What's great about Darnley Road Studios?
It’s in Hackney, it’s a fantastic space, and it’s staffed by knowledgeable friendly people with a can-do attitude.
How is Darnley Road Studios different?
“Studios” is a slightly ironic name, we only have one studio – “Studio 1”. It’s a lovely room with big windows on the first floor of a somewhat dilapidated but characterful warehouse in central Hackney. It’s the personal studio of lighting cameraman and cinematographer Roger Bowles, and has evolved over many years with Roger completing most of the building work himself assisted by colleagues Richard Jones and Simon Minett.
It was built for video but over the course of 2017 we gradually opened it up for fashion photography, partly to help cover the vastly increased rent and business rates, and partly because there are now so few buildings like 1B Darnley Road that it really needs to be seen before it’s handed over to the developers! A DRS shoot is a “boutique” experience and, we hope, and enjoyable one.
Anything I should know when booking?
The building in which the studio is located is multi occupancy and we share our corridor with artists, photographers, designers – a really nice bunch of people. The landlord, however, is a little guarded with his money, to the point that the fabric of the building is suffering. We keep it clean, comfortable and safe, and invest heavily in refurbishment. But we can’t have complete control over shared areas – the loos, access and corridors.
It’s a great location to shoot in and very flexible, but we recognise that it’s not right for every job. While the Hackney location and the industrial charm are a plus, some clients may be looking for a level of comfort and service that we simply can’t provide, and we’d much rather the job went elsewhere than risk disappointing anyone.
We’re always happy to offer you a cup of tea and show you around if you’d like to see the space first!
Who will look after us during the shoot?
All shoots are met in the morning by a member of staff with technical knowledge to help set up, manage power requirements and so on. They are on site for the first few hours of the shooting day. After that we try to leave productions to their own devices until wrap. This keeps our costs down.There will always be someone on call to deal with unexpected issues. If a production would prefer someone to be on hand all day that can be arranged.
What are your catering options?
We can provide crockery and cutlery for up to 12 settings but we do not get involved in catering ourselves. However we can recommend the following options, all of which offer a discount to Darnley Road Studios which we are happy to pass on to clients.
Jones & Sons – fully serviced in-studio catering, breakfast, lunch and dinner as required
Our No.1 choice: DRS clients get free delivery and a discount when ordering from our preferred caterers, the excellent Jones & Sons based in Dalston. The varied menu is based on well-made British food of the highest quality, and changes every two months. Jones & Sons is familiar with our premises and offer exceptional food and service, we can’t recommend them highly enough.
Eat-out / take-away options for lunch
Located on Richmond Road just on the other side of Mare street, a 2 minute walk from DRS, there are three brilliant eateries that will offer a discount to Darnley Road Studios clients and can also prepare food to take away:
Raw Duck – perfectly presented Mediterranean-inspired dishes, a perennial favorite with the DRS crew
Patty and Bun – burgers, brilliant ones, eat in or take away
Lardo – renowned for their very superior pizza
Can you provide equipment?
Most standard studio kit is included in the daily rental including polys and stands, hangers, rails, steamer etc. A full list can be seen on our rate card. We also have blackout, flats and a variety of tungsten lighting on site which we can quote for as required.
We usually recommend productions arrange their own flash, camera, and heavier duty lighting equipment from their preferred supplier. The following local suppliers have out of hours access to the studio which makes the delivery and collection of kit a lot easier and cheaper.
What about drop-offs and pickups?
We do not have a huge amount of storage available and we are not always staffed on non-shoot days, so we prefer where possible for deliveries and pickups to be made on the day of the shoot. However we know that won’t always be possible and in those circumstances we do our best to help.
If you need to arrange for a delivery or collection outside the hours of your shoot just let us know – it may be necessary to restrict the time slot or pay a small fee to cover someone to attend. Additionally some suppliers have self-access to the studio via a code. Keep us posted and one way or another we’ll make it work!
Is there any parking?
We usually have space for one vehicle in our side access on a first come first served basis. Where this is not possible we will provide a single permit for one vehicle on request at a cost of £10, subject to having enough permits! There is metered parking on the street and a loading bay adjacent to the front door. We would encourage crew to make the most of the Hackney location and travel by public transport, bicycle, or on foot.
Anything else I should know?
The building in which we are situated, 1B Darnley Road, is an old perfume factory that was built on the site of one of the first glass-houses in the world. For many years it’s been a home to artistic and artisan businesses and houses a host of recording studios, one of Europe’s largest record pressing plants, designers, architects, and upholsterers, as well as a leather wholesaler and a short-run garment manufacturer, industries for which Hackney used to be famous.
More recently it has inspired bands and performers such as Alt-J, The Klaxons and James Bay, and been the location for films including A Nice Touch starring Paloma Faith and Dougray Scott.
The owner of the building wishes to sell the site for demolition and development into flats. However it is in the process of being listed and potentially included in the local conservation area. We appreciate your custom and your support in preserving our little corner of the east end as the cultural and artistic hub it has long been.