Issue: February 1, 2009


As I write this letter, an estimated two million people have gathered at the National Mall in Washington, DC, hopeful that the incoming administration will bring “change” to our nation and its struggling economy. There is optimism and excitement over the possibilities the future holds, but for those who’ve already lost jobs or seen retirement funds take catastrophic hits, there is also much concern.

Sean Safreed of San Francisco’s Red Giant Software says his company has the same worries as many others, and realizes “that it is going to probably be a tough year.”

Fortunately, Red Giant hasn’t seen a significant slow down since the financial crisis of last September. The company’s software delivery methods — 98 percent are via download — keep them from having to house inventory, which helps to reduce overhead. “It really isn’t a huge necessity to create a lot of product,” says Safreed, “and that makes it easy to stay light.”

Despite all the fears, Quantel reports its sales are holding up well. “In fact, we have just turned in our best first quarter for some time,” notes Quantel’s Roger Thornton. “However, I think the sensible view is that we should all prepare for the worst in the medium term by closely containing costs, while doing everything we can to make it turn out for the best.”

Thornton feels there are opportunities out there for Quantel and the industry as a whole, particularly in the area of stereo3D and Red camera workflows.

Clark Dunbar of HD stock provider Mammoth HD acknowledges things are slow, but says his company is using the time to expand its library of HD and Red footage. “We are working to catch up on the backlog of material already in-house, and we have our current talent base out shooting and sending in new material, along with adding new talent to the stable.”

And Andrew Satinoff, owner/Avid DS artist at North Avenue Post in Atlanta, says that while they’ve seen a slight drop off from corporate and agency clients, their broadcast promo work has been as steady as ever. “It may have to do with the fact that people are staying home, watching TV,” he says.