Motion-Picture Studio

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Motion-Picture Studio


an enterprise involved in motion-picture production, combining the artistic and creative as pects with the production and technical processes of filmmaking.

The Soviet motion-picture studio is a self-contained production unit and is responsible for the entire process of film-making, from screenplay to print. Film studios differ according to the nature of the films they release. There are separate studios for feature, documentary, popular-science and educational, and animated films. The film crew is the principal production team in the motion-picture studio. During production the team includes not only the director and producer but also actors, artists, cameramen, sound engineers, sound-effects men and musicians, engineers and technicians, various stagehands, makeup men, wardrobe assistants, cutters, and film editors.

The script department handles everything involved in the preparation of the screenplay, from commissioning the author to the final editing of the text. During the prefilming period the actors are chosen and sketches are made for the set and costumes. Studio shops prepare the costumes, furniture, props, and all other necessary items for the film.

During the actual filming the bulk of the work is done by the set-construction, shooting, sound, lighting, cutting, editing, and processing departments (the last develops the film and prepares the final prints).

The layout of the motion-picture studio and its facilities is of prime importance in shooting the film. Much of the shooting of feature films is done on the sound stage, the studio’s main production area. The sound stage has available special electronic apparatus and various equipment to mechanize labor-consuming activities. The ceilings and walls are covered with soundproofing materials. The flies (a system of catwalks and beams, overhead electric pulleys and chains, and pinrails) are used for attaching pieces of the set, hoisting the main lighting equipment, and suspending the backdrop and lighting scaffolding. The sound stage is from 200 to 5,000 m square and from 6 to 25 m high. Some of the shooting is done on special stages and in film tanks, both within the studio and outside (“on location”). Portable equipment is used for location shots.

Numerous technical operations are performed with specialized machines in the sound mixing and rerecording booths and in the editing room. The film and outtakes are viewed, both during and after editing, in the screening room.

Documentary and newsreel studios differ from feature-film studios both in structure and in the equipment used. The bulk of the filming is done on location.

Popular-science and educational film studios combine the methods used in producing feature and documentary films with those used in animated films. A special feature of popular-science, educational, and technical films is their wide use of time-lapse, microscopic, and underwater photography.

Animated films use single-shot and multishot animation stands and specialized cameras. Film studios also release films for television broadcast.

The most important Soviet film studios are in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tbilisi, Tashkent, Riga, and Odessa. The large volume of production necessitated the formation of creative associations to assure a high level of creative leadership. These associations are responsible for the execution of production plans and the maintenance of quality. The artistic council, which is made up of the studio’s leading creative workers, discusses the screenplay, reviews the footage and the sketches for the set and costumes, goes over the music composed for the film, and evaluates the finished film.


Konoplev, B. N. Osnovy fil’moproizvodstva. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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