“Community & Creation,” a strong ethos behind Central Studios


It has been 10 years from when Central Studios first opened. Now Central Studios has a widespread network and has become an industry leader in Asia for full photo production, equipment rental and much more. Central Studios has built a strong community and has thrived to become a convenient and efficient one-stop-shop for all production needs. Read on to see see how Central Studios has become such a prominent member in the community and a real driver in the industry.

Production Paradise: As the leading professional photography rental studio in Shanghai entering the 10th year of business, can you tell us the process of getting to the state of being such a well-established studio?

Rodney Evans: Well, to be honest, I never considered it as a process but it’s nice to turn around after 10 years and look at what we have achieved and where we our place in the local industry.  When we first opened, people were not used to the scale of our studios and didn’t really know what to expect. So at every step of the way, our role has always had an element of education as well as keeping up our service standards.  Looking back, it makes me proud to see so many CS alumni spread throughout the industry all doing great things – so our people have been integral. Similarly, the community is another aspect of our ethos. We are constantly looking for new local artists to support with any of resources and network and every year, we host our version of a big block party called Fair Day. We want to bring people together and do what we can to encourage more creating.

Production Paradise: What attracts clients to Central Studios?

Rodney Evans: When walking into CS, the first thing that strikes you is the cavernous foyer – high concrete ceilings with modern accents create this impactful sense of space. We have retained as much of the natural features of the old factory building while combining it with a very functional, flexible design.  We take a lot of pride in maintaining our facility as well as excelling in service to make sure all of our clients have exactly what they need to have a successful shoot.  And our location is the most central in downtown Shanghai saving busy clients frustrating travel time.  And of course, we are nice people!

Production Paradise: How has Central Studios improved their production services throughout these years? Are they any new technologies that have impacted shooting?

Rodney Evans: When we first opened, we were primarily a rental studio & equipment company. However we found people came to us for production so we developed our services accordingly and very quickly, production became the real driver of the business.  More recently we have invested in our post-production department with some experienced retouchers and an in-house edit suite. We also have an in-house fashion and styling service with full custom design and tailors available on set. So we like to see ourselves as the One Stop Shop where we can support as many of the elements of each project as you need.

The main influence on shooting in China now is that it is celebrity and influencer driven.  The industry always adapts to evolving technology but there are structural issues at play too.

Production Paradise: Can you tell us more about this CS SHOUT initiative? Have you noticed anything interesting about the submission you have gotten?

Rodney Evans: We have always been supportive of shooters who want to do tests or personal work, so we thought we would provide a platform for creatives to submit ideas and help share the fruits of their creations.

Production Paradise: What are some recent campaigns that have been particularly memorable that you have been a part on?

Rodney Evans: Earlier this year we produced a campaign for Mikimoto featuring Dilraba, a very popular actress.  It was a comprehensive production where we conceived the creative concept and fully produced stills and motion, utilising the full suite of services we offer, including some beautiful custom designed gowns for our star.  It’s always nice when get to overtake our own space!

Actress Dilraba Dilmurat

Production Paradise: What would you say is the key to maintaining a successful production company? What do you find the most challenging about your business?

Rodney Evans: We are fortunate that we have a lot of repeat customers and that is all because of our loyal and consistent team who work hard to build the trust of our clients and developing lasting relationships.

We have seen a lot of change in the industry last year, which has offered new challenges and pressures on budgets but we are constantly adapting. It’s a bit of a new adventure see how we can take our 10 years of experiences forward into this new frontier.

Production Paradise: Central Studios are taking strides to reduce plastic on our planet. Can you tell us more about The Red Crate Project and the positive outcomes that came out of it?

Rodney Evans: We work in a very wasteful industry – single-use sets, props and a lot of things created and then disposed of the next day.  We discourage single use plastic water bottles by ensuring good filtered water is readily available in studios.

The Red Crate is a nod to the milk crates of old that we used to store records, toys or any other household stuff. By providing our community with numbered red crates, it draws attention to the possibilities of up-cycling and extending the life of otherwise disposable objects.  We will be documenting how our community friends reuse their crates so watch this space.

Production Paradise: Lastly, what are the advantages you have experienced as a member of Production Paradise?

Rodney Evans: There is no denying Production Paradise has been great for lead generation. We have landed some big projects as a result of our listing and the key is to simply be responsive when those inquiries come in.  Customers always appreciate a fast response. And it’s a great way of staying current on other niche markets and again, in the end, it’s all about community and creating.

Special thanks to Central Studios for taking the time to share their story with us and we hope you enjoyed reading. For more details visit Central Studio’s website or their profile page on Production Paradise. We wish Central Studios the best in future endeavors!

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