LA Warehouse And Studio Spaces

As a commercial real estate expert with over 18 years of experience, I’ve helped numerous business owners and landlords achieve their property ambitions. Recently, I’ve noticed a growing trend that is transforming empty Los Angeles warehouses into sought-after production spaces. With rising demand for streaming content, combined with the high expense of leasing major studio lots, more filmmakers are turning to industrial facilities to accommodate their shoots. Yet finding and converting the right warehouse space involves key considerations.

Key Takeaways

  • Filming in warehouses offers major cost savings over traditional LA studios
  • Empty industrial spaces can be customized into versatile production spaces
  • Strategic planning is key to executing affordable yet high-quality shoots

LA Warehouse And Studio Spaces

In this guide, I’ll share insider tips on identifying cost-effective warehouses for filming and efficiently executing shoots within these raw spaces. Whether you’re a producer looking to cut rental costs, or a building owner striving to lease out vacant property, read on for specialized advice from my CRE perspective.

Benefits of Filming in Warehouse Spaces

Renting warehouses for filming offers some major financial and logistical advantages compared to using formal LA studio lots. With a blank industrial canvas, a bit of vision, and the right preparations, these empty shells can be transformed into fully functioning production spaces for all types of shoots.

Cost Savings vs. Traditional Studios

The cost savings of using warehouses over studios are substantial. For example, the location fees start at just $100 per day – a mere fraction of the typical $1,500+ daily rates for studio stages. And that’s just the base pricing, not factoring in all the add-ons and hidden fees studios often tack on. By bringing your equipment and workers rather than relying on the studio’s centralized resources, you avoid those inflated rental and labor costs. That allows more of the budget to go donde cuenta – ensuring quality production.

Ideal Features for Production Needs

Warehouses also provide some ideal existing features right off the bat that lend themselves perfectly to filming needs:

  • The large, wide-open layouts with soaring ceilings readily accommodate even the most elaborate multi-level set builds. The expansive square footage and lack of columns or dividing walls give set designers limitless flexibility.
  • Many newer warehouses also incorporate sound isolation and acoustics nearly on par with sound stages. That crisp, clean audio capture helps immerse the audience fully into the scene without ambient noise distractions.
  • There’s also the raw, industrial look and feel itself. Exposed metals, unfinished surfaces, moody lighting, and weathered textures lend an organic, almost dystopian esthetic. That grungy ambiance automatically sets a tone and world for the production to build upon.

Convenience, Control, and Creativity

Some of the less obvious but equally valuable advantages of using warehouses include:

  • Climate-Controlled Environments – Having sheltered, temperature-regulated spaces allows for comfortable indoor filming immune from unpredictable weather delays.
  • Greater Scheduling Flexibility – Without needing to work around the availability and restrictions of other productions using the same studio facilities, you have much more freedom over when and how you use the space.
  • Fostering Innovation – Starting with a blank canvas, it unleashes set designers’, well, designer’s creative spirit. Transforming cold industrial warehouses into vivid, immersive worlds energizes the entire production crew and often yields some ingenious results.

The table below summarizes the major advantages of warehouse filming spaces:

Cost SavingsFraction of studio rental fees + bring your own equipment/crew
LayoutsAccommodate large, intricate set builds with flexibility
AcousticsProvide sound isolation comparable to sound stages
AestheticRaw unfinished look lends authenticity
Climate ControlStay comfortable while immune to weather delays
FlexibilityFreedom over scheduling and activities
InnovationTransforms blank canvas into custom sets
LA Warehouse And Studio Spaces

Finding the Right Warehouse Facility

Not all warehouses are created equal when it comes to hosting a film production. Depending on the unique needs of your project, certain features may be an absolute necessity whereas others are more negotiable. Taking the time to thoroughly assess potential spaces against your technical and logistical requirements can make a huge difference in the filming experience.

Location Considerations

When evaluating location options, proximity can be key. Being within 30 miles of central LA qualifies union crew members for standard local area rates. Venturing outside that zone starts triggering higher travel fees and staffing overhead. Famed landmarks like the Alabama Hills or the LA River can also maximize filming possibilities right on site. But factor in sufficient travel time to reach such locations if choosing a more remote warehouse.

Assessing Technical Specifications

It’s also vital to thoroughly survey the technical specifications of the warehouse to see what existing infrastructure could accommodate production or what may require supplemental rentals and upgrades. Can the electrical system handle the full load of filming equipment without blowing a fuse? Are there sufficient lighting grids, rigging points, load-rated ceilings, and finishes to support various set constructions? Grounding out spaces early on leaves more budget for the actual filming.

