Case Study: John Mulaney x Netflix @ Cobalt

Cobalt Stages recently hosted a promo shoot for the Netflix hit “John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch.” The shoot involved two kinds of special talent: VIP John Mulaney and 15 child actors! With our diverse Industry experience, we’ve worn many hats in front and behind the camera. We understand that special talent has unique needs, and we know exactly what those needs are. So, we fashioned our soundstage to exceed expectations in meeting them.

When you host a cast of 15 children, they come with parents and tutors in tow—that’s a lot of people. Add in the Netflix team, the star, their people, and a sizable crew... and well, you really should be shooting at Cobalt. Our multiple, fully-furnished support rooms offer quiet, versatile spaces where people can regroup, review footage, or hold a private meeting away from the action. Our Hoboken facility provides a discreet location where high profile talent can slip in and slip out
without attracting unwanted attention.

We did more than accommodate the needs of 15 children, their parents and tutors, and the crew. Our commitment to hospitality and thoughtful extras made it comfortable and cozy without any additional expense. We’re told that the gracious and hilarious Mr. Mulaney put in a good word for Cobalt with Netflix execs, and we’re thrilled to report that they've already scheduled another shoot at Cobalt!

Let’s Work Together!

Shooting Tabletop at Cobalt

The Ideal Location for Close-Up Cinematography

Expert Advisors
Alex is the architect behind Cobalt’s close-up cinematography inventory—all the lenses and devices that make tabletop magic look easy. He’s on hand to connect our clients with the space, tools, and advice that make Cobalt ideal for tabletop products. And he’s saved our clients thousands by providing the generous space and equipment redundancies they need to work, simultaneously, instead of sequentially. You can set up multiple stations so lighting/ rigging crews, grips, electricians, set carpenters, prop people, and your art department can stay busy all the time — instead of taking turns working. This strategy may mean investing an extra $1000 in props, product, and lighting for multiple tabletops — all to save your production $1000 AN HOUR in crew costs. Alex speaks from experience, and loves to share :)

Home Ec Kitchen
Our home ec kitchen was purpose-built for food styling. The main door opens directly to the stage, and a side door opens to an extra large prep area. Key features include: Our one-of-a-kind, custom-built bake-up oven that allows you to see and experience the magic of baking in real-time or in time-lapse; our high-volume gas mains and purpose-built exhaust system for fire effects; our versatile kitchen amenities including an industrial range hood, adjustable-height stainless steel tables, four baker’s racks, forty full sheets, chest freezers and two double-door refrigerators that accommodate full sheets. There’s even a grocery store half a block away for last-minute needs!

Cutting Edge Tools
Tabletop tools are highly specialized to shoot smaller, faster, and closer while retaining a high resolution. If you need to capture the bubbles in a bottle of beer with the crispest detail imaginable, you'll want to be shooting over at Cobalt. Regular equipment doesn’t scale down to tabletop size, and over the years, Alex has acquired—and invented—the right devices to capture the moment. We offer macro lenses, our unique bellows-focusing Epic Dragon, and a comprehensive inventory of miniature motion control tools to deliver uncompromised precision. We have the tools you need to lift, push, pull, and rotate products—and the specially-modified lighting equipment you need to get the shot.

Science in the Service of Art
More than any other production discipline, tabletop requires a high degree of creativity and technical expertise. Come to Cobalt for the space, equipment, and expertise to help you
elevate your tabletop images.

Let’s talk tabletop!

Look Who’s Shooting with Cobalt

John Mulaney x Netflix, Harry Connick Jr., and Chris Rock

John Mulaney’s Netflix Promo
In the past year, Netflix has become a repeat client at Cobalt, and we couldn’t be happier about it! Most recently, we hosted John Mulaney and a bunch of kids to shoot a promo for his Netflix musical comedy special “John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.” Cobalt’s commitment to comfort and hospitality shines when our clients are shooting with special talent like the kiddos, and we’re so grateful
they keep choosing us!

Harry Connick Jr. in the House
We were honored to host the legendary talent and consummate professional Harry Connick Jr. at our soundstage. Harry used our own Alex Fernbach as DP on his production. Harry and Alex really hit it off. He ended up dubbing Alex “Matrix Man,” as a nod to Alex’s historic contribution to cinematography. Conceived and directed by Harry, “A Celebration of Cole Porter” is a multimedia theatrical performance that presents Porter's most beloved songs in an unprecedented and unique way,highlighted by Harry’s signature style.

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 motion control job supporting Chris Rock’s comedy special with just 48 hours’ notice! Challenged with coordinating equipment and talent in three time zones, our MoCo master Alex also devised a custom rig to fit in an extremely tight space. A true team effort — Kara directed the operation from an RV in Los Angeles while Cobalt’s Stage Manager Steve drove the rig overnight to Chicago, so our client wouldn’t miss a beat. We won't let you down. That’s how we roll. ?

We’re built for producers.

Experience the ultimate production workplace,
The Hoboken House.

