High-end dramas the target for new 17,500 sq ft facility

Space studios manchester space 06 cropped

The Manchester division of kit hire company ProVision has opened a 17,500 sq ft facility at Space Studios.

The ITV-owned firm has led something of a nomadic existence. It initially followed its parent company from its city centre home to Trafford Park near MediaCityUK before moving on again so that Coronation Street could turn ProVision’s building into a facilities/construction space when the soap went to six episodes a week.

Having left Corrie’s cobbles, ProVision then took up temporary shelter at the Manchester City Council-backed Sharp Project in the east of the city while new units were being built inside Space Studios Manchester, the soundstage facility previously known as The Space Project.

Space Studios, located in West Gorton and also backed by the council, is now the company’s new permanent Manchester home.

“That is definitely it for us,” says Graham Waite, Head of ProVision (pictured, below). “The ideal would have been for us to stay at Trafford Park and then move across to Space Studios when the units were ready but how everything fell with Coronation Street, we had to do a bit of shuffling around. It wasn’t an ideal situation. But I took the positives. It was a great opportunity to make new contacts.”

With the roaming complete, the company has now opened a 17,500 sq ft facility that has a bigger footprint than Trafford Park and offers some additional benefits.

“It’s a really nice open office and people can just call in and have a coffee and talk to us about what is going on,” he says. “We also have some really nice permanent test facilities which you cannot have when you are moving around.”

The firm hosted an open day this week to show off its new facility. The event featured hands-on demos and kit from a range of camera and lighting equipment manufacturers and suppliers including CVP, Arri, Sony, Red, Miller Tripods, Canon, Panasonic, Holdan and Blackmagic Design.

Graham waite photo

Capable of supplying both camera and lighting kit, Waite is hoping the new facility will help ProVision to secure more work with high-end dramas, preferably supplying all the equipment for a production as that is where the big money is.

But he acknowledges that, in some circumstances, the company can also offer producers a last-minute sticking plaster.

“As Space Studios gets busier, what we’ll have more and more is that productions on site will need support and they might not necessarily come to us for their main kit package but when things need turning around quickly - if they just need a light or a replacement camera - we can help. Clearly, our aim is to be the main provider of kit but actually, you’ve got to form a relationship first and this is a good place to start.”

In addition to its bread and butter work for Coronation Street and Emmerdale, the company is currently working on Ackley Bridge, The Forge-produced school drama for C4, and Mammoth Screen’s War of the Worlds for BBC.