Four Tips for Studio Organization

Now that I'm settled into my new 4200 sq. ft. studio, I have a ton of space. However, that wasn't always the case; in a smaller space, organization was the key to sanity. Tripping over gear and frantically searching for grip equipment is frustrating and doesn't look good in front of clients. I believe if you have an organized workspace that organization will be reflected in your mood while on set, allowing you to stay calm, cool, and collected. In this video, I show you four tips to starting down the path to a more organized studio.

Tip #1: Use pegboard to organize your grip equipment. This stuff can be as big or small as you need to accommodate all your gear. Simply add a few hooks (available at any hardware store) and start hanging.

Tip #2: Use an accordion file to organize and store your gels. Available at most office supply stores, these can be helpful in separating densities, colors, or even sizes of all your gels.

Tip #3: Use a rolling toolbox for set supply storage. These come in several sizes and colors; find one that you can work at standing up, and store all your gaffer's tape, bounce cards, adhesives, and other set items so you don't have to run around the studio looking for these items, taking you away from creating images.

Tip #4: Hang your seamless background paper. This tip was passed along to me by my friend, Rob Grimm, and works beautifully for keeping the paper from getting beaten up and also keeps it off the floor.

If you have clever ideas for storing gear, please share them in the comments!

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19 Comments

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Put things on wheels. The rolling tool box is great, we had a 4 x 9 foot wood table on wheels, good for a shooting platform or a lunch table for the crew. Also had 3 10x12 foot rolling walls, useful to divide the stage when shooting multiple set ups or a used as a big white fill card. The big stands go on wheels. We even had one of those 14 foot tall rolling metal ladders we got form a neighbor for $40.
Wheels are your friend!

Michael Comeau's picture

I use bright pink or green gaffer's tape for all small, dark colored objects like lens caps, radio triggers, cable adapters, etc. It makes it way easier to see stuff inside bag and boxes, and it makes these things way harder to lose.

I'm a big fan of this. I do the same thing with my construction tools, as well (except they are all spray painted fluorescent pink). It not only makes them easy to see, it identifies them as yours if there are others around with their equipment.

Lens caps and hammers all look the same; but the bright pink ones are mine!

Mike Bartoszek's picture

i do the same thing with my Rigging rope-
The ugliest rope is mine, so no one steals it and all of the Ground guys can easily tell where i am

Tony Roslund's picture

Haha! "the ugliest rope is mine"

Mike Bartoszek's picture

also helps in purchasing, i can usually get the ugly ones on sale!

haha...double trouble-

Also consider painting the foam inside your pelican (or equivalent) case. Something like orange or teal. You could go white however that will start look very dirty over time.

Just makes it easier to see all of your black camera gear.

Nick Viton's picture

But then won't that paint eventually rub off on your gear?

Not if you use the good kind that sticks to plastic really well. Also the process would be to paint the foam before you shape it out so the parts that your gear goes into aren't themselves painted.

Austin Burke's picture

Awesome tips (and totally using that bonus tip on my next shoot). Was actually talking to a PA today about trying out a scrap book as a holder for gels, though the file organizer might be a little more compact. Anyways off to get some pegboards for the apartment.

Michael Kormos's picture

"...my new 4200 sq. ft. studio"... Ah, the joys of running a studio outside of NYC!

Tony Roslund's picture

Yea man, I can't imagine the cost in NYC.

Nunzio Prenna's picture

Looking to upsize my London studio...a 4200 sq ft would be something like $130K...just saying....

Tony Roslund's picture

Mine ain't exactly cheap. But I certainly wouldn't be able to swing it in higher priced areas.

Wheels. I use a rolling mechanic's toolbox to keep bodies, lenses, meters, triggers, etc. handy.

G. George Flanik's picture

Painters tape (comes in colors) to the bottom of shoes to keep cyc walls and seamless clean and makes them last longer. Reduces cleaning time.

Eduardo Mugica's picture

i love the pegboard tip, but here in Mexico, i didn't find a nice quality pegboard so i buy instead some slatwall and paint it with black, chalkboard paint. im so happy with the result.

Tony Roslund's picture

Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Hey Tony- what size board and ropes did you use for paper? Rob's video mainly covered gels and I wasn't sure if the board needed to be wider. Thanks!