UK: However, a core team behind the company has already launched a new venture, Richmond Studios Productions, reports David Davies. Headed up by managing director Toby Alington, Richmond Studios was established in 2001 and brought together a host of previously-separate web, audio, video and design companies.
Although live audio recording and soundtrack work remained at the core of Richmond Studios’ business, the company made significant inroads into DVD design and authoring during the early part of the decade.
Speaking to PSN-e, Alington traces the recent difficulties to the price war that saw the company’s average unit price for a DVD design/authoring project fall from approximately _15,000 in 2002/2003 to a mere _1,500 by 2008.
“We made the mistake of chasing that price war at the lower end of things, instead of downsizing and sticking at the premium end of the market, which is historically what we had been good at in terms of soundtrack production, design and so on,” he admits.
The demise of Woolworths and several small distributors in 2008 led to a further increase in Richmond Studios’ debt levels. By June, “it had reached the point where some of the old debts were not serviceable, and some people – quite rightly – started to get a bit impatient.” As a result, the company was placed into voluntary liquidation on July 16, with Andrew T Clay (Centrum Recovery) appointed to act as liquidator on the same day.
“It was a never a position that I wanted to get into, and it was all pretty ghastly to deal with,” says Alington. “Unfortunately, quite a few people were left in the lurch with [regard to] money that we owed them.”
Now active once more as Richmond Studios Productions, with five of the previous company’s employees making the transition to the new company, Alington envisages a “smaller, leaner organisation working in more creative and premium sectors again.” For now, at least, some DVD authoring work will continue, but in the long-term it’s clear that the emphasis will be on audio and design/production.
Audio-wise, the company is able to call on a dedicated 5.1 suite that includes ProTools and SADiE workstations, a Yamaha DM2000 digital mixing console and B&W monitors. Factor in a long-term relationship with mobile recording provider Floating Earth, and Richmond Studios Productions is able to “service that whole side of the live music industry”.
Alington adds that the company is likely to relocate in the next few months, although he expects to remain in the “south-west corner” of London.