bond street studio

neighborhood: gowanus | space type: studio | active since: 2005 | links: website, tumblr, facebook, twitter

On my way to Bond Street Studio, I had one of those lovely Brooklyn realizations: I’ve been living in this city for a decade, but I’ve never walked down this particular block before. I love how this blog project has really given me the opportunity to explore new corners of our fabulous borough!

Like Factory Brooklyn, Bond Street Studio is a blank canvas of a space, which can be rented out for photo and video shoots. They’ve had some really diverse clients, including Google, General Electric, Italian Elle, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. As Tiasia, Bond Street’s branding consultant, told me, “It’s the right amount of space to make an intimate set, it’s not too grandiose. You really have the option of molding and playing with the space here, the way the light falls, the skylights, everything.” Photographer Robert DiScalfani, the owner, also uses the space as an art gallery, specializing in giving lesser-known artists a new audience. It’s such a versatile space, and Robert’s got plenty of tricks up his sleeve for new ways to use it, so expect to hear about a lot of cool events here soon.


brooklyn spaces: What made you decide to open the studio?
Robert: I’m a photographer, I do mostly fashion photography, high-end wedding photography, and food photography, and I started doing videography a few years ago as well. I’ve owned two studios in Manhattan, and the rents just got too crazy, so I moved to Brooklyn about ten years ago. I owned a photo gallery down the street called Bond Street Gallery, which was a happening little spot. Unfortunately, we opened up just prior to the market crash, and then all hell broke loose, no one was buying anything. So I was working out of a live/work loft in Cobble Hill, and I was approached by some builders in the neighborhood who asked me if I needed a workspace, and I did. This is a new construction, it was a dirt lot a few years ago. When I started renting it out, it was about 80% still photography and 20% video, but now it’s completely the opposite. There’s so much filmmaking going on in the area, it’s incredible. And last year we start having some exhibitions here, as well.

brooklyn spaces: What have been some favorite shoots, or interesting people who have been through?
Robert: Google was here recently, shooting a video called “Chromercise,” about their browser Chrome. Italian Elle comes through several times a year, with a terrific photographer named Paulo Sutch. Kristen Schaal from The Daily Show was photographed here. Recently we had Saunders Sermons shoot a music video here, he’s a jazz musician but he also sings R&B, and he’s played trombone or saxophone for Jay-Z and Fantasia songs. I also had Ted Leo and the Pharmacists here not long ago. It’s great seeing all the creative people come through and whip this place into something you would never imagine possible.

brooklyn spaces: What are some things you’d like to do that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
Robert: A gallery I know in Soho has a monthly photo salon, and I’d love to do that here. I’d also like to do something similar for independent film. Another thing I want to do with the gallery is to showcase more new artists. It’s not easy to get an exhibition in New York; you don’t just walk into a Chelsea gallery and get an exhibition. So I’d like to open up the space to people who need an opportunity to show their work. There’s so much talent out here. I found this artist from Haiti last week, I walked into his apartment in Bushwick and looked at the paintings and I was stunned. His stuff is so detailed and deep and layered. Just beautiful. And this guy has never had a show!

brooklyn spaces: Do you feel Brooklyn has had an influence on the space?
Robert: Oh, I’m thrilled to be in Brooklyn. It’s such a great place, the creativity is just over the top here, it’s fantastic. Whatever your imagination can come up with is possible in Brooklyn.

Like this? Read about more film and video businesses: Film Biz RecyclingRunning Rebel StudiosFactory Brooklyn, Acme Studio

factory studios

neighborhood: williamsburg | space type: commercial | active since: 2009 | links: website, facebook, twitter

This one is a little different than the spaces I tend to cover. But my goal has always been to showcase the diversity and creativity of our fantastic borough, and Factory Studios is a great example of people doing something completely surprising and awesome with their space. It’s a full-service soundstage with a diverse and often high-profile clientele; they do photo shoots for magazines like Vanity Fair and Paper, music videos for everyone from Gogol Bordello to Redman, and commercials for companies like Disney and Jet Blue. Factory collaborates with the production company Gravity Sleeps, and the recording company Three Egg Studios. All this in an unassuming warehouse in the middle of Chasidic South Williamsburg! Ah, Brooklyn, you never cease to amaze me.

Q&A with Carrie from Factory & Sam from Gravity Sleeps

brooklyn spaces: Was it a ton of work to get this space set up?
Carrie: It took six months. It was pretty DIY; the walls are built with these things called SIPS panels, which weigh 400 pounds each and are extremely insulated. We had to move them around with a forklift and dollies, and the dollies kept breaking because the panels were so heavy.

brooklyn spaces: Tell me a little bit about what goes on in here.
Carrie: We do lots of music videos, commercials, photo shoots, the occasional party. We get everything from Vogue and Spin to Spike Jonze. We’ve had a lot of really cool bands, like LCD Soundsystem, The Strokes, Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, and The Hundred in the Hands. We also have a lot of rap and hip-hop, like Ludacris, The Dream, Lil’ Kim.
Sam: We have smaller groups, too. We recently shot a video for these young up-and-coming hip-hop artists from the Bronx, who came to the Factory because the artists that they look up to had shot here. When we showed them around, they saw the same couch Ludacris had used in his video, and they were like, “Oh we’ve got to have that in our video!”

brooklyn spaces: Did you have an idea when you set out of the kinds of clients you were hoping to cater to?
Carrie: No. There’s a need for spaces that are soundproof, so that was our number one thing. And although we have some big-name clients, we also cater to people who don’t have a lot of money. We did a lot of things for free to get things going, and we’re always helping people out. Brooklyn is a good scene for art, so we’re not stingy.

brooklyn spaces: How has the relationship been with the neighborhood and the community?
Carrie: Well, one time we had a hip-hop video, and they wanted to shoot the guy with his Lamborgini and Ducatti out front. Our neighbors were pissed. Little kids were on the balconies, screaming in Yiddish and throwing things at them. I try not to do things like that, though. I try to be courteous.

brooklyn spaces: Why did you decide to do this in Brooklyn?
Sam: We wanted to cater to the Brooklyn artist scene, and I just really like Brooklyn. If I had all the money in the world, I’d still live in Brooklyn. As for Factory, I think that it being located here has been important for the way that artists perceive the space. It looks inviting, it doesn’t look like an establishment studio, but it still is just as professional and high quality.

brooklyn spaces: Do you have a favorite memory or fun project?
Carrie: For me, definitely Spike Jonze directing LCD Soundsystem, that was amazing.
Sam: The video is for the song “Drunk Girls.” It shoots the whole space. It starts off on the side but then it breaks the fourth wall, it’s all one shot, and so the character is the Factory.

LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls by EMI_Music


Like this? Read more about other film industry spaces: Acme Studio, Bond Street Studio, 6 Charles Place, Film Biz Recycling