The secret lair of Hans Zimmer, from where he inspires the world

The secret lair of Hans Zimmer, from where he inspires the world
The secret lair of Hans Zimmer, from where he inspires the world photo

Image by Stuck in Customs
See the FULL STORY at…

I Approach my Quarry!

Six days ago I was up at 3 AM, listening to Hans Zimmer while editing photos, and then I had an idea for a project with him, so I made a blog post. Now, less than a week later, I was in his studio in California!

For those of you that don’t know who Hans Zimmer is, he’s, like, the Liger of composers. He did the soundtrack for The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King, Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, and many more! In fact, back when I was in college and had a double major in Computer Science and Geophyisics (I dropped the Geophysics bit after a fight with the professor), I commandeered the SGI machine in the Geology department to make a computer animation, and I set the whole thing to one of Zimmer’s songs from Backdraft called "Burn it All". So, in short, I’ve had Hans Zimmer’s music in my head for about 20 years.

The Story of How I Got Into Hans Zimmer’s Studio

It’s because of you! We have millions of visits here on the blog every month, and you all know how thankful I am for your repeat patronage. It’s tough to get a pretty photo up every day, and I thank you for all your feedback! So, when I put out the call in my newsletter, I got a ton of responses. My math-guess was that I was one or two degrees away from Hans, especially since there are many creative-types that are regular visitors.

Also, many of you hyper-active types (like me!) talk to me, ask questions, and follow me on Twitter — thank you for being responsive to real-time requests and news.

About an hour after I sent out the newsletter at midnight, I got a response from a German gentleman (name private) who is friends with Hans! In fact, he told me he was going to see Hans the next day at his studio near Hollywood! He did a few things to help out, and, although I could not meet Hans today, I did get an amazing opportunity to take photos of his studio. I knew I could make his studio look the way it feels — I had a sublime confidence I could make it happen. Anyway, I was like a kid in a candy store. I got a ton of shots… I only had time to process four of them.

Hans Zimmer’s Studio

I don’t know if words do it justice, but I hope these photos do.

The studio is even bigger than I thought, and I was reminded of the Crimson Lounge in Chicago. In fact, I pulled up the image on my laptop there on the table to compare textures and light. I thought everything worked well together — the decadence and richness of the decorations integrated with the technology. I don’t know if there is a word for such a look… It’s something out of a Phillip Pullman novel, somewhere between Steampunk and Techno-boudoir. Again, words fail.

The first two photos I have placed on Flickr. You can click on them to go to Flickr and then zoom into the full-res size. Amazing details — especially in the chair photo. I’ll post more in coming weeks, months, and years, as usual. So, stay tuned in my this ongoing quest!

from Trey Ratcliff at

76 Responses to The secret lair of Hans Zimmer, from where he inspires the world

  1. evankok says:

    Lovely interior shot!

  2. Stuck in Customs says:

    Here are the other shots:

    The Chair


    The Back Room

  3. mudpig says:

    i can smell the scotch and cigars from here… rich imagery

  4. Dustin Hardwick says:

    very nice atmosphere and great perspective. the textures came out well.

  5. d.norwood says:

    Gorgeous, Trey. Thanks for letting us take a peek into the "Lair of the Liger!"

  6. ĵüŋđŶ says:

    perfectly framed and the warmness of the image is just contagious!

  7. StephenZacharias says:

    So whats the deal Trey. Your the image master and he’s the musical master! I take it somehow you want to combine the two for a spectacular show of somekind?! (ie put some music to the photos in some format)

    The image is incredible by the way.

  8. basiljonez (moving on) says:

    That is amazing news! Go Trey!!

  9. AGrinberg says:

    Wonderful interior photo and a great story!

    That’s quite a large amount of electronics for making music – interesting to think of what a voice and 1 guitar can do, in contrast.

  10. Stuck in Customs says:

    hehe thanks… d norwood funny

    Kieran — no no – I don’t know anything about playing music… My son plays piano, but that is about it.

  11. StephenZacharias says:

    I guess I’ll have to stay tuned. I was thinking this Hans would do the music somehow although if your son is a maestro all the better!

