Level Up Your Production in 2020

Here Are 20 Ways We Can Help

1. We’re Innovative

Our credo is Soundstage Reimagined. So in a world of warehouse-type spaces, we strive to offer more— comprehensive tools, thoughtful amenities, and a supportive team. Our clients feel the difference, right away.

2. We’re Turnkey

Why spend your precious time sourcing lights, rigging tools, and folding chairs? At Cobalt you don’t need to. Cobalt saves you time and money by offering your production essentials onsite.

3. We’re Virtual Set Virtuosos

We set up the East Coast’s first Virtual Backlot to help you save money, reduce waste, minimize the cost of crew hours, and place your story in any location you can imagine. A huge win for productions and the planet!

4. We’re Woman Owned

Cobalt is a woman-owned soundstage. We strongly believe in working toward gender equality in the Industry. Please join us in supporting even more women-owned businesses and women-led projects in 2020!

5. We have Hobo House

Cobalt’s newest property, The Hoboken House, is the perfect place to park your production. Our private, chic, sun-drenched 2000 square foot Carriage House has three bedrooms and three full baths. And... it’s three blocks from our soundstage 🎥

6. We’re a Green Facility

We’re committed to considering the impact of our actions on people and the environment. We also do our part by donating leftover food, investing in sustainable Virtual Sets, and making our own non-toxic, chemical free cleaning products and Kara Care skincare swag (more to come soon).

7. We’re Magic Makers

Arthur Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”... We have the tech to make the magic, and Cobalt’s tech wizard, Alex, can help you make the most of it.

8. We Care About Peace ~ Quiet and Comfort

Because of our Industry background, we understand how a thoughtfully curated soundstage can put clients at ease - and even relax - to elevate the quality of your work. Our well-appointed client spaces make it comfortable to hold a meeting or simply 'peace out' for a sec.

9. We're By Producers, For Producers

We leverage our Industry experience to make everything you need easily accessible, so you can focus on what matters– doing your best work. We’re committed to creating the most comfortable, convenient, and cutting edge experience.

10. We're Production Advisors

Helping producers problem-solve their projects is one of our specialties. We believe in taking the time to Listen, and we’re quick to offer innovative and practical solutions to save your production time, money, and stress.

11. We're MoCo Masters

Our clients have convenient access to our comprehensive inventory of Motion Control equipment—the largest and most diverse on the East Coast. Our Gazelle Motion Control camera crane also goes on the road–
anywhere your production does.

12. We've Got the Matrix Man

Cobalt’s very own Alex Fernbach designed and invented the 1st array camera used in the legendary “Bullet Time” scene in “The Matrix.” These days, he brings his unparalleled knowledge and creativity to Cobalt to support YOUR productions.

13. We're Conveniently Located

Here at “Hollywood on the Hudson,” we’re just 15 minutes from Midtown with convenient parking and public transportation. Whether you come by car, NY Waterway Ferry, or PATH train, getting here is faster and easier than getting to Brooklyn.

14. We've Got New Jersey's Tax Breaks

We’ve got New York beat. New Jersey’s Film & TV Tax Credit includes up to 35% percent of ABOVE AND BELOW the line on qualified expenses for productions in NJ. New York’s tax credit pertains to ONLY below the line expenses. No need to read between the lines here.

15. We're Wired

Superior connectivity makes it effortless to multitask and monitor your production. At Cobalt, a live HD feed broadcasts from our soundstage to the client room, conference rooms, commercial food prep kitchen, wardrobe, and makeup areas.

16. We're Streaming Live

Our Live Streaming capability allows decision-makers to keep a tab open on their computer even remotely with continuous HD quality footage delivered in real-time. Clients can tune in and weigh in, instantly, so the whole production isn’t waiting around to get the thumbs-up ;)

17. We Don't Nickel and Dime You

At some soundstages, your itemized bill can look like you went on a Whole Foods bender. At Cobalt, there’s no need to rent or carry in basic amenities—and we won’t bill you for them either.

18. We're the Swiss Army Knife of Studios

Cobalt’s inventory of in-house production tools is curated and updated by seasoned professionals. We offer lighting, rigging, high-end lenses, precision robotics, Virtual Set, and more!

