As promised, I’m continuing our Warner Bros. studio tour with part 2 of 3: the sound stages!
Sound stages are large…very large buildings where sets can be built inside for tv shows and movies. This way lighting and sound can be completely controlled. The sets can be as small as a bedroom or as big as a house. Or a pirate ship in a cave.
The sound stage we got to walk through during our tour was Stage 24. It’s currently used for the show “Mike & Molly”, which I haven’t watched, but it was the stage where both “Friends” and “Full House” were filmed!
Films or TV shows that do well make the plaque outside of its respective stage door.
We actually entered the stage from the door on the other end of this side of the building, which was cool because we got to see the plaque that reads “The Friends Stage”. I believe our tour guide told us that John Stamos was giving Warner Bros. a jokingly hard time that it should actually be called “The Full House Stage”.
Once inside I don’t think we were allowed to take pictures (no one was, and I thought that was weird, so it must have been a rule). But we got to sit in the audience seats where “Mike & Molly” is filmed live (where “Friends” and “Full House” had been filmed live). It was really neat to see how it’s all set up and how the crazy angles of the sets make everything look bigger on camera. I did manage to snap a picture as we were about the exit the building. You can see part of the set and just the general vibe of a sound stage interior.
In the photo above: the railing on the right is the stairs up to the audience area. I’d say it seats about 150 people? It was pretty large. All of the different sets are lined up next to each other so that the camera can just scoot straight over from one to the other. There are lots of monitors in the audience area so you can see what’s happening in camera. Josh said they film the show in sequential order since the audience needs to understand the story so that the natural sound reactions can be recorded. A taping can take six hours or so, so if you decide to go to one, be prepared to be there awhile! Here’s a photo I found of the Warner Bros. website of the floor plan of Stage 24:
Across from Stage 24 is Stage 25 where “The Big Bang Theory” is filmed. They were working on that show the day we were there. I should have taken pictures of some of the crazy expensive cars parked in these spots! Makes you wonder who was on the other side of that wall…
Next we drove by Stage 16. At 98 feet, it is the tallest stage on the lot and the tallest sound stage in North America thanks to Marion Davies and William Randolf Hearst. I highly recommend taking a minute to hear the story of how this came about in this short video.
If you watched the video you will have learned that in addition to the building being raised, the floor of Stage 16 can be removed exposing another 25 feet of depth. This is how they’ve filmed all the “water movies” like The Perfect Storm and the cave with One Eyed Willy’s pirate ship in The Goonies. The height of the building is also how they got those cool geometric aerial shots from the dances in movie musicals and how they could build an entire casino inside for Ocean’s 13.
^ Filming Poseidon in Stage 13. Photo from the Warner Bros. website.
^ The casino for Ocean’s 13 inside Stage 16. Photo from the Warner Bros. website.
Next we drove by the massive buildings where all the sets and props are built. I don’t know why I was so surprised to see this because I know all this stuff has to get made somehow, but it was this realization that at the end of the day, this is where people come to work. It also put in perspective what a massive operation goes in to making fiction look like reality.
There’s so much stuff, but you can tell it’s very organized chaos!
The last stop on our sound stage tour was the set of Central Perk from “Friends”!! Obviously the set is not on Stage 24 anymore, but they’ve moved it to a space where it can now be seen on lot tours. Everything is just as it was in the last episode, minus that supporting beam to the right there ;) But look at us! Sitting on the couch!
They even kept the chalkboard menu from the very last episode. *Tear*
And that’s it for our sound stage tour! Like I said in Part 1, the stages and sets available for viewing changes every day depending on what’s currently filming. And if you go on a weekend, you’re much more likely to see more sound stage interiors than you would during the week day when filming is happening (we were there on a Monday).
There’s still one more part left of our tour: the museum! It was featuring Batman and Harry Potter exhibits, which we were so thrilled about! Trae and I even got to sit under the Sorting Hat! Any guesses as to what houses we were put in? :)
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