Spotlight: Southeast Success Stories
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
[Clockwise from Top Left]
Rick Allen of Nautilus Productions with a Sand Tiger shark on the wreck of the Caribsea, North Carolina.
Photo: Jonathan Bird, Oceanic Research Group
Skyline Post’s motion graphics and animation department did a complete re-brand for the Carolina Panthers.
There’s plenty of space to create inside the BES Studios shooting sound stages with cyc walls, dressing rooms/make up rooms, plus set construction areas.
Studio G in Action at Doppler Studios.
SPIKE’s Impact Wrestling shoots at Universal Orlando.
It would be a chicken-and-egg argument to determine which came first, Hollywood taking up residence in the Southeast or the Southeast sending enticing invitations with its growing infrastructure of studios, post facilities and rental houses. Either way, the evolution has been wondrous, profitable and entertaining. Thus, taking a different approach to our Spotlight coverage, Markee 2.0 is highlighting some of those studios, post facilities and rental businesses that help to create an endless array of television, film, commercial and marketing projects for clients all across the United States and around the world. There’s no doubt that the creativity and success of these companies will ensure the evolution continues.
|An inside view at 2BruceStudio.|
2BruceStudio in Asheville, N.C., has been making (sound)waves since opening its doors in 2007. For audio and video post-production needs, owner Bruce Sales is your guy. The award-winning composer, engineer and musician spent 15 years composing at one of New York’s most respected commercial music houses, DHMA. There he worked on albums, films, and high-profile advertising accounts such as Pepsi, Budweiser, Visa, American Airlines, and Mercedes. Along the way, Sales accumulated an impressive array of gear, instruments, SFX library, and mostly … experience. Among 2BruceStudio’s recent work is an Addy Award-winning campaign for The Grove Park Inn (Asheville), voice recording for HBO and The History Channel, and ADR for a number of films. Currently, Sales is working on audio/video post-production for Climate.gov and NOAA, as well as podcast production and engineering for SRI International and Camstar.
|BES Studios creative director gets a shot going with the
facility’s new RED camera for defense contractor SAIC.
Richmond, Va.’s BES Studios is celebrating 20 years of award-winning work in broadcast production with a focus on RED camera production from lens thru post for broadcast work including retail, historical theme programming, corporate long form, and web content. Other services include studio stage rental, grip and electric, Avid post with Motion Graphics and 3D work to original music, audio production, and website development and coding. “I think we’re in many ways the perfect size,” says Executive Producer, Mark Remes, about BES’s 10-person team, which includes Composer Doug Bischoff and Creative Director Stephen Lyons. “We’re the right size to bring plenty of creative juice to agency challenges, but not so big that you have that sterile big company feel.” Approximately 65 percent of the work BES produces today is broadcast work in spots and radio with the remainder being long form, docs, museum films, and website and web video work. “The toys and tools change constantly but the need for creative storytelling of a great narrative or a great television spot remains the same,” says Remes.
|ADR in Studio B at Doppler Studios.|
Long before Atlanta developed into “Hollywood South,” Doppler Studios was handling all things audio – from jingle creation to recording, sound design and mixing for TV and video, to ADR for film and TV, music, radio spots, narrations, podcasts, and audio books. Owners Joe Neil and Bill Quinn started with Doppler Studios in the 1970s, were key players in the subsequent growth, and purchased the company in 1996. The company’s award-winning (Grammy, Clio, and Addy awards) credits include national TV spots for Coca-Cola and AT&T; platinum albums from Pearl Jam, Kanye West and Whitney Houston; ADR for about 300 films; and recording, sound design and mixing for the zany cartoon show Squibillies for Adult Swim. Each day is a new adventure at Doppler Studios. “Atlanta is a regional center with multiple resources, corporate headquarters, a major airport, Turner’s Networks, and a quality talent pool of actors and performers that’s in demand across the country,” said Quinn. “So we have sessions like Kevin Bacon reading Buick commercials, Ludacris on Radio Shack, Morgan Freeman on Visa, Woody Harrelson reading a part for the animated film Turkeys, and Queen Latifah working on Ice Age 4.”
|Studio A at Genesis Studios.|
Cayce, S.C.-based Genesis stands out as a full-service, in-house marketing/production company hybrid able to provide turnkey services – from strategic development to media production, and every step in between. “Our facility houses two studios, a sound booth, two client-friendly edit suites and multiple edit bays,” said President/CEO Cliff Springs. “With all that under one roof, costs are kept reasonable, without compromising quality or efficiency.” Established in 1993, Springs says the company’s bread and butter is commercial advertising for local, regional and national clients. Genesis also produces documentaries and corporate films, and rents equipment and studio space. Increasingly, Springs added, clients are interested in focusing advertising and production efforts on web-based and mobile projects. Of course, Genesis can accommodate. Springs, however, is looking further into the future: “Pending the completion of a feasibility and profitability report, we are considering converting our studio space into a hover-board skate park,” he joked.
|Midtown Video’s popular Canon Cinema EOS C-300 with
30-300 lens offered for rental and sale.
For all of their video production rental, sales, and system integration needs, DPs in Florida – and even those from the Caribbean and South America – have turned to Midtown Video in Miami, Fla., since 1984. According to Midtown Executive VP and co-founder Debby Miller, by providing state-of-the-art video and multi-media equipment and friendly, knowledgeable personal attention to customers, Midtown has built relationships with clients including national and international production and post-production companies, broadcast and cable networks, local television stations, major corporations, schools and universities, medical centers, and houses of worship. The company provides access to more than 100 of the finest manufacturers in the professional video and AV-IT industries, as well as highly knowledgeable staff. Plus, Midtown produces a monthly live Internet video broadcast, the .videoshow with Jesse Miller where they demo the newest gear and interview production personalities. “Being early adopters was in our DNA,” says Miller. “We were the first in so many important areas other than basing a business on video when film was king.”
|Nautilus Productions’ videographer Lawrence Taylor documents
the Mystery Mardi Gras Shipwreck.
