A local community magazine interviews Richard DePaso, Owner and Managing Director of Aardvark Video, a Las Vegas video production company.
We shoot on location as needed. Our studio where most of the post-production gets done is located in Henderson, NV
Describe what Aardvark Video does:
Aardvark Video is a unique video production company in that we have over 20 years of prior experience managing in a large corporation so we train our staff to understand corporate objectives and agendas rather than just the creative aspects like most video companies. We work to achieve client business objectives producing video as a tool to do that.
We produce professional video for trade show events, business promos, commercials,
training, live streaming, all corporate video needs and much more. We have even done live streaming from moving vehicles, set up time lapse recording systems, done aerial video surveys of facilities and all sorts of other unusual needs.
We serve companies in the area, trade show attendees, exhibitors and also clients throughout the world when needed.
How did you decide on this industry?
This is interesting. When I first got married we had a motorcycle to have fun with. After a couple of years when our first child was due I realized that a motorcycle was good for two people, not so good for three and so I sold it. With my wife going through pregnancy it was an opportunity to document the process. I didn’t have a very good camera so I took the money from the motorcycle sale and bought photography equipment. I learned a great deal about the subject and became pretty good at it. I had a full time job managing at what is now Verizon and this was a hobby. Soon people were asking me to do photography work for them. As time went on businesses approached me and (this was before video) they asked me to produce corporate slide shows, which I did as a part time job. As time went on and our sons starting playing sports, I bought video equipment to record them and developed those skills.
Then I was transferred to New York City and was commuting 4 hours a day. With this type of schedule it took me a few years to get back on track and I didn’t do any commercial photography or video. However after several years of this I realized that I couldn’t do this commute forever and needed to develop an exit plan from my job. I decided I would start a part-time video production company that I could transition to. Because I was working full time commuting to NYC, I couldn’t do video during the week so started with doing weddings part time on the weekends. Soon I had people working for me full time on video while I was still working in the city. The business gravitated to doing predominantly corporate work. This video business actually paid for putting my sons through college. By the time I was able to retire from what is now known as Verizon in 1995, I had a video production business waiting for me.
Around 2000 our sons were living on the west coast, one in San Diego and one here in Las Vegas. Either alone or with my wife, Ginny we spent a couple of years going to both areas and spending time with real estate agents checking out neighborhoods. The property values were much better in Las Vegas and we liked the rules of gated, managed communities which kept everything looking good. That’s why we chose to locate to Anthem Country Club.
I bought a lot and went back to New York and told Ginny where we were going to live. From there I made more trips to Las Vegas and set up the business before we arrived. Initially I split the business in two leaving my staff to operate in NY. However after several years of running both businesses, I sold the NY branch to the people who worked for me.
How many people does Aardvark Video employ?
We scale up or down depending on how many crews each job needs. On average we have around 3 workers in studio but it changes. Some jobs we get require 15 – 20 crew members.
What prompted you to start your own business?
I started with photography and video as a hobby and as people asked me to do work eventually started a company in New York known as The Creators in 1987. The main reason we’ve stayed with the video business for so long is that we truly enjoy doing great work for our clients, getting their appreciation and sharing the euphoria of their success from the videos we create. Also it is much more rewarding working for yourself rather than working for someone else.
Anything extraordinary/unique that your company does:
We do quite a bit of live video streaming at events as diverse as press conferences, continuing education training seminars, Presidential candidate forums and just about anything else where the client wants to expand the audience from those who can only physically attend.
We also are very good at producing training videos where the same consistent, best practice method can be shared to an entire workforce or to customers who need to use a product.
Where our crews really expand is when we are called upon to provide the video of speakers in numerous presentation rooms at trade shows at the same time. This is where the image of the speaker is projected on large screens for all to see. Often we record the content and edit it into videos mixing the PowerPoint, if it is part of the presentation, with the speaker which can then be distributed either online or on DVDs.
We’ve done video for Microsoft, IBM, GE, Mobil Oil, Samsung, Casio, Owens Corning, Findlay Lincoln, NAB, CES, and hundreds more large and small companies than I can’t even remember.
Given your business expertise and the nature of what you do, what advice can you offer to the residents of your neighborhood?
With so much video content out, people expect video to be on websites, Facebook, Youtube, etc. If you are a business, whether it is a project we help you with or something you do on your own, it is important that you get the message on your company out telling what you do and why you do it better than your competition. People don’t want to read to learn that stuff; they want to be shown and if that is the message, convinced.
If they are a business looking to get exposure or explain what they do we tell them that a video should show what is important to solving a customer problem or need, not what they think is important.
If a client isn’t real clear on what they want to do, we can help them develop the content or sometimes advise them to practice with their smartphone or tablet until they get an idea of what they want to do and what works. Once they go through this and hone in on the message sometimes it is good enough for their use. Conversely, often they see what they’ve produced on their own may not be a professional representation of their business image and then they can come to us to get a professional result.