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Quick Chat: Walter Biscardi on his new Creative Hub co-op

Post production veteran and studio owner Walter Biscardi has opened The Creative Hub within his Atlanta-area facility Biscardi Creative Media (BCM). This co-op workspace for creatives is designed to offer indie filmmakers and home-based video producers a place to work, screen their work, meet with clients and collaborate.

Biscardi has had this idea in the back of his head for the past few years, but it was how he started his post company that inspired The Creative Hub. After spending years at CNN and in the corporate world, Biscardi launched his post business in 2001, working out of a spare bedroom in his house. In 2003 he added 1,200 square feet to the back of his house, where he ran the company until 2010. In January 2011 he moved into his current facility. So he knows a thing or two about starting small and growing a business naturally.


Color grading

Let’s find out more.

Why was this the right time to launch this co-op?
The tools keep getting smaller and more powerful, so it’s easier than ever to work at home.  But from time to time there is still a need for “bigger iron” to help get the job done.  There’s also a need for peripherals that you might want to use such as the Tangent Element panels and FSI monitors for color grading, but making that investment for just one project isn’t feasible. Or maybe you’re planning a large project and would like to lay out your storyboards and planning where everyone can see it. Our conference room has 30 feet of corkboard and a 10-foot dry erase wall that is killer for production planning.

How will it work?
We have a beautiful space here and oftentimes we have rooms available for use. In the “traditional post production world” you would charge $50- $175/hour just for the suite, but many indie filmmakers — and even many long-form projects like reality shows and episodics — just don’t have that kind of budget.  So I looked at the co-op office space for inspiration on how to set up a pricing structure that would allow the maximum benefit for indie creatives and yet allow us to pay the bills. So we came up with the basic hourly/daily/weekly/monthly pricing structure that’s easy to follow with no commitments.

I think the time has been right for the co-op creative space for at least two years now, it just took this much time for me to finally get my act together and get everything down on paper.

What’s great about the co-op space too is that we hope it’ll foster collaboration by getting folks out of their houses for the day and into a common space where you can bounce ideas off each other, create those, “Hey, can you come look at this” moments. You see a lot of that online, but being able to actually talk to the person in the same room always leads to much better collaboration than a thread of responses to your online video.

One of the edit rooms

One of the edit rooms

Can you talk more about the pricing and room availability?
Depending on the room, we have availability by the hour, day, week and month. Prices are very straightforward such as $100/day for a fully furnished edit suite. (See pricing here.) That includes the workstation, dual monitors, Flanders Scientific reference monitor and two KRK Rokit 5 audio monitors. Those rates are definitely below “market value” but we have the space, the gear and we’re happy to open our doors and let filmmakers and creatives come on in and have some fun in our sandbox.

The caveat to all the low pricing is that it is restricted to standard business hours only. Right now that’s 8am-6pm. This follows with most of the co-ops I researched and if folks wanted to have 24-hour access or longer access to the space, that would be priced according to their needs. But the rates would revert to more market standard rates with overnight being more. We’ll see how this goes and if it takes off, we could always run a second shift at night to help maintain a lower rate in those hours.

What about gear?
For editorial, graphics, animation, sound and design, we have the full Adobe Creative Cloud in every Creative Suite.  Four of the suites run Mac and one room runs Windows.  Every suite has a Flanders Scientific Reference monitor connected via AJA or BMD hardware.

Color grading is offered via Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve and Adobe’s SpeedGrade on a Mac Pro with a Tangent Elements control surface and an FSI OLED Reference Monitor.

The sound mixing theater features ProTools|HD 5.1 mixing system with Genelec audio monitoring.  The main system is a Mac Pro. That theater has an eight-foot projection screen (pictured right) and can serve as a screening room for up to 12 people or a classroom for workshops with seating for up to 18 people. It’s a great workshop space.

None of our pricing includes high-speed storage as we assume people will bring their own. We do have 96TB of high-speed networked storage on site, which is available for $15/TB per day should it be needed.

So you are mostly Adobe CC based?
Adobe is provided because that’s what we use here so it’s already on all of the systems. By not having to invest in additional software, we can keep the rates low. We do have Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro on site, but they are older versions. If we get enough requests for Avid and FCP, we can update our software packages at a later date.

Walter Biscardi is a staple on social media. Follow him at @walterbiscardi.

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