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Notion Pictures Forecasts More Growth In 2006

by Kevin Tampone, Journal Staff

DeWITT, NY — Notion Pictures, a 3-year-old, video-and-film production company, saw strong growth in 2005 and is poised for more expansion this year with the addition of some new technology and another employee.

Notion’s revenues grew 35 percent last year to about $500,000. Much of that growth comes simply from being around a few years and establishing a presence in the market, says Peter Rafalow, the firm’s owner and president.

“People know all the old companies that are out there, and so when we come in, they say, ‘Who the heck are you?’” Rafalow says. “We felt … at the beginning of 2005, people were just starting to get to know us and it paid off.”

Rafalow says he expects strong growth again in 2006, although probably not quite 35 percent.

The company may be young, but Rafalow is not new to production. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from San Francisco State University and has been working in editing since 1984.

The company has invested about $95,000 in new technology during the past 18 months. Notion Pictures purchased updated editing equipment for about $45,000 in late 2004 and in December 2005 added to its shooting capabilities with a new camera, lens, tripod, dolly, and track.

The new shooting equipment also required some further upgrades to the company’s editing suites, Rafalow says. The end result is a wider range of options for clients.

The new camera can produce images much closer to the look of film, but at the cost of shooting in a digital format.

“Film looks phenomenal, but it’s expensive and not all our clients have that kind of budget,” Rafalow says. “For people that don’t have that kind of a high budget, but are interested in that film look, this is an option for them.”

The equipment purchases also move Notion’s work to a fully digital environment.

“It stays digital the whole way now,” Rafalow says. “There’s no loss of quality.”

Rafalow started the business in his basement in January 2003. When he began, he was doing mainly editing work, but made the decision about eight months later to turn his company into a full-service shop.

“That expanded the sphere of clients,” he explains.

In addition to the technological purchases, Notion hired a fourth employee in 2005. Dawn Mulcahey will help with producing and editing duties, which Rafalow says will give him more time to focus on marketing.

Part of the new marketing effort will be to concentrate more on corporate business, such as producing training and informational videos. The company also produces commercials and works with area advertising agencies like ABC Creative Group.

In addition to corporations, Rafalow believes there is a large untapped market for his firm with the area’s colleges and universities.

“There is a lot in the way of informational materials and school presentations that could be done,” he says. “It’s just a matter of making those connections and getting those relationships in the community.”

More corporate work will probably necessitate more technological additions in the future. The next step would be moving to high-definition equipment.

Significant purchases in that area are still probably about two years away, Rafalow says.