2010 – present
Neg Earth is a lighting hire company that was established in the 1980s. It specialises in providing lights and rigging for music tours in venues all over the UK and beyond. Its main warehouse and HQ is based in Park Royal and was named The Light House. In 2010 they realised a gap in the market existed for a dedicated large rehearsal room for touring bands to set up their staging and program lighting, video screens and sound mixes. This had previously been done in vacant film stages but these are now so busy that it was becoming a problem for acts to find suitable ones available at convenient times.
In 2010 Neg Earth acquired a site in Concord Road, Park Royal. They constructed a purpose-built facility including a very large room of 17,700 sq ft with a grid height of 60ft, enabling the largest of touring acts to set up their stage and lighting/sound rig. The grid is immensely strong and very easy to fix rigging points. There is excellent access for trucks to load/off-load and there are the usual dressing rooms, green rooms and production offices.
The building was named Light House 2 – or simply LH2 – and from 2010-2016 it was solely used for its intended purpose. Fortunately it is sound-proofed so that the neighbours are not disturbed by any heavy metal bands in full thrash. Mind you, I have heard that when it first opened, they discovered that the bass sound was passing through the concrete floor to buildings around, so they had to cut a narrow trench through the concrete raft around the building to isolate it. I gather this works very well now.
A decision was taken not to have a large power feed from the national grid but to rely upon mobile generators to supply lighting rigs. Since bands often do this on tour anyway, this does make sense. Live TV shows also use generators, rather than relying on local power.
In 2016 it was announced that Fountain Studios would be closing and the regular bookings there would need a replacement studio. I don’t know who contacted whom but quite sensibly, LH2 was considered to be a suitable venue. Its working area is 144 x 103ft – which is almost exactly the same as Fountain’s 144 x 100ft wall to wall. However, LH2 does have the advantage of a large loading area behind pillars at the side, providing valuable storage and space for technical kit. This brings its floor area up to 17,700 sq ft.
The venue initially had no TV facilities but some Portacabin control rooms have been installed at mezzanine level. These are equipped with fly-away kit from an OB company when a series is being made so no OB truck is required.
The first TV show to use this as a studio was The Voice UK (knockouts and live shows) early in 2017. The X-Factor was also made here in the autumn of 2017 and 2018. In 2018 the studio was used to film some of the international concert scenes for the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. In 2019 and 2020 LH2 was the venue for the live rounds of ITV’s The Greatest Dancer.