily see that being vague upfront is no accident by the other companies… It’s a strategy for winning your business with a low number, then itemizing every last extension cord, power strip, and folding chair. Our strategy is the exact opposite—we’re committed to delivering superior cost certainty.

 

Give us a call for a full-featured estimate
you can trust.
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.


NJ Reopens: Governor Lifts Indoor Mask Rules, Rolls Back Restrictions

With the state’s COVID-19 benchmarks achieved, New Jersey Governor Murphy is lifting the Indoor mask mandate and removing social distancing requirements and gathering limits. Learn more here.

 

Got questions or concerns?
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.


Springtime at The Hoboken House

Upgrades, Productions, and Crafty Alfresco

Close and convenient to NYC, Cobalt’s Hoboken House location is our 2,000 square foot Carriage House with three bedrooms, three full baths, a private garden, and a Euro-style chef’s kitchen.

Reliable Livestreaming on Location
As we’re all getting used to clients and decision-makers weighing in remotely, Livestreaming has become an integral part of the standard production toolkit. And we know that we’re all at the mercy of the internet bandwidth and connection stability when we Livestream on location. To make working, shooting, and Livestreaming at “Hobo House” even more seamless, we invested in three drops of wired internet: one downstairs and one at either end of the space upstairs. We’re able to put the Livestream on its own SSID, too!

Versatile, Configurable Spaces
From a Director, DP or Producer’s perspective, we understand the need for one location that offers a wide variety of shots. Hobo House provides multiple looks in one location, so you can shoot a kid running downstairs and out the door for school, Dad throwing a Frisbee to the dog outside, and Mom making cupcakes in the kitchen. A commercial shoot for Blistex filmed in Hobo House’s sun-drenched living room took advantage of the kitchen for setting up Video Village. Clients shooting here and at our Soundstage (three blocks away) are also setting up Crafty outside in our private courtyard with its ping pong table, BBQ grill, and secure breezeway.

Production-Ready Features
Created by producers, Hobo House’s ceiling-height windows flood the space with natural light. Its open floor plan and soaring ceilings free up your production to get the shots you want. Our connected kitchen, dining room, and living room allow your DP to step back and get wide using longer lenses — without having to compromise your creativity.

 

Schedule a tour or call us to book
The Hoboken House for your next production.
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.


Consult with us on Cost-Saving Production Strategies and more!

As a “By Producers, For Producers” Soundstage, we have decades of experience on “both sides”. And over the years, we’ve learned that there are clear advantages to working with companies that understand the needs of productions and producers.

Cost, Convenience, and Comfort.
Many of our client consultations are about these three universal topics. Our approach to helping productions control costs involves thoughtful upfront planning to help leverage the added value that only a Turnkey Soundstage can deliver. For example, some equipment and services cost double what we charge to bring in on your own… That’s because it’s often standard for soundstages to charge a la carte for every last clothespin… (That’s their biz model – eek.) At Cobalt, we create value by including more of the basics, gratis. Then there’s Turnkey convenience—having everything you need here and ready to go is a proven time and sanity-saver. Between our private furnished client spaces, Hoboken House location, and generous free amenities, we do our absolute best to impress you and your clients with boutique hotel-level comfort.

 

Consult with us on your next project and see how we can help you optimize cost-efficiency, comfort, and convenience.
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.


What makes us a soundstage?

It’s a lot more than our cyc!

At Cobalt, we’re serious about sound. We’re so serious that our audio quality got a resounding “thumbs up” from the Metropolitan Opera – from the singers and technicians alike! We know all stages aren’t created equal, so we wanted to share the science behind the art of recording production-quality sound!

What is a soundstage?
A soundstage is a production facility that can be used to record production sound along with the images. There are some physical considerations, but the main differentiator is soundproofing. To create the East Coast’s first true Turnkey Soundstage, we invested in extensive sound-testing and soundproofing under the supervision of an expert audio engineer.

Stellar sound is all about control.
To keep outside sounds out and to prevent unwanted reverberation inside, we filled every nook and cranny with Mass Loaded Vinyl. Then we built an airlock between our production spaces and the stage, so people can gather around the Craft Service bar while shooting continues, onstage. To that, we added zoned electronics, so a random phone call won’t ever interrupt filming. And finally, we wrapped our plumbing in sound-absorbing foam and vinyl, boxed out our roof drains, draped vinyl strips in front of our gigantic sliding door to the garage, and applied six inches of sound insulation to the ceiling—the project’s biggest investment.

 

For optimal production sound, work with the Soundstage that’s Met Opera-Approved!
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.