Hidden in plain sight 15 miles north of the White House is a world-class kayaker’s paradise. The rapids on the Potomac River attract Olympic champions and enthusiastic locals alike.

 

Earlier in my career, I worked often for National Geographic, PBS, and Discovery, learning how to satisfy the demanding expectations of some of the nation’s most celebrated broadcasters. But no matter how tired I was at the end of the day or week, I still escaped with my kayak.

 

Entry into my favorite run on the river was via a connector—called “Z-Channel”—that zig-zags from civilization to wilderness, the sounds of the city receding. Even today, I can close my eyes and be there—through tree tunnels, bobbing in foaming rapids, a test of technique and focus. Piloting a kayak, you’ve got to be 100 percent in the moment.

 

Over time, that run became such a big part of my life that when I founded this company I didn’t have to think twice about a name. Today, I’m closing in on 20 years in the video production business. And the more I dwell on the metaphor the more I find kayaking is a lot like video production, in three key respects:

 

Collaboration. Kayaking doesn’t encourage lone wolves—we rely on each other for safety, to scout for hazards, and make decisions about the best lines to take. Likewise, video production is a joint undertaking. When you come to us, you bring knowledge of your customers’ personas, the decisions you want them to make, and how your organization’s story can help drive those goals. We bring our creative and technical expertise, build trust, and craft a plan together for success.

 

Courage. Courage in kayaking isn’t some adrenaline-fueled mad rush, but rather a persistent drive to explore increasingly trickier lines and navigate them safely. Likewise, making successful videos is about ambition, preparation, and execution. It is the mental strength to persevere. Other video production companies may have one style, or lean excessively on templates and shortcuts. Here at Z-Channel, however, we have the courage to explore both familiar and unfamiliar possibilities. For us, it’s about what’s going to be the best solution for our customer’s goals. Courage is the inclination to create unique videos, because we know it will help you stand out from the crowd.

 

Confidence. In kayaking, confidence comes from a knowledge that your own skills are adequate and you understand the task at hand. Even Olympic-level kayakers study their intended routes in advance. Likewise, Steve and I have 35 years of combined experience working for some of the best media organizations in the world and have won top industry awards for our work. With that validation and training behind us, we still know we need to understand your company and its goals well. That gives us the confidence to devise and execute creative, novel videos that exceed your wildest expectations.

 

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey through Z-Channel. I hope to work together soon.

doug signature

THE (RIGHT) BRAIN TRUST


DOUG GRITZMACHER

DOUG GRITZMACHER

Creative Director

In this business it pays to be able to wear a lot of hats and perhaps no one has taken this to heart more than Doug, who seems to fit more hats on his head than anyone. Doug began his career producing, shooting, writing, and editing for a PBS series on foreign policy issues. He went on to work at National Geographic Television & Film and developed into a highly respected director of photography for commercials, films, and broadcast television, earning Emmy, Telly, and Remi awards for his contributions.

 

In between he kept busy producing and editing his own projects, including two documentary films that earned film festival awards and achieved mainstream distribution via Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, and Hulu. He also served as those film’s marketing and publicity guru, launching social media campaigns and designing promotional materials. 

 

Doug’s versatility gives us an edge in planning and execution. Because of his extensive experience with all facets of the production process, Doug is able to see simultaneously the big picture and the details. This helps us keep projects on schedule and within budget while encountering minimal hiccups along the way.

STEVE DORST

STEVE DORST

Creative Director

In a industry where it is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest gadgets, Steve continues to refine his grasp on perhaps the oldest film industry technology there is—storytelling. A natural communicator and people person, Steve easily forges strong relationships with clients and talent alike. One subject from a Z-Channel production was so delighted with her experience with Steve that she presented him with an Air Force Joint Service Achievement Medal. This trust Steve instills in others translates into stories with compelling emotional depth. 

 

Steve’s interest in people and their relationship to the planet extends across the globe. Fluent in four languages, Steve has produced films about a diverse range of cultures in more than 20 countries for distinguished international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the Red Cross.

 

His pursuit of provocative human-interest and environmental stories led him to Cameroon where he produced a feature about a community involved in the most extreme marathon in the world. He later produced a second film profiling an historical event that could help pave they way toward solving global climate change. 

AWARDS


video production awards

OUR CREATIVE SERVICES


PRE-PRODUCTION
Concept Development
Style and Tone Definition
Script Writing
Crewing
Location Scouting
Art Direction
Set Design
Storyboarding
Talent Search and Audition

PRODUCTION
Live Action Video
Studio Shoots
Location Shoots
Travel Shoots
Greenscreen
Still Photography
Lighting & Grip
Multi-Camera
Teleprompter
Audio Recording
Professional Wardrobe
Hair & Makeup

POST-PRODUCTION
Voice Over Casting
Voice Over Recording
Video editing
Compositing
2 & 3D Motion Design & Graphics
Music Scoring
Audio Edit
Sound Design
Color Correction

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