Produce here. Stay here. Shoot here.
Located three blocks from our soundstage, The Hoboken House is Cobalt’s versatile three-bedroom, three-bath Carriage House. It’s fully-furnished and production-ready, with high ceilings, an open floorplan, and great natural light. Built by producers, for producers... No other “home” location on the East Coast is supported by a 12,000 sq. ft. turnkey soundstage facility. Done.

The right balance of efficiency and hospitality.
Cobalt offers more than just space. We provide convenient access to cutting edge production tools, and we’re generous with amenities that make our locations feel more like home. That includes quiet, comfortable places to collaborate, well-appointed kitchens, locally-sourced, organic coffee, and even the lemon-scented green cleaner we make ourselves.

Sustainable sets made affordable.
If you’re not experienced with Virtual Sets yet, let us show you the ropes! Our Virtual Backlot provides a cost-effective, low-carbon-footprint alternative to practical sets or shooting on location. Leverage our computer-generated Virtual backlot to set scenes anywhere you can imagine - with zero waste!

Comprehensive, cutting-edge production tools.
We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, and we’ve always been early adopters so that we can offer the East Coast the most comprehensive inventory of onsite production tools. Our in-house motion control robotics specialist, Alex, can help you customize solutions to lower your costs and stress. Feel free to give him a call!

We built Cobalt so you can focus on what matters most—doing great work. We’re generous with support and supplies because it helps our clients avoid costly delays and creative compromises :)

Shooting at Hobo House

Private, Convenient, and Production-Ready

Sun-Drenched and Spacious
The Hoboken House (aka Hobo House) is Cobalt’s versatile 2000 sq. ft. Carriage House with high ceilings and great natural light. Located three blocks from our soundstage, it comes fully furnished with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and lots of extra amenities like a chef’s kitchen, BBQ, and ping pong.

Production Paradise for DPs
Hobo House’s open floor plan and high ceilings are ideal for wide-angle shots and distance camerawork. A recent TV commercial was shot in Hobo House’s sunny living room, while the kitchen was used for Video Village. The possibilities are endless in this versatile space.

A Sanctuary for Styling
Hair, makeup, and wardrobe professionals love setting up shop in Hobo House’s private second-floor suite. Its three bedrooms and two bathrooms are perfectly configured for this purpose, with laundry machines, full-length mirrors, and beautiful natural light from skylights and floor to ceiling windows.

A Private and Secure Setting
Hobo House’s "by producers, for producers" on-location solution is a lifesaver for productions with high-profile talent and expensive equipment. Set back from the street, it's accessed via a secure breezeway and private courtyard. Production appreciates the breezeway not only for its privacy, but also for its functionality, by sometimes setting up shipping and receiving, here. Everyone has the opportunity to relax and prepare, away from the distractions of street traffic and gawkers.

Shoot here. Work here. Stay here.

Our one-stop-shop soundstage is unlike any other in the Tri-State area.

Cobalt’s world-class
production stage

Cobalt’s second-floor
production space

Cobalt’s 2000 square foot
Carriage House

Shoot Here.
We save productions significant time and money by offering world-class production tools and solutions onsite. Our comprehensive inventory spans everything from Virtual Sets and Motion Control robotics, to rigging and lighting. At Cobalt, there’s no need to rent and carry in basic needs like chairs and printers.
And, we won’t bill you for them, either!

Work Here.
Rent Cobalt’s comfortable and convenient second-floor production space as a standalone rental! Set up shop a day or two ahead of a shoot, and make use of our producer-friendly, on-demand, office space. Then, move downstairs to shoot after production prep. We include facility-wide Wi-Fi, high-speed hardwired lines at every desk, and networked Workhorse color laser printers for an ultra-productive experience.

Stay Here.
When you need a furnished home to shoot, when you’re hosting a VIP client, or when you want to stay three blocks from our soundstage during a week of shooting— we have the answer. The Hoboken House, aka Hobo House, is our sun-drenched, 2000 square foot Carriage House. It’s fully furnished with 3 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, and more. Check out our two-minute Hobo House video tour.

Soundstage Reimagined.
With decades of insights and expertise, our production campus is here to help you focus on what matters most—your projects. For more information or to schedule a walk-around…
Let’s talk.

Stay, shoot and host clients here.

WATCH THIS: 90 Second Tour of Cobalt’s 2000 sq. ft. Carriage House

About The Hoboken House

  • Open floor plan and soaring ceilings
  • Fifteen minutes from Midtown Manhattan
  • 3 blocks from Cobalt’s turnkey soundstage
  • Comfortable and fully-furnished
  • 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths
  • Modern, Euro-style chef’s kitchen
  • Quiet setting set back from street - private
  • Private garden with ping pong and BBQ
  • Secure breezeway for shipping and receiving
  • Ceiling-height windows and skylights

Book The Hoboken House for your next production to take advantage of the awesomeness.

Click here to see more photos.

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.