Reel Factory: A Decade of Pioneering Vision in Advertising

From humble beginnings to becoming a dominant force in the advertising industry, Reel Factory has marked its 10th anniversary with a celebration of its journey, achievements, and aspirations. The company recently unveiled a promo video encapsulating its decade-long adventure in advertising.

The Genesis of Reel Factory

The story began in 2005 when co-founders Dan Watkins and Hamish Trott, fresh out of South Seas Film School, embarked on individual paths before their shared vision brought them together. While Dan ventured into TVNZ’s Production Unit, Hamish delved into live sports broadcasting with Sky Sport. Yet, their passion for innovation and better filming techniques remained a common thread.

Their pursuits saw Hamish introducing NZ’s first Phantom Flex Super Slow-Motion camera for live sports. In contrast, Dan, inspired by a stills camera rigged under an RC single-rotor helicopter, pioneered one of the world’s first multi-rotor drone platforms for film use.

In 2013, over a beer, the duo merged their shared passion and expertise, leading to the birth of Reel Factory. Their vision was clear: establishing a television and commercial content production house that stood out, equipped with the best-specialized cinema equipment.

Three people standing next to each other in a field, representing Reel Factory's visionary advertising.
Decade of Reel: How Reel Factory Revolutionized the Advertising Realm

A Journey of Growth and Innovation

Starting in a modest 50m2 factory in Rosedale, the duo’s dedication and innovative approach quickly garnered attention. Working directly with clients and ad agencies, Reel Factory’s unique model of owning specialized equipment allowed them to produce high-quality content that set them apart.

As the company expanded, so did its team. Marc McCarthy, their first employee, is now a senior colorist, heading the post-production department. Dan fondly mentions, “Marc is one of our greatest assets. He’s pretty much a brother to us.”

Reel Factory’s growth trajectory saw them moving to a larger office on Orbit Drive, continuously investing in cutting-edge tech, and building a full-time in-house team, a rarity in the production house landscape.

Achievements and Aspirations

Over the past decade, Reel Factory has worked on diverse projects, from showcasing New Zealand for Tourism New Zealand to shooting Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop trailer. Their recent delivery of a TV show to TVNZ marks another milestone.

The future looks even brighter. The company aims to play on a global stage with construction underway for New Zealand’s largest commercial production facility. Hamish shares, “We want to push the boundaries in how stories are told, filmed, and produced.”

A Testament to Talent and Teamwork

Both Dan and Hamish attribute their success to their talented team. “Our business model is all about people. They emphasize the importance of treating them with respect, encouraging them to evolve and push boundaries constantly, and the results will always be outstanding,” they emphasize.

As they look back, the co-founders express immense gratitude to everyone who has been a part of their journey. In their words, “We’ve built one of the coolest playgrounds in the world for creative freedom… the best is yet to come.”

About Reel Factory

Reel Factory stands as a beacon of innovation in the advertising industry. With a full-time in-house team comprising production specialists, directors, DOPs, drone pilots, and technicians, the company boasts an unrivaled arsenal of equipment in New Zealand. Their purpose-built facility is a testament to their commitment to excellence, from the boardroom to the bar. Reel Factory remains open to collaborations as they evolve, inviting partners to join them in their quest for creative brilliance.

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