  12. Boris Mitendorfer Photography says:

    Wonderful place to relax. Textures and details pop up perfectly, I can almost feel, like I am there already. I just need a book, perhaps one from your list, Trey… :)

    P.s.: I see small KungFu Panda on left side! :) Great.

  13. kth_friend says:

    wow, what a great studio, and great shot, is that your laptop on the table with another shot showing ?

    wow tons of electronic gadetry… imagine all the wires hidden behind the recesses… I wonder if he has to reboot occasionally…

    Great shot, with great textures and details..

  14. Stuck in Customs says:

    Thanks all :)

    Yes that is my laptop ! :)

  15. Goldenboi24k says:

    I love the macbook in the pic !!!

  16. Demodragon says:

    Woooow so we finally see your laptop… well I guess I have to give me an oportunity to hear at his music…

    your shot? Amazing as always!

  17. RopeD says:

    Most Excellent Photo!!
    One day if I grow up I to will have robots guardian my fireplace :)

  18. Julien Denoyer says:

    Amazing as always…enough said!

    [ via Julien Denoyer’s contacts on flickriver  –Julien Denoyer ]

  19. clspeace says:

    This is great, thanks!!! I especially love Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 soundtracks – I listen to them all the time.

  20. Mr.Enjoy says:

    Fantastic Trey…love the rich texture and hot colours!
    Amazing symmetry btw…

  21. Michael Bolognesi says:

    Thats stunning Trey. Awesome colors and processing, very moody. Impressive studio lounge indeed.

  22. Lee Welton says:

    Wow fantastic post.

  23. fortisdr says:

    Absolutely amazing views. "Wow" at Hans Zimmer studio. Lighting, textures, colours – everything is conveyed in a way to feel the inspirational side of masterpieces by H.Zimmer. OT: my fav is Rainman OST

  24. Haaghun - Follow me on Facebook !!!! says:

    wow, he really can be VERY inspired !!

  25. Dave DiCello says:

    Wow, incredible series here Trey!

  26. Raymond Larose says:

    Love the post work on this – a most excellent shot!

  27. Photomike07 / says:

    Very cool. You’ve got a great following and thats awesome how it worked out. Looks like a cool place to hang out. Nice work as always!

  28. fragbert says:

    You captured the warmth and old-world feel perfectly.

  29. balera007 says:

    The beauty of life is freedom, that of choosing a successful and when you step involves, on the ground and the person with the right parameters are equally distributed, and that catches my attention, for its beauty, and my having the last laugh in every detail, and if you find my comment is so good.

  30. Kartik J says:

    Wonderful lair :) Well captured and thanks for the information.

  31. says:

    Wow, this is awesome! I am a huge Hans Zimmer fan, listening to the Rock soundtrack now!

  32. adamcress says:

    Can you post a larger size of the opposite side with the piano?

  33. bermrunner says:

    Great subject/location and your images, as always, complimenting it wonderfully. An insight into another’s world, otherwise, never seen.

  34. CC Chapman says:

    Beyond awesome!

  35. Jeff_B. says:

    Amazing series! I am in Moog Analogue Heavan! WOW! Now this is a studio!

  36. B.I.L.NYC says:


  37. Coltrane042 says:

    I need one of these setups at my home ;)

  38. Termin8er - Computer having hiccups says:

    That is way too cool of an opportunity. It stands to reason a place as magical as this would have an actual wood burning fireplace,

    I see Kung Fu Panda, Tom Cruises helmet from Last Samurai and a poster of Maria from Metropolis in the main photo.

    Seen in my contacts’ photos. (?)

  39. lagpres says:

    Lovely interior shot!

  40. rgallant_photography says:

    Looks very cozy!

  41. stevenbulman44 says:

    Congratulations on Explore, this is unique

    b>Post this magnificent shot to the Exemplary Shots – Flickr’s BEST GROUP Exemplary Shot - LOGO copy

    Exemplary Shots – Flickr’s BEST (Post 1 Award 3)

    Please JOIN US and post this wonderful picture !!!



