Behind the scenes: DPReview moves to a new studio: Digital Photography Review Leave a comment

The DPReview video production studio in the process of being disassembled. Those wires hanging from the ceiling are part of the DMX light control system that allows us to control our Arri lights from an iPad.

If you’ve followed the trajectory of DPReview over the past few months, you know that 2023 has been a wild ride.

First, Amazon decided to close the site. Then, we operated in a surreal limbo world for a time, publishing past our announced closure date as though nothing had happened. (Yes, that was weird for us too.) Finally, on June 20th, Amazon announced the site’s sale to Gear Patrol.

Not only did DPReview find a way to live on, but we couldn’t have been more excited to join a company that so closely aligns with our values and mission.

So, here we are.

But it’s not quite that simple. As we continued to publish over the summer, many things were going on behind the scenes; one of the most significant impacts of the sale was that we needed to move out of our longtime offices and studios in an Amazon building. We were excited to find a new home to call our own, but I’m not sure we realized just how much work it would be.

Our new space has a more chilled-out vibe, with 100-year-old brick walls. The area you see here will likely be our new video production studio.

Our new space is located in a century-old building in a vibrant, historic area of Seattle and is a lot different than our previous home. Where our old studio felt a bit… corporate, our new one is more casual, with brick walls, a lot of character, and the occasional scent of restaurants wafting up from the street below. We’re still working out the best way to organize the space, but we think it will be a lot of fun, and we look forward to having you join us here virtually.

Anyone who has ever moved (and isn’t that all of us, really?) knows the process can get complicated quickly, and moving an operation like DPReview turned out to be incredibly complex.

After putting cameras and lenses into retail boxes in our testing studio, they moved to our video studio (above), where they were sorted for return to manufacturers or boxed up to move.

To start, we had to inventory hundreds of cameras, lenses and other photo gear against our equipment database to verify that everything was accounted for, then pack all of it, including accessories like batteries and straps, into retail boxes. Many of these were returned to manufacturers as part of our standard loan agreements, with the remainder packed carefully for moving.

Next, we had to physically disassemble and pack all the equipment in our studios, including lights, backdrops, stands, testing equipment, product photography gear, and even the furniture for moving. This required careful work: Arri and Kino lights don’t come cheap, and we wanted to get to the other end with everything intact.

This is our testing studio after all the equipment was moved out. Those marks on the left wall are where the studio scene used to live. We spent a lot of time in this room over the years, and I’ll admit it was a little sad to turn off the lights for the last time.

Finally, we had to unmount our studio test scene from the wall and secure it for the move across town. But nothing is straightforward: knowing the test scene might be out of commission for a few weeks, we had to shoot every available camera waiting to be reviewed before taking it down.

Oh, and we had to do it all while continuing to publish content on the site.

Thanks to a great team of movers, the process went smoothly. We even hand-carried a few particularly fragile items across town to ensure they arrived undamaged. Notably, DPReview’s old test scene made the trip in the back seat of my Subaru, and I was cautious not to hit any potholes.

With new products coming into our office every week, Richard and Brendan scrambled to set up our product photography room quickly.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll set up the studio in stages based on a prioritized list of content we need to create for you. (Jeez, I hope we can find everything…) In fact, Richard and Brendan have already set up our new product photography room so we can take photos of all the latest gear coming through our offices.

This is just the beginning, and we look forward to sharing the journey with you as we go. Stay tuned for more updates!

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