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Video producers launch new startup

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The owners of Springfield video production company Blend Studio yesterday officially launched a new concept after completing a beta test.

Called 417 Grip, Joe Batty and Brandon Goodwin’s new venture is an all-in-one filmmaking truck that travels within a day’s drive of Springfield. Called a grip truck in the filmmaking industry, the vehicle is outfitted with lights, stands, sandbags, cords and other equipment for video shoots.

“It saves time, and sometimes production schedules are really tight and really busy,” Goodwin said. “It’s really easy to get behind on your shooting schedule. Anything you can do to make it more efficient, it’s going to save time and money.”

Goodwin said he and Batty invested $75,000 to purchase the truck from Pennsylvania, paint it black “because that looks cooler,” outfit it with a lift gate and pay for custom interior fabrication, such as shelves, installed by DG Stewart Hardgoods LLC.

The lift gate enables the equipment, which is set on carts, to roll out directly onto sets, Goodwin said.

“You can clear the truck in 15 minutes,” he said.

During the beta test, 417 Grip was deployed for a Convoy of Hope project by Springfield video production company Locke and Stache, a Revel Advertising shoot and a Blend Studio advertising campaign for client Boulevard Brewing Co.

Goodwin and Batty hired Michael Stone to drive and unload the truck, as well as assist on sets, as needed.

“If people hire the truck, Michael comes with it,” Goodwin said.

The launch of 417 Grip comes less than a month after legislation was introduced by state Rep. Kathryn Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, to reauthorize and modify a film project tax credit in Missouri. If passed, Goodwin said the legislation would be a boon to the filmmaking industry in the Midwest.

Goodwin, a Springfield native, said the quality of filmmaking in the area has noticeably improved in the past three to five years, to the point where the Queen City is recognized along with Kansas City, St. Louis and video production on the coasts.

“I think we’re on the map,” he said.

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