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Videografix: Creating corporate and industrial video

Facility standardized on Pinnacle Studio and hasn't looked back By John Virata

Steve Young co-founded his video production facility, Videografix, with Bill Rice back in 1989 when Avid was king and Internet video didn't exist. Video editing tools were very expensive, and required lots of horsepower to run. Today, his company has been creating corporate and industrial video as well as video for live events, but he hasn't invested in professional level editing systems. Rather, he has standardized on Pinnacle Systems' Studio application, working with it since version 8. In addition to its inexpensive cost of entry, one of the main reasons he chose it versus other applications is its ease of use. In this interview, Young talks about the corporate and industrial video market as well as his use of HD, and of course Pinnacle Studio.

DMN: When did your company launch? And for what markets do you serve?
Steve Young: The company was originally founded in 1989 and we used S-Video as a way to differentiate our services from the standard composite video that was prevalent at the time. We decided early on, to focus on business segments that were not going to compete with the burgeoning consumer "event videography" market of weddings and parties. We chose instead to go after local companies and the educational markets.
Today, we still focus mainly on what we term Corporate and Industrial video, but this encompasses live events also, such as tradeshows, seminars, and large audience presentations.
 
DMN: When did you decide to make the jump to HD and what kind of camera did you use? Why did you go with that model camera?
SY: Actually, we are just about to make the move to HD, and are looking at Sony Z7U cameras to supplement our aging Canon XL series cameras. In some ways it's ironic that the growth of the Internet as a delivery medium for video has actually delayed the transition to HD. The majority of our video output ends up on the web, on corporate websites, both public and private. The smaller video windows, bandwidth limitations and the suitability of the 4 x 3 aspect ratio to talking heads, have all served to extend the longevity of our SD workflow. I mentioned that the HD cameras will supplement the SD ones, not replace them, for those same reasons.
 
DMN: Do your clients specifically want HD video?
SY: In the segment of the production market place where we operate, we have had surprisingly few requests for HD to date. While that is slowly beginning to change, we have not lost out on any potential business because we didn't have HD capability in house. We have started doing HD projects for clients that ask for it, but we have contracted both the acquisition and editing capabilities on a per project basis. We think the inflection point for it to make economic sense for us to have our own equipment is approaching. Initially HD for us will be a check-mark, "yes, we can do HD", as opposed to a necessity.

Steve Young on location in the Arizona desert

DMN: During you live shoots, what is your set up? How many cameras do you shoot with?
SY: We've been involved in an ongoing series of monthly interviews for a client whose audience is primarily Indians living in the US. For these interviews we typically use a two camera set-up:the main camera for the interviewee (as well as wider shots that also include the interviewer), and the second camera with a lock-down shot of just the interviewer. The cameras are completely independent, and we use the audio channels to lip-sync the two video streams later in the edit bay. Besides the cameras, we also provide the lighting package, audio and increasingly, backdrops and props.
 
DMN: What storage systems do you work with and how about archiving, how do you archive your projects?
SY: For some time now, we've shot using Focus Enhancements FireStores (FS4-ProHD) in parallel with tape. The tapes essentially become the archival method for our source material, and the FireStore contents are copied to the work drive of the edit system. Each computer editing station has a 350GB USB2 work drive, and a 1.5TB Raid 1 (2 x 750GB) ESATA drive array as a backup. We went with Raid 1 as a safety precaution, having the material essentially double backed up in case of a disk crash.

DMN: How has the market changed for corporate video work in the last year?
SY: To be honest, we haven't noticed much of a change in the past year. As I mentioned before, the transition to HD has been slower than we expected, and this has meant that our approach has stayed consistent. Although the economy has been challenging during this year, I think we are well positioned to pick up work that has migrated down from some of the larger, more traditional production houses. So our workload and bookings have been steady, which is a good thing. 

DMN: You use Pinnacle Studio as your main editing platform. What does Pinnacle Studio offer that the pro level applications can t touch, besides the price?
SY: In a word, "Simplicity." We started using Studio when it was in version 8, and it was intended to be a stop gap while we researched an NLE to replace our Speed Razor system (the writing was on the wall for In:Sync and we knew we would have to migrate to an alternative). The price for Studio was a negative, as we almost didn't consider it an option at such a low price point. But our requirements were basic editing, short learning curve and flexibility in input and output. Studio promised all of these and, for the most part delivered on them. With version 10, the basic capabilities were comparing very favorably with the more expensive NLE's available, and we yet again delayed the decision to migrate. Version 11 was rock solid and cemented Studio as our NLE of choice. Now we've got high expectations for version 12, and so far, have not been disappointed.

DMN: How long have you been using Studio?
SY: We've been using Studio since version 8, about 5 years ago.
 
DMN: Do you do any mobile or in the field editing?
SY: We have a notebook editing station, running XP and Studio 11 that we've used to take to customer's locations, for their convenience. This works well for the most part. We are looking at the possibility of doing some on location editing of ENG style footage, which will be uploaded to out ftp: server and finished in our studio for fast turn-around for our clients.

 

You can view the Videografix demo reel and get more information about Videografix here 
 
 



 
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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
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