Utilizing Online Listing Platforms

Leveraging online listing platforms like Giggster streamlines finding production-ready warehouse spaces. Beyond location and square footage, you can filter by power availability, permitted usage, eligibility for short-term build-outs, and more granular criteria like ceiling height. For a more direct leasing approach, Loopnet provides listings straight from building owners open to filming.

Leveraging Local Services

There’s also a thriving ecosystem of specialized production-related businesses interfacing with warehouses. Turnkey warehouse studio providers like TuxedoLA offer in-house lighting grids, rigging infrastructure, dressing rooms, and other filming amenities ready to go. Architectural firms like Curtis Management provide design consultation for required space remodeling and improvements.

Permitting Rules

Finally, researching the local permitting guidelines in advance prevents last-minute planning headaches. Beyond standard film permits specifying allowed hours and general regulations, also confirms what types of production activities or external noise may have limitations within different zoning areas.

Executing a Cost-Effective Warehouse Shoot

With a production-ready warehouse space secured, the execution phase begins – transforming the blank industrial canvas into a fully functional filming set. Some strategic planning and creative problem-solving can stretch budgets further without sacrificing production quality.

Strategies for Saving on Expenses

Rather than relying solely on rental house equipment, source more cost-effective industrial equivalents like generators to power lighting set-ups. While less refined-looking, these rugged supplies get the job done at a fraction of the price. The same goes for sourcing your primary camera, grip, and lighting packages upfront rather than leasing everything onsite.

Getting scrappy with materials and tactically combining rented items with affordable DIY solutions blends both quality and budget consciousness. Plus the exposed pipes and unfinished surfaces of most warehouses mean you can get away with some rough-around-the-edges fixer solutions without seeming out of place aesthetically.

Creative Tactics to Maximize Usability

The adaptability of warehouses allows sets to shapeshift across scenes with some creative thinking. Strategically modify layouts, facades, and furnishings to make spaces pull double, triple, or even quadruple duty. A judge’s stand and minimal redressing quickly transform a courtroom scene into a corporate board meeting. Capture wide establishing shots first before refining the blocking and camera angles for closer coverage.

Efficient Scheduling and Coordination

Careful schedule coordination both streamlines workflows as well consolidates setup time between scenes. Cluster scenes together by location, cast members required, or lighting needs to minimize redundant rigging and other prep work. Maintain open lines of communication with the property manager or landlord regarding any potential filming impacts like controlled pyrotechnics or extended after-hours access.

Vital Production Elements to Supply

While the action happens on-camera, providing for the cast and crew behind the scenes makes for a smooth and enjoyable filming experience for all. Ensure adequate bathroom, catering/craft services, and waste removal facilities are available for the duration of the shoot. Even if relying on mobile solutions, dedicate adequate space for casts’ temporary trailer dressing rooms to allow private downtime between takes. Attending to basic needs prevents productivity-zapping headaches.

Making Warehouse Spaces Work For You

While empty warehouses lend themselves well to raw filming, integrating some customization and support infrastructure can further optimize the spaces for production. Modular wall systems enable compartmentalizing open areas into dedicated rooms like changing areas or production offices, which can be easily struck after filming wraps. Building out permanent amenities like electrical closets and dressing rooms embedded into the existing architecture provides ongoing usefulness. Enhance bare finishes like floors and walls with removable treatments to conceal unappealing industrial aspects while transforming spaces visually. Get creative with easily-reversed upgrades to make even rugged warehouses into production dream spaces.

LA Warehouse And Studio Spaces

Case Studies and Testimonials

MTM Productions opted to use a Valencia warehouse for filming their hit 80s series Remington Steele when Los Angeles studios lacked sufficient stage space. Location costs were minimized by bringing their equipment.

Gary Degalla, a location manager for the former TV show The A-Team, rented warehouse space to stand in for an airport hangar. He praised the at least $50k production cost savings, noting “We could never achieve prices this low at a formal studio.”

Future Outlook for Warehouse Filmmaking

As streaming outlets like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video accelerate their production pipelines, demand for affordable filming spaces will only climb. With LA studio availability limited, more productions will likely shift to converting warehouses. Their vast, open floorplans allow custom sets limited only by the imagination. As both a filmmaking resource and a real estate income opportunity, expect to see warehouses play a growing role in LA’s production boom.

How to rent warehouse spaces in other cities near Los Angeles

Los Angeles offers the largest inventory and ecosystem of production-oriented warehouses, but neighboring cities provide additional options that may better suit some projects. Here’s guidance on navigating the growing secondary markets nearby.