19. We Do Tabletop

We’re passionate about tabletop at Cobalt. It's in our DNA. Our home ec kitchen is fully-equipped and easy-to-reconfigure for all types of food-centric projects. This, combined with a wide variety of miniature rigs, specialized optics, and in-house motion control, makes producing tabletop easy and efficient.

20. We're on Your Team

At Cobalt, we’re as passionate about production excellence as you are! We invite you to make us your secret weapon by leveraging our experience and resources—just like an extension of your team.


You Should Be Shooting in Hoboken.

The Tri-State’s Premiere Soundstage is closer to Midtown than Brooklyn.

Hollywood on the Hudson
In video, film and content creation, technologies evolve so rapidly that it can be hard to stay ahead. To help with that, we offer the Industry’s best production tools, AND we help you use them to your advantage. Hoboken’s got the East Coast’s first Virtual Backlot, cutting-edge motion control robotics, and everything you need to elevate your image.

15 Minutes from Midtown
We like Brooklyn, but we love the convenience of our Hoboken headquarters even more! During rush hour, our two locations are a quick reverse commute from the city. Much faster to get to and from Manhattan on the flip flop. Whether you come by car, NY Waterway ferry, or PATH train, getting here is fast and easy. Head WEST, and see why we love it here in the “West, West Village.”

Our Tax Breaks Top New York’s - hands down.
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. New Jersey also incentivizes hiring diverse casts and crews with a 2% tax credit for using at least 15 percent women and minorities.

Two Unique Locations
Cobalt Stages spans two locations that are located one minute, thirty seconds apart by Lime Scooter! The Hoboken House is our fully-furnished, sun-drenched 2000 square foot Carriage House—a private and quiet place to park your production. Annnnd, Cobalt’s 12,000 sq. ft. production facility features a 7,000 sq. ft. soundstage, 20 ft. ceilings, and state-of-the-art onsite equipment access.

It’s Hipper in Hoboken
Chosen as one of Apartment Therapy’s Coolest Suburbs in America 2019, Hoboken offers historic charm, cool shops, and great food. Also awarded “Most Walkable” in its category, we love getting around via Lime Scooter. Want to kick back after production wraps for the day? Grab a burger at The Elysian Café, Hoboken’s oldest bar-- many, many others to choose from, too.

We love working on the West Side where there’s somethin’ for everyone—schedule a tour today, and we’ll show you around!


Meet Our Founders

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.


We are production advisors.

Helping producers problem-solve their projects is one of our specialties.

Count on Cobalt’s Virtual Set Experts
The demand for Virtual Sets has increased exponentially in the past year. V Set is a must-have resource for today’s producers and directors, so we make ourselves available to share our expertise. We’re the first soundstage to offer Virtual Sets to the public on the East Coast, so our team has in-depth experience to guide you. Whether you want to sell your clients on a V Set concept, or whether they requested it themselves,
we can help.

Your Secret-Weapon Production Partner
Producers and production managers/coordinators love working at Cobalt because we understand their challenges far better than your average soundstage. As a company founded by producers, for producers, we’re uniquely equipped to offer an additional layer of support you won’t find anywhere else. When you book our locations and services for your productions, we take the time to listen, and we’re quick to offer solutions that save productions time, money, and stress.

Motion Control, Under Control
There’s no cinematic discipline that requires a more consultative approach than Motion Control. And fortunately for the Tri-State production community, Cobalt’s own Alex Fernbach has been a pioneer in the field! As the inventor of the array camera that he created for the “Bullet Time” scene in "The Matrix", Alex now brings his encyclopedic knowledge and unparalleled creativity to advise our clients. We recently pulled off a miraculous MoCo job that entailed an undisclosed comedic celebrity TV Special, with 48 hours’ notice to coordinate equipment and talent in three time zones, as well as, a custom rig that had to fit in an extraordinarily tight space. Cobalt’s very own "Stage Manager Steve" even drove the rig overnight to Chicago, so our client wouldn’t miss a beat. We never want to let you down, and that’s just how we roll...
- sometimes all the way to Chicago ;)

Let us be YOUR secret weapon and see how we make everything easier for the production community. Let’s talk.


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!