In his own words: Video Services’ Bill Nagel

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position:

Bill Nagel: I formed Nagel Video Services out of necessity. When I moved to Reno seven years ago, the economy was in the dumps and full-time jobs in video production were scarce for a newcomer to town. So, I started freelancing. First, I did camera work, then produced videos, technical directing and event audio and visual. After a short time, business was steady enough to form my own company. I’ve added equipment over time and recently purchased a video switcher that allows me to stream on the Internet in full high definition. I’ve already streamed concerts from the Sands, MMA fights from the GSR, and a live switched show for the Summit Awards at the Auto Museum. I’m a full-service shop and clients always deal with me. I manage the client relationship, agree on the deliverables, set up the gear, operate the equipment during show and add labor/resources as needed. I also record, stream, edit and post the video on the Internet.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Nagel: After I got my degree in theater, I started writing plays and produced a few myself to great disaster but it was a major learning experience. At that time, I had a friend who was doing a show on public access in Seattle. Back in the 80s, you could do your own show for free, so I jumped at the chance and started writing, directing and acting in my own show. I had to learn to edit video, operate a camera and call a show from the booth. I loved it. I threw myself into it and shortly bought a video camera myself. I then worked for a variety of producers but struck gold when I was hired by Microsoft to manage their conference services department, which was a part of Microsoft Studios that did all the in-house video production. There, I learned something every day and I met some famous people too.

NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?

Nagel: The live event. I love working live events. I think it’s from my theater days. I love working behind the scenes when you can’t “reshoot” a scene. I don’t care if it’s corporate, a concert or sporting event, I get the same thrill from working them all.

NNBW: How has the web changed the video business?

Nagel: The web means that you reach the whole world. Now, with advances in technology, video can be easily delivered through the Internet either live, on demand, on a web site, embedded in email, etc. It’s everywhere. The corporate communication and marketing possibilities are endless. With the web, you can control the content, branding, message and who gets to see it. As the technology gets smaller, faster and with higher quality, it also gets less expensive. Even small businesses can do it now.

NNBW: What’s the most challenging part about your job?

Nagel: Preparing for the unexpected. When you’re in a technology-driven business like mine, there’s always something that can go wrong. Everything from a bad cable to gremlins in your software. The challenge is to be prepared. What I do is simple common sense stuff like have redundancy in your equipment and always have a plan ”B.” My job is to make sure that the client doesn’t even notice a glitch.

NNBW: How do you, and businesses in general, keep up with the rapidly changing technology that seems to change the marketing landscape every 30 days or so?

Nagel: Usually through people I work with. I work a variety of events with different producers, technicians, directors and from that interaction alone, I’ll learn about the latest technology. Seeing the technology in action helps to confirm the validity in the workplace. For example, I’ve worked with streaming video for years but only recently has it reached a price point where I could make it profitable. Also I’ve found in this town, it’s always helpful to have good relationships with all the local vendors who are embracing new technology.

NNBW: What advice would give anyone who wants to get in your profession?

Nagel: Learn by working with the best, always show up early, don’t talk unless asked and LISTEN.

NNBW: What was your first job?

Nagel: Cleaning out the bathrooms for a metal fabrication company called FABTEK in Healdsburg, Calif.

NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Nagel: Yes, anyplace I can camp, fish and hike.

NNBW: If you had one moment in time to cherish for the rest of your life either professionally or personally what would it be and why?

Nagel: The day I left Microsoft. After 10 years of hanging with Bill and the gang, I walked away to start my life over again. It changed me both personally and professionally. It took me out of the comfort zone of working for a huge company and forced me to take on new challenges. I moved to a new state where I had to develop new relationships and make new friends. I had to start on the bottom again and work my way up. Along the way, I think I’ve become a better person.

NNBW: Last concert or sporting event attended?

Nagel: I was a video camera operator for a high school baseball summer season game at Reno High that was broadcast locally on my21.

NNBW: What did you dream of becoming as a kid?

Nagel: An Academy Award winner.

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?

Nagel: No I wouldn’t retire. I’m too young to sit in a rocking chair and ponder my golf game.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?

Nagel: Nevada kind of chose me. I moved here to be with a very special person who’s the love of my life. I was lucky enough that this is also a place that embraces new small businesses like mine. I love the variety of people this area offers — you have everything from Clampers to Burners. I love all the recreating, outdoor activities, the culture, the history, playing in a blues band and I love the fact that Nevadans love telling you how many generations they go back. There’s a lot of pride here and I like that.


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