Winnersh Film Studios

from 2022

with thanks to the Stage 50 website

 

It almost seems as though every month in 2021 brought the announcement of yet another film studio.  November’s news was that Stage 50, the company specialising in rapid-build but high spec sound stages, were constructing 6 sound stages on a site at Winnersh Triangle, near Reading.  Winnersh Film Studios, a new business, took over some existing buildings in 2021 and converted them into workshops and production offices.  There are 50,000 sq ft of workshops and 25,000 sq ft of offices.  These were advertised as being available in November.

Stage 50 advertise that they can build a properly equipped and fully fitted out stage in 4 months – and indeed the first stage was ready by March 2022.  There are planned to be 120,000 sq ft of stage space, one of which is an impressive 30,000 sq ft.

 

the approximate area of the new studios

 

What is particularly interesting is that this large stage is Virtual Production (VP) equipped.  It does in fact contain the world’s largest VP ‘volume’.  VP is the technique involving high-res LED panels around the walls and ceiling of the shooting area, enabling computer-generated scenery to be displayed as realistic backgrounds.  The ‘volume’ is the term for the shooting space surrounded by LED screens.  The advantage over greenscreen is that the LED panels emit light that looks true to life on the actors’ faces and clothing.  Actors seem to much prefer this environment over greenscreen too.  According to the Winnersh Film Studios press release:

Created in partnership with Fin Studio Pictures, the cutting-edge fully encapsulated virtual production volume at Winnersh Film Studios will feature an 84m x 7m screen with over 140 million pixels and industry-leading tech from disguise, infiLED® EM, Unity, Unreal Engine, Brompton Technology & Target3D.

 

The studios are aware of the need for skilled crew so are pledging to work with the local community to offer training and apprenticeships.  The chosen site has exceptionally good communications, right next to a junction on the A329M, which connects to the M4.  There is a train station very close to the site and a Crowne Plaza, Premier Inn and Travelodge are just a few minutes’ walk away.  Reading is just to the west and the attractive market town of Wokingham, with several high quality restaurants is close to the south.  There is also a very good cinema complex close by – the Showcase Cinema De Lux – which happens to be where I go to see films.  Highly recommended with excellent picture and sound quality and very comfortable tip-back seats!

The first booking is The Boys in the Boat, a feature directed by George Clooney.  Handy for him as he has a house in Sonning, about 10 minutes drive away.  Filming began in the last week of March 2022.

 

This is all very good news and adds to the cluster of world class film studios west of London.