Quad/Graphics' Video Production Services: Lights! Camera! Printer!March 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
Inspiration can strike at the oddest times. We often hear about the next greatest thing being imagined by its creator while in the shower, stuck in traffic on the highway, or even when cleaning out the gutters.
But, for the truly fortunate among us, there are times when opportunity knocks down the door and hits you over the head with a suggestion. And when that opportunity comes in the form of a client requesting that you augment your current product and service offerings to incorporate a new item that they will require—en masse—don't ask questions, just do it.
To be fair, Quad/Graphics doesn't fall into luck; you don't become a $4 billion-a-year performer by being in the right place at the right time. So while customers did, in fact, begin to clamor for their print provider to add video production technology to its arsenal, the 2010 development of Quad's media solutions studio in Bloomington, MN, is hardly a plug-and-play tale. One thing is certain: This is an offering that charted with a bullet.
"The writing was definitely on the walls," notes Greg Norton, video development manager for Quad/Graphics and an 18-year veteran on the creative side. "There was a big buzz about video in the industry, and customers would often ask about video and whether we had the capability."
One of the customers expressed an interest in doing high-volume product videos—how-to, in-use and demonstration segments—at the client's facility. Another sought to do "thousands" of product videos at Quad's facility. In order to make this a reality, Norton says, the concept and planning of the studio needed to be fleshed out.
"As we got into the process and the planning, we realized that high-volume video would require more than just turning on the camera, shooting video and delivering a final product," he says. "With high-volume production, you need a good workflow in place to get video production from point A to point B efficiently and effectively, all while allowing our customer to focus on their operation. They don't want to be in the video production business."
Quad/Graphics produces a wide range of videos from the Bloomington studio, which also provides photography services. Many of the videos it churns out are bound for the Internet (YouTube, for example), but customers have also requested products for other channels. Recently, Quad produced an educational DVD set that included 350-plus video segments. And the occasional furniture retailer will seek assistance for its local television marketing campaign. But more than 90 percent of its videos end up being posted on the Internet.