    You have been invited to post your photo
    at Better Than Good.

    By accepting this invitation, you agree to
    comment on 2 other images in the group pool.

    Please share this wonderful picture with the group b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l (award2)

  42. hermosawave says:

    Yeah, Hans’ studio is crazy!

    Beautiful shots in there, seems like he has EVEN MORE Moog modules than when I was there about 2 years ago.

  43. susan_r4 says:

    Wow! All these shots are fantastic Trey – what a cool place!!

  44. dmarty78 says:

    One word, Spectacular!!!

  45. Image By Design Works ﺕ says:

    Oh my gosh ~ this is A M A Z I N G ~ just looked at every little detail in original size and I’m amazed. I’d love to see the other side of the room with the piano posted so we can view it in its original size too! (Hint-Hint) Also, the image that is on your laptop looks like it is an intriguing shot as well. You moved it (lap top) for the piano shot I see. (:

  46. Mangini Adalberto & Laura (catching up) says:

    amazing experience! great story and shot!

  47. when_night_falls says:

    That was a wicked place!
    Cool shot also, btw.

  48. Lucy_Hill says:

    Wonderful deep red colours Trey!

  49. Peter Gorges says:

    Awesome Trey, glad I could help! Peter

  50. DigitalSLG says:

    These are fantastic! Congrats on the photo op.

    Seen in my contacts’ photos. (?)

  51. Dan Cselinacz Photography says:

    Gorgeous shots man. Pretty awesome you were able to get into his studio!

    Seen in my contacts’ photos. (?)

  52. Shoeven says:

    looks freaking amazing! nice job!

  53. EtienneSA says:

    Great Scot !!! What Great Shots !!!

  54. BornTo says:

    great hdr use! i find this work amazing

  55. Paraic Brennan says:

    Brilliant- and the photo on the macbook is a nice touch.

  56. Strife Onizuka says:

    This is the sort of detail rich space I just love. It screams personality.

  57. suliman almawash says:

    Wonderful shot !!

  58. LOlandeseVolante says:

    How gorgeous is this! The colors are amazing!

    Seen in Explore.

  59. rashundrayton says:

    I love his music! Thanks for a glimpse into his world!!

  60. SGCampos says:

    im stunished ! espectacular!

  61. Benidorm's Bastard says:

    Dude, Nice HDR

  62. says:

    Congratulations on making it on Explore…very interesting pic by the way;0)

  63. Moogulator says:

    brilliant work!!

    the last one you posted – is it available in HD somewhere? max resolution?

  64. karl.simpson says:

    An amazing workspace, brilliantly captured as usual. So jealous.

  65. Pixel Boy128 says:

    Wick Cool Shot!!!

  66. butch leitz says:

    You are my winner!
    Please add this photo to

  67. wayansam says:

    Awesome everything about these shots….the perfect interior imagery.

  68. SF Brit says:

    Where are the Oscars?

  69. ~MissLilly~ says:

    Congratulations!!! It’s really an inspiring place, thank you for sharing this photos with us :)

  70. traxor says:

    I think there’s only one word for that: extravagant.

  71. pureanduncut says:

    Just wow! Its like that room was built around the Moog! I know it isn’t the main focus but it dosn’t fit the room, the room fits it!

  72. lungstruck says:

    What an amazing room! Beautifully captured.

  73. studiodragon says:

    Wirklich gemütlich, danke …

  74. NicoPedia says:

    Congrats for the decorateur ! I notice a lot of baroque elements mixed with asian influences and floral motives… I would’ve chosen different light settings and ornaments, but that kind of redwood (is it?), the bookshelves and exquisit lofty and fancy stationary are inherent to a stylish mind of a great composer :) Lucky you to have wandered around there

  75. StormbloodCuriosities says:

    Hans Is absolutely inspiring to listen to! Wonderful work!

    Stormblood Curiosities
    A Curiosity Shoppe of the Remarkable, Unfathomable & Flabbergastable

  76. Leoraul's Old Account says:

    Great photo! Just came up while listening to The Dark Knight soundtrack on Images of Music (iPad App).

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