Photo: Rick Allen, Nautilus Productions
Rick Allen, of Fayetteville, N.C.-based Nautilus Productions LLC, broadcast video producer and cinematographer, has been producing documentaries and shooting video since 1983. As a video producer, director and HD videographer his work has appeared on ABC, A&E, BBC, CBS, Discovery and other networks. In 1997, Allen opened his own video production company focused on documentary production, as well as providing freelance HD production and underwater video services to broadcast, corporate and government clients. Nautilus Productions has produced documentaries for the National Geographic International, the Canadian History Channel, North Carolina Public Television, Texas A&M, the Louisiana State Museum and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management among others. Further, Nautilus is the exclusive licensor of footage from Blackbeard the Pirate’s flagship – the Queen Anne’s Revenge. “We truly love what we do and it shows in our work,” says Allen. “We are selective about the projects and clients we take on and truly believe that because we care about both we do a better job; and we continue to build repeat business as a result.”
|Skyline Post has worked on a number of spots for Sears/Craftsman.|
Established in 2005, Skyline Post in Greenville, S.C., works in commercial production and post, mostly for commercials and for marketing firms. Owners Randall Owens and George Wise have an advertising commercial production background and started Skyline while working for a large advertising agency. As an agency executive producer, Owens realized there was an opportunity for a high-end production and post company in the partners’ midsize market. “We began to see a couple of our larger clients buying Final Cut edit systems and DSLR cameras in order to create in-house production departments. This effectively eliminated their need to be dependent on professional production companies for their projects,” said Owens. “We decided to make an investment in equipment to solidify our position at the high end of the market, above the capabilities of the DSLR and in-house guys.” Recently, Skyline’s motion graphics and animation department did a complete re-brand for the Carolina Panthers broadcast TV and in-stadium motion graphics. The company also completed several national commercials for Sears/Craftsman.
Three Point Oh!
|Pitsco education producer oversees classroom shoot
by Three Point Oh! in Greenville, S.C.
For HD Video shooting and editing for broadcast, corporate and legal, network news ENG and SAT interviews, and custom web design, Greenville, S.C.-based Three Point Oh! Inc., has been there since 1995. Following 15 years in television, owner Jack Marks started a video production company – DreamWeaver Productions. He soon learned clients usually needed more than just a video and found himself going to outside services to get 3D graphics created, still pictures taken, or animation. The people with whom Marks found himself partnering joined forces with him in 1995 and they rebranded as Three Point Oh!. In 2002, he bought out his partners and has been the sole owner since. Today, Marks divides his services among corporate production (45 percent), broadcast (25 percent), legal (15 percent), and web design (15 percent). Recent and award-winning projects completed by Three Point Oh! include an Interactive Michelin Tire Marketing CD when interactive wasn’t a household word, nor was compressing video and putting it on CD; A Ryan’s Family Steakhouse armed robbery prevention (re-enactment) video (award winner); covering the Democratic and Republican Conventions for CBS (2008), and for FOX News (2012).
|Trailblazer works with DIY Network on the Salvage Dawgs series.|
Trailblazer owners Tom Waring and his brother-in-law Rick Duffield purchased two smaller companies and formed Trailblazer Studios in December 2001. Their areas of service include entertainment (original programming), production, post, music and sound, and sound stage rental. The company’s partners, as Waring refers to his clients, include Figure 8 Films, Scripps (DIY, HGTV), McKinney, Glyph Interface, and Ignite Social Media. Recently, Trailblazer helped Figure 8 Films post-produce much of the content for TLC’s Jon and Kate + 8, 19 Kids and Counting, and Sister Wives. The company also recently helped Discovery with Winged Planet, the U.S. version of BBC’s award-winning Earth Flight series. Currently, Trailblazer is co-producing with Figure 8 Films a new series for DIY called Salvage Dawgs. “We work all over the country: TV networks on both coasts; music/sound and independent producers nationally,” said Waring. “Our agency clients are mostly in the Southeast for production and the Carolinas for post. … We focus on creating and delivering content, regardless of the medium or delivery channel. Clients enjoy working with our talented artists, our professionalism, and relaxed atmosphere to deliver national quality work.”
|MTV’s inBetweeners was shot on a Universal lot.|
According to Pamela Tuscany, vice president/general manager for Universal Studios Florida Production Group, the Studio Facilities division of Universal Studios Florida opened for business in October 1988 as the first operating element of the resort. Establishing itself as a major theatrical and television production facility in the Southeast, the Studio facilities directed efforts toward attracting lucrative feature filming and commercial production. The studio’s footprint includes all production needs from stages and backlots to production offices, plus access to top casting, trucking, lighting, craft services, and equipment rental to four-wall and newly operational webcasting production. The facility has hosted productions too numerous to mention (Ok, we will mention a few: Tooth Fairy 2, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, SPIKE’s Impact Wrestling, Golf Channel’s Feherty and Big Break, and MTV’S inBetweeners.), but “No matter what the end product or user, good production value goes a long way,” says Tuscany. “Even webcasting, an area of business development we have placed front and center – is demanding higher level production value, including audio. A controlled soundstage environment insures this level of quality.”