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Featured Studio Owner

Robert Hanley
Home Video Studio - Indianapolis

Date: 02/09/2015

Every day on a busy street in downtown Seattle the door to Starbuck’s very first store opens, as it did forty-three years ago, inviting customers to enter, to smell, and to sip its earthly delights. Every night tens of millions of sports fans begin their bedtime ritual by clicking on ESPN’s SportsCenter as it broadcasts from the same Connecticut location where it all began in 1979 with a small live audience. It’s comforting to know that, in a world that changes so quickly, some things built on simple principle and sheer quality still thrive from the roots up. Such is the case with Home Video Studio’s first ever and flagship studio located in the Castleton area of Indianapolis, Indiana.

One morning, over twenty-five years ago, Robert Hanley, too, opened his doors with a dream of providing “Video Services for Everyone”. Hanley had begun his video career strictly as a producer/director/editor, but he soon found that he was tiring from the “feast and famine” life of living project to project. Taking the knowledge and experience he had gained he retooled his production business into a video production services business. This new company would focus on offering video services that other production companies couldn't or wouldn't offer but that were definitely needed. Soon Hanley had created a cottage industry by focusing on transferring old 8mm, Super 8mm and 16mm films and tapes, as well as Photo Video Keepsake montages, editing, and duplication.

From this initial enterprise over sixty similar studios have launched all over the United States, Canada, and even Sweden. Yet, the principles he built this video services “empire” upon (a Star Trek fan, Hanley calls them Prime Directives) are alive and well in the daily operations of the flagship studio.

“This is a working studio,” says Hanley, “and it’s a valuable part of Home Video Studio in many ways. The first is that is a profit center. We made nearly $20,000 in January, which is typically our slowest month by far – and that was with me out of the office for a week attending the Consumer Electronics Show.”

Second, it is a way to stay in touch with the marketplace. Hanley explains: “My day could easily be consumed by the affairs of running an enterprise that has over sixty members as well as several staff members. But my office is directly above the studio, and I make it a point to be involved in the retail side of our flagship operation. Markets change, technology changes, people change…and I want to keep my finger on the pulse of our end users.”

Which brings us to the third way Home Video Studio – Castleton operates, namely as a sort of laboratory. “We have over sixty studios who look to us for new ideas, new direction, and new technology suggestions,” Robert points out. “We use our flagship location to test new equipment, different operations procedures, new software and technology…lots of things – even new advertising and marketing techniques. We have proven plans that work for the studio’s success, and they are conceived and tested here at our studio before we disperse them out to the other studios.”

Like any successful enterprise Home Video Studio – Castleton has a great team, and many of the staff there look after the studio while performing tasks for the HVS parent company as well. Hanley remains the most hands-on with marketing, advertising, and managing sales leads for the studio. Teaming with him is Bob Brown, who has known Robert from the beginnings of HVS many years ago. Bob is a sales veteran and a filmmaker and photographer in his own right. Cheryl Roy is Robert’s personal assistant and handles many accounting and administrative chores for the sixty plus studios as well. She came by Home Video Studio as a customer, liked the vibe, and came on board a short time later. Cheryl’s flagship studio duties include a lot of face-to-face time with customers taking orders and handling customer service. Devin Hall makes sure the work gets done as HVS – Castleton’s lead editor and production supervisor.

Home Video Studios continue to open around the country and the world. But it’s nice to know that the studio that began it all is still opens its doors every morning with the same convictions that it did over thirty years ago – to provide Video Services for Everyone. .

Robert Hanley
Indianapolis IN

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