Evolving with the times
TB Productions adapts with changing technology

By Dave Fidlin - News Graphic Correspondent

Dec. 3, 2013

Dave Jenkins and Tim Busch display some of the equipment used with their Grafton-based video production business, TB Productions.    
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON - To say technology has changed since Tim Busch made his foray into the video production business in 1991 would be an understatement.

Busch, founder and co-owner of Grafton-based TB Productions, has witnessed the full-on conversion to digital technology in his more-than two decades in the business. Along the way, he has done a wide array of work - from Super Bowl TV coverage to how-to videos permeating the Internet.

Busch’s business also turned a new chapter a year ago when he partnered with business associate Dave Jenkins. Both entrepreneurs live in Cedarburg.

The story of TB Productions’ origins can be traced to the so-called glam rock band Cinderella. In the early 1990s, Busch, then a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, was doing some freelance work as an editor of one of the band’s videos for MTV.

The Cinderella project was Busch’s first paying gig, and when he invoiced for his involvement in the overall effort, Busch realized he needed to come up with a company name. On the fly, he came up with TB Productions - a nod toward his initials and some semblance of creativity.

“Video production is a very creative business, so I needed something that was catchy,” Busch said. “I wanted to create a clear brand.”

When asked how the video production business has evolved over the past two decades, Busch said this article would be lengthy if he outlined every specific detail. In a nutshell, he was shooting video with three-quarter-inch videotape in his earliest days. By the mid-1990s, however, he began transitioning to digital technology.

“Today, technology is constantly advancing,” Busch said. “Your equipment might still be good, but everything you buy is old in two years. It’s relatively worthless in three years. We have a stockpile of old cameras around here.”

Despite challenges with the rapid pace of advancing technology, Busch and Jenkins said they view it as equally positive. Some of the upgrades have made previously unthinkable techniques a reality in today’s marketplace.

Jenkins, who has a background as a photojournalist, handles some of the sales and marketing functions today within TB Productions.

“We like to think of ourselves as being on the cutting edge of technology,” Jenkins said. “We want to create a production for our clients that really brings them value.”

Technological changes also have altered the workspace at TB Productions’ Grafton facility. At one time, the site served as a storage hub of videotapes for the company’s various clients. Today, most of the company’s work is stored digitally on servers holding gigabytes and terabytes worth of information.

The bulk of the company’s work comes through collaboration with ad agencies and productions have been made for clients at the local, regional and national levels.

“We do work with quite a few mom-and-pop operations,” Jenkins said. “We’ll do anything but weddings. We don’t want to work with brides.”

Busch added, “Content is king, and we help our clients realize this so they are able to get their message across.”

As he looks back at the past 20 years, Busch readily admits he is in awe of the changes that have taken place and the growth that has occurred within TB Productions.

Busch and Jenkins are optimistic about the company’s future. There are a number of unknowns on the horizon, but both emphatically state they want to keep the company’s workforce small.

“I’d be happy if we hired another one to three people,” Busch said. “But we feel we’re satisfied with the staff size of the company. We aren’t satisfied with the number of clients we have, though. There’s always room for growth.”

While many of the company’s productions are geared toward traditional media, Busch and Jenkins envision a time - likely not too far off into the horizon - where they will be making more productions for the Internet and other digitized sources as proliferation continues to move in that direction.

“We aim to be a small company that produces high quality productions,” Busch said. “That won’t change.”