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Phil BatesInterview with Artbeats President
There are not many companies in the royalty free footage market that put out high quality film resolution content like Artbeats. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Phil Bates, President of Artbeats and talk to him about a variety topics ranging from the history of the company and where it is going, to new technologies and how the competition stacks up. Phil even touches on how to succeed in business.
DMN: Can you tell me a little bit about how Artbeats got started?
Phil Bates: We started doing stills in 1989 to address the desktop publishing market with still image backgrounds. We basically followed the evolution of the Macintosh. We went to Mac trade shows, press printing shows, things like that, and followed what the market was asking us. Eventually people started asking for textures, so we started doing photorealistic textures. I started scanning marble on my desktop scanner in the early 90s. We had a variety of products from marble and granite, to leather and fabric.
It took us a year for each product to come out. There were other companies like Photodisc that were coming out with products faster than we were. Eventually it got to the point where we knew we had to jump into something else. We were simply overwhelmed by the competition.
DMN: Were you doing all of the textures yourself or were you contracting with others?
Phil Bates: I was doing them all myself. I had support staff, but I was the one that would paint out any bit of dust or scratches that I saw. It just took along time.
Then I saw the light. What had happened with the desktop revolution would happen all over again with video. I thought, ?I can do this all over again only this time with video. I had the lessons I learned about coming out with products faster, and getting more of a crew. I basically jumped ship from stills to video with out knowing much about it.
DMN: What was your first collection?
PB: We had two options when we started; go to video or create seamless textures for surfaces mapping. We came out with a video product and a seamless textures product in early 1996. The first animated product was called ReelTextures, which is still part of our library, and still sells fairly well. Took it to our first NAB that year, and sold a ton of them.
I also got a lot of response back from people saying, ?This is really cool, but what we really need are fire, smoke, and explosions. I had to somehow make this happen.
DMN: These are still some of your most popular collections arent they?
PB: These sell very well. Fire is a very generic subject matter. One thing we have learned is the more generic the subject matter, the better it sells.
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