By Kevin Collison
Tucked in a quiet corner of the Westside is a nondescript building on Holly Street that houses some of the latest technology and talented staff in the growing downtown production and advertising industry.
It’s been a year since 8183 Productions opened in its new space in a former data center building, and with the aid of a sophisticated motion-control robotic arm camera, it’s producing images for a host of major clients.
“Downtown is where the the arts and advertising industry exists,” said Ryan Hill, owner of the firm. “I’m in the type of industry that needs to be on people’s radar. If I’m in southern Johnson County, I won’t be top of mind.”
And Hill’s firm is in the minds of advertisers working with such names as AMC Theaters, Garmin, Pepsico, Frito Lay, Helzberg Jewelry, Wendy’s and Bose.
It’s been a creative career journey for Hill. The St. Louis native moved to Kansas City in 2008 after getting his degree in graphic design from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
After his first job fell casualty to the Great Recession, he began working as a wedding photographer. He started his own studio called Blixt in 2010 focusing on wedding and portrait photography.
A year later, as his photography began to move more into commercial advertising, he formed 8183 Studio to emphasize that side of his work. The business was in the East Crossroads when the opportunity to relocate to larger quarters came up.
Hill now employs five full-time people including his wife, Courtney Hill, who serves as the company CFO. He also has two-dozen freelancers who work with him regularly depending on the job.
The firm recently rebranded itself as 8183 Productions and is know for what’s called table-top production work.
Subjects, often from the food and beverage industry, are displayed and photographed to be used in larger commercials. The studio includes a full kitchen where fresh foods are prepared for the photo sessions.
The recent purchase of a Phantom camera and motion control robot has allowed the work of 8183 Production to match or exceed many of the large-scale production companies found on the coasts, according to a release from the firm.
The firm was selected recently for the motion control work on the highly anticipated music video “Face Off” featuring The Rock, Tech N9ne, Joey Cool, and King Iso, as well as a VANS shoes campaign that will premiere in February.
“The ability to be a part of the team to help grow 8183 into a full production house and to be able to offer this sophisticated level of services has been exciting,” Caleb Brattrud, producer and director, said in a statement.
Hill said his goal over the next couple years is to continue to grow the size of his staff and its services to clients.
“We want to hire more full-time people and create a team that will enable us to do bigger and better jobs to the point of multi-million dollar television spots.
“I’d love to continue to grow our production space to handle larger jobs.”
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