Since 2014, Rory Hurley and Eddie Gomez II have worked together to create short video content for small businesses throughout New Hampshire, from their shared workspace in the MAxT Makerspace in Peterborough. Their company, Drum Production Studio, produced everything from social media reels to marketing materials. But when the pandemic hit Main Street hard, 90% of Drum's business dried up, almost instantly.
Watching the sudden switch to online retail and learning, Hurley and Gomez saw an opportunity. First, they helped a local business photograph nearly 800 items to launch its online catalogue. Then, the duo realized that there was an even bigger opportunity to live stream events like weddings, classes and memorials that were forced to move from in person to online.
Sure, Gomez thought, everyone could open Zoom on their computer and get a mediocre video production, But nearly anyone who’s tried that has experienced technical difficulties, from echoing music to grainy video images. Drum — used to making high quality productions — could offer professional quality streaming.
“We thought, if everything’s moving online, how can we use our equipment to produce high-quality livestream broadcasts?” Gomez said.
The two applied for a grant from The Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship in Keene. They used three-quarters of the $2,000 grant to purchase the few pieces of equipment needed for live-streaming, saving the rest for a rainy day. Then, they began talking to people who teach classes ranging from ceramics to yoga; and creating Facebook and Google ads to target couples getting married and others who needed events streamed.
They learned that livestreaming is a different beast from producing a video. One of the biggest challenges in NH is finding out whether they’ll have a quality internet connection to allow for streaming. They’ve learned to run an internet speed test ahead of time. Another challenge was learning how to stay out of the way at events like weddings.
“Depending on the event, we have to figure out logistics, what the ceremony is going to look like and our game plan for the day,” Hurley said.
With livestreaming, “there’s so many different points of failure,” Gomez said. Knowing that, and figuring out how to confront each and produce an event without a hitch is a thrill, he said.
Despite the economy reopening, Gomez and Hurley are confident there will be a demand for streamed services, especially if there is a second wave of the virus during the fall or winter. Even if that doesn’t happen, they think people will be more interested in using streaming going forward, now that it’s become so widespread in our culture. Whether it’s streaming a wedding for guests who can’t make it or offering classes online for people who are high-risk for coronavirus, they expect to have plenty of business.
Partially because of that, Hurley and Gomez are ok making a slow transition to the new services. They’ve done a few events but are focusing on quality, not quantity, as they begin livestreaming.
“We can’t, just overnight, get a ton of business with this,” Hurley said. “It’s something that we’re having to develop. We’re learning the ropes of this world.”
“The work is so drastically different in terms of how a project is produced,” he said. “Finding a sweet spot in there is something we’re working on.”
Although more people than ever are comfortable with video streaming, Hurley also believes people recognize the value of professional production.
“We know the average person is not going to have three cameras and multiple audio inputs for an event,” he said. “That’s the value we hope to bring: increased production quality.”
This story is part of the 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series, shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative, that aims to highlight how business leaders across the state, from mom and pop shops, to large corporations have adapted to meet the challenges and disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus in the hopes others may be able to replicate these ideas and innovations. Tell us your story here. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.