Find convenient industrial listings in nearby cities

Platforms like Loopnet readily showcase available warehouse and industrial spaces spanning wider Southern California. Filter by surrounding cities like Burbank, Glendale, or even nearby valleys to discover rental properties proximate to Hollywood. Depending on public transit accessibility or crew origins, extra commuting time may be a worthwhile tradeoff for expanded affordable space options near central LA.

Compare prices and amenities of warehouse spaces near Los Angeles

Location pricing can fluctuate dramatically even across neighboring zip codes depending on property demand dynamics. Research going rates for industrial spaces to compare relative value options accounting for space superiority and production tool readiness. Note most outlying buildings require more baseline infrastructure investment compared to more production-friendly LA conversions. Thoroughly examine complimentary amenities that could offset extra budgeting requirements though.

Get insider tips on renting warehouse spaces outside Los Angeles

Consult specialized LA real estate professionals to leverage insider knowledge regarding second-tier markets on the rise. Relative unknowns like Vernon and Commerce may offer hidden gem spaces at even steeper bargain pricing compared to traditional alternatives. Nimble production managers figure out how to operate out of surprising locations that increase budgets for actual content. Think outside central LA and discover what other communities could support your distinctive project vision. The art ultimately ends up on screen – not the originating warehouse locale.

What are people saying about leasing warehouses in CA?

With California’s massive economy and logistics infrastructure, warehouses represent an abundant commercial real estate segment – one attracting growing lessee interest. Discover key insights from those actively renting these spaces statewide.

Discover what lessees think about warehouse rentals in California

Current occupants highlight warehouse lease advantages like lower relative pricing and readily customizable blank-slate environments compared to conventional office spaces. The wide range of building ages, footprints, and location options allows for matching specialized usage needs. Lessees also praise the wealth of knowledgeable property firms and experienced landlords adept at catering to warehousing demands. While permitting complexities persist, savvy teams tap procedural navigation guidance. Overall warehouse occupants overwhelmingly report satisfactory CA leasing experiences meeting core operation requirements.

Former manufacturing plants retrofitted into multi-tenant creative offices receive frequent praise for maintaining signature industrial details while modernizing. Numerous recent reviews also highlight new Class-A Inland Empire warehouse construction, lauded for integrating ample trailer parking and contemporary power/technology amenities. Location-wise, urban-proximate warehousing supporting faster last-mile delivery garners positive feedback, though congestion and regulation drawbacks are noted.

Learn how to find the perfect warehouse listings in CA

Lessees underscore tailoring must-have criteria like power capacities, loading access, ceiling clearances, and special zoning allowances before browsing spaces. Leveraging commercial real estate advisors well-versed in local warehouse markets aids in honing options best aligning with predefined spatial and functional needs. Touring short-listed spaces clarifies potential beyond listed specifications. Following prudent vetting procedures culminates in securing ideal warehousing supporting smooth operations.


How much cheaper is filming in a warehouse versus a studio?

Warehouse spaces rent for as little as $100 per day, compared to $1,500 or more daily for major studio stages – over 90% savings.

What kind of sets can be built inside empty warehouses?

The expansive floor and tall ceilings allow construction of intricate, multi-level sets like courtrooms, apartment buildings, or even active airports.

Do warehouses offer lighting and electrical equipment for filming?

Warehouses themselves just provide the shell, but productions or vendors can bring in ample lighting grids, generators, etc. Some also have existing power infrastructure capable of handling filming.

What filming permits are required to shoot in warehouses?

Standard film permits are required, which specify allowed activities, hours, and any limitations. Permits are obtained through local agencies like FilmLA.

How can production costs be lowered when filming in warehouses?

Strategies like relying on your equipment, consolidating scenes, and finding free public parking all combine to yield major savings versus formal studio rental.

What are people saying about warehouse spaces on Giggster?

Users have praised the ease of finding exact matches for their space needs and the efficiency of the booking process on Giggster.

How can I find warehouses for lease in Los Angeles?

You can browse through our listings of warehouses for lease in Los Angeles to find the perfect space for your business or project.


As demand for streaming content surges while studio availability decreases, unconventional urban spaces offer an adaptable and affordable filming solution. With mindful planning guided by insider expertise, warehouses can provide the scenic foundations for creativity to flourish within budget.

For personalized guidance identifying and converting cost-effective warehouses tailored to your distinct production needs, schedule a consultation with me here. With over 18 years as an industry leader in the LA commercial real estate sphere, I’m driven by a dedication to helping business owners and creatives maximize their ambitions.

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