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507th Airborne Re-Fuel Mission

A conversation with Insight Visual Media Production’s Cooper Ross

By Amanda Dake-Pittenger

I am sure you have seen them- the breathtaking images that give us a birds-eye view of the rapidly expanding skyline of Oklahoma City.  As soon as any of Insight Visual Media Productions photos are published, they seem to go viral across all social-media outlets in Oklahoma City and beyond.  After just one look at their work it is easy to understand just why they are quickly becoming an Oklahoma media sensation.

So just what is Insight Visual Media Productions (IVM)? In simplest terms, they create attention grabbing visual media.  IVM is first and foremost a video production company but more often than not their clients’ needs don’t stop there.  They also offer web design, still photography, logo branding and online-community management services. IVM’s mantra has been to produce the best looking visual materials at a price that the average company can actually afford. So far, this model has been working well for them.

IVM is using state of the art equipment and software to produce visual materials that captivate any audience through creative and intuitive storytelling and stunning visual images. You won’t find any dusty film rolls or 80′s corporate music libraries at their studio. They’re fresh, they’re digital and they rock. From motorized time-lapse dollies and gyro stabilized aerial rigs to high-speed cameras and a new Canon EOS C300, they offer an arsenal of visual equipment not previously available in the Oklahoma City market.

Cooper Ross, a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma and Edmond resident is the Director of Photography and President of IVM.  While studying for a degree in Public Relations, Cooper gained an attraction for broadcast media. During and after college he worked at KWTV News 9, beginning as an associate producer and eventually settling into a position on the assignment desk.

According to Cooper, working the assignment desk in a news room is really all about trying to manage a constant state of chaos. “It’s the air traffic control tower of the newsroom, so to speak.” During those years in the newsroom, Cooper had an opportunity to learn an incredible amount about our great state; he made some great connections and, most importantly, he learned how to manage the workflow of major news stories from script to screen.

Ironically, his decision to start Insight Visual Media Productions stemmed from his subsequent career in commercial real estate. Many of his clients today can be traced back to his connections in real estate.

When Cooper made the decision to leave commercial real estate in the middle of a huge recession to start a production company everyone thought he was crazy. Everyone but his wife, that is. “She has been a huge help and has been fully supportive from the outset,” Cooper says. “She’s my best friend and I consider her one of the most important reasons for our success today.”

While Cooper has a strong journalism background he never even picked up a real camera until about 2 years ago. Determined to make it work he purchased a series of technical training books and that’s literally how he learned everything. There were certainly some odds stacked against him and, of course, he knows he still has a lot of hard work ahead, but Cooper is excited about the fact that his best work is yet to come.

Insight Visual Media consists of Cooper and two full time employees, for now.  They are seeking to hire two more full time positions – a Creative Director and a Web Developer.  “I’m wearing a few too many hats at the moment.”  Cooper feels it is “surprisingly difficult to fill these positions because larger, sexier markets tend to vacuum out most of the production talent from our state.” That being said, according to Cooper, there is some really good work coming from a few production companies in Oklahoma City and he is proud to be on the same level after only being in business for such a short time.

The current IVM project roster is filled with diversity- everything from children’s boutique clothing stores to Fortune 1000 oil and gas exploration companies. IVM’s niche, though, would be economic development-related marketing for various city municipalities and their respective chambers and or economic development agencies. This type of work as well as their oil field projects often involves helicopter aerial photography, which is one of Cooper’s favorite things to do. “Assisting in the marketing efforts of several municipalities around the state,” Cooper says,” is an opportunity to give back to a state that has given me so much.”

Another project that Cooper is really excited about is a youth hunting show they are producing called Young Wild. “It’s the only show of its kind in the nation and we are beginning to see some real sponsorship traction with it”, He says. Young Wild is set to debut this fall.

While the assignments are clearly a lot of fun and produce amazing visual results, there are challenges and dangers associated with the job.  Cooper was asked to recall what has been his most challenging shoot to date:

“I was shooting some time-lapse sequences for a campaign we recently finished for Edmond Electric and I had a hair-brained idea to ask the owner of the old Rodkey’s Flour Silo in Edmond if I could get on top of it. The only way up was using a 100-year old rickety steel ladder. There are is also a series of concrete cut-outs you have to squeeze through on the way up and I literally had to shove my tripod and gear bag through each hole before I could fit through.  Once I reached the top, I was staring down at 150 feet of ladder with Jello forearms and had what I’m pretty sure was a hernia. Then I realize there is an electric winch with plenty of cable to reach the bottom of the silo. I could have just sent the wench down to pick the gear up. Needless to say the trip down was much easier”.

Because of the nature and unique quality of IVM’s work, they have the opportunity to work on amazing projects in a wide variety of settings.  Cooper’s favorite project so far has been working for Cactus Drilling.  He recalls spending several days shooting various rig sites in the western Anadarko Basin and explains that “it was such a cool experience”.

“I’m truly fascinated with the drilling industry. The equipment, the lifestyle, the industry jargon, the technology – I find it awe-inspiring, the sheer size and complexity of it all.” Cooper continues, “it costs $25,000 a day just to drill a little 5” hole in the ground.”

Some of his Cactus Drilling oilfield work is being featured in a national energy publication and he has recently been hired by Denver based, Cimarex Energy to shoot for their annual report to shareholders.

While Cooper has had amazing experiences so far in his business, he says he would love to have the chance to spend a couple months photographing the northern lights. However, with two wonderful little children and a wife who insists that their vacations include sandy beaches and warm water, he doesn’t think an Alaskan vacation is anywhere in the foreseeable future.  But a man can dream, right?

To learn more about Insight Visual Media Productions or to see more of their photographic genius, you can go to their website at www.goivm.com or follow them on facebook.  We are excited to see what further greatness comes from yet another amazing Oklahoma-based business that is leading the visual media industry in creativity, style, and ingenuity.

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