Michael Vossler started his production company in his basement 18 years ago because he’s always burned with creativity. Beginning with the creation of background music and small productions in the early years, ideas always just came to him and he has continually possessed a passion to present them innovatively through the digital medium.
What interested him less was the technology to display his creations.
“Evolve really helped us start pulling the pieces together that would make sense for us. And that’s not only equipment but workflow and the staffing we were going to need.” ~Michael Vossler, Founder
“Technology is something that we know we have to use all the time and be experts at, but it’s not something that is our primary focus. So, we’ve really had to hack a lot of stuff on our own and figure it out,” said Vossler. And that worked for a long time as Vossler Media Group of Kirkland, Washington expanded and grew and increasingly took on larger scale and more advanced projects through the years. Then with Covid and the explosion of virtual productions, Vossler and his team, which includes his two brothers Jonathan and Nathaniel, began to scramble to find the right equipment to offer virtual capabilities to their clients.
That’s how they hit upon Evolve Technologies.
“We found them in a national search for some gear so we could test out the technology,” he recalled. Evolve Founder Tyler Mann made a trip to Washington to see if the two companies could work together. “I was immediately struck by Vossler’s world class production facility and excited by Michael and Dan’s passion to dive head-first into virtual production,” remembered Mann who recalls noticing a room during the facility tour that he thought would be perfect for small virtual productions. “I said ‘why don’t we put something here so both our companies can gather knowledge and hopefully generate some revenue.’ Michael smiled, we shook hands, and the rest is history,” said Mann. Evolve then supplied LED panels, a motion tracking system, the servers, and all the infrastructure behind the scenes. What Vossler didn’t expect was the customer service and partnership that came with their involvement with Evolve. “When we’re on the phone with them, they’re excited to troubleshoot with us. They ask ‘what can we do? What if we did this?’ Instead of saying ‘Oh no, it’s them again,” said Vossler. At the same time Evolve runs its own lab in Atlanta where new equipment is continually tested. So, if the Vossler team has difficulties with a piece of equipment, the problem can be replicated in Evolve’s lab to help find a solution. “Virtual production is such a new genre with so many emerging technologies that you must be willing to experiment and learn. Working with Vossler has given Evolve more experience to dig into the details of virtual production, experiment with new technology, and troubleshoot issues that come up and find the best way to work within the limits of the existing solutions,” explained Brian Macauto, Evolve’s resident virtual production expert.
“When we’re on the phone with them, they’re excited to troubleshoot with us. They ask ‘what can we do? What if we did this?’ Instead of saying ‘Oh no, it’s them again!” ~ Michael Vossler, Founder
Vossler’s Business Development Director, Dan Kretz, had no idea the level of involvement Evolve would have with them. “Hey, let’s just rent a projector and see how it goes and that quickly turned into them [Evolve] being our biggest partner in all of this and really a team member.”
Evolve Experts At-the-Ready
Vossler recalls that they had talked to quite a few integrators and distributors throughout the country before finding Evolve. He likens virtual productions to the Wild West since it’s so new in the production world and they had pulled together a few productions on their own using LED walls. Yet, it was still so new that they felt inadequate. “After talking with Evolve’s Brian Macauto and Brittany Phillips who are experts at virtual production, they really helped us to start pulling the pieces together that would make sense for us. And that’s not only equipment, but workflow and the staffing we were going to need,” said Vossler. When Vossler Technologies executed its first real production with the virtual technology, Vossler says pulling it off seemed nothing short of impossible. The gear arrived on Thursday with the shoot the following Tuesday.
“I think they listen. I really think that they want to know what our business plan is and what our needs are. They listen to that and then help us and that’s kind of cool. It’s rare.” ~ Dan Kretz, Business Development Director
“We had to set this up, learn how to use it and Evolve was right there with us. They sent their team out here and they worked long hours and helped us figure it out and get everything working and then supported it as we ran it. And it ended up being a complete success,” said Vossler.
Try Before Buying
With the rapid evolution of technology, Vossler says it’s difficult to select equipment not knowing how soon it will be obsolete. “What Evolve has allowed us to do is rent some stuff, try it out, put it on some productions and see if it works or not. Some of it does some of it doesn’t,” said Vossler, “but we can lean into their expertise.” “I probably call Brian every other day. Every time I call, he’s happy to talk and loves going through the virtual production stuff,” said Kretz. “Vossler has been a great company to work with. They are extremely technical and fun to engage with which makes supporting them fun and exciting,” said Macauto. Vossler notes Evolve’s huge inventory of equipment creating availability of gear right when it’s needed– unlike some companies who are experiencing a supply shortage of equipment.
We Know We Can Call Them
Vossler expresses that his company is in the “content making business” and doesn’t necessarily want to become experts in technology. He’s thinking about scale and replicating what they’re doing and continuing to grow the business. “I feel confident that Evolve is there and they can deal with the scale. We know we can call them and when we need a bigger and bigger setup and the next piece, we can have them there and they can help us navigate and get us the right tool at the right time.” “I think they listen. I really think that they want to know what our business plan is and what our needs are. They listen to that and then help us and that’s kind of cool. It’s rare,” said Kretz.