Creating a Sound-Friendly Space in a Restored Warehouse
As our office has started the journey into the world of videos and podcasting, we’ve faced one major struggle: finding a space to create high-quality content that both looks and sounds incredible.
Our office is located in Cannery Row in Nashville, inside a refurbished cannery originally built in 1883. With original brick walls, wooden beams, and polished concrete floors, it makes for a gorgeous space to work in. You would think the space would double as a great place to record, right?
As beautiful as our office is, the brick walls and concrete floor create an echo chamber effect, reverberating sound until it’s impossible to capture clear audio. To fix this issue, we needed to absorb as much of the reverberations as possible - and most easy fixes are eye sores.
We got creative and found solutions that keep the beauty of the building intact, and transformed our space from an echo chamber into a high-quality recording studio.
We tackled the issue of sound absorption first.
We had already decided which room in our office we want to use as our main space recording space, which is a long, slightly narrow room in the back. The space has one brick wall, three dry walls, and concrete floors. After spending some time in the room, we determined that the brick wall and concrete floor were the biggest causes of reverberation, and started our changes there.
- The concrete floors were the easiest issue to fix, as we decided to simply carpet them. We picked out some simple commercial carpeting, which doesn’t absorb as much sound as a thick shag rug would, but does get the job done without being too conspicuous.
Next, we contended with the brick wall.
This was particularly challenging, as we wanted to preserve the original brick - but we still needed to reduce the amount of sound reflecting off of it. We considered using sound absorption panels, but disliked how visually distracting they are. Then we had a stroke of genius, and decided on hanging a heavy curtain in front of the brick wall. Not only does it wonderfully absorb the sound, it is visually pleasing, preserves the brick wall, and can be easily moved to the side.
Although the curtain absorbed most of the reverberations, there was still more echo than we wanted. This is where sound absorption panels came into play. However, we still didn’t want them to visually distracting in videos. We started with the ceiling, as sound does bounce off of it, and panels placed there are not visible in our videos. This made a huge difference in the sound, and we were able to minimize the reverb to a satisfactory level with just a few panels placed on the walls, out of the shot for our primary video angle.
With the issue of sound absorption solved, we moved on to creating a beautiful atmosphere for videos.
We set about creating an appealing set for our videos. Our first step was to decide on a theme. We settled on a Nashville theme, since we call this city home.
Our next step was to get furniture for the room. We picked out two white chairs and a bright red couch that can be used in varying configurations. We also found two side tables with a reclaimed wood look to use as accents.
On the far wall, we have hung several framed Hatch Show Print posters, and plan to hang a variety of Nashville themed prints as well.
As this is a multi-purpose room designed to record videos, podcasts, and any other type of media we can come up with, we wanted the look and feel of the space to be fluid. With the furniture we picked out, we can create a diverse number of setups, and even the artwork can quickly and easily be changed out to create an entirely new look.
The last step to creating a fully functioning recording space was gear. Since we plan to use it for both video and podcasts, high-quality cameras and audio gear are key. Below is a list of our recommendations if you are attempting a project like this yourself.
-Canon EOS 70D
It’s impossible to go wrong with this classic DSLR. With the ability to shoot high-quality photos and HD video, it’s a must for anyone looking to get into video production.
This 4K handheld video camera is a no-brainer for silky smooth shots. The device can even be controlled remotely by smartphones!
-Fancierstudio Lighting Kit with Softbox
Lighting is key to getting great video, and this lighting kit is a perfect start. With three boom stands and softboxes, it provides versatile lighting for any video setup.
-Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
This USB 2.0 audio interface features some of the best microphone preamps for at-home recording. With four inputs, it’s the perfect size for a basic podcast and video setup, and it provides phantom power for condenser and ribbon mics.
For crystal clear audio at a reasonable price, the Rode NT1-A cardioid condenser mic is the way to go. However, these mics require external power to work - so be sure your interface can provide phantom power.
As you can see, building the perfect recording studio takes a lot of work and innovation. But there’s good news--you don’t need a perfect space in order to create the kind of studio you want! All you need is a vision and a little bit of capital to invest in the elements you need.
Before you know it, you’ll be producing high-quality videos that engage your audience and reflect well on your brand.
And you can say that your office doubles as a recording studio!