When it comes to production houses in LA or Seattle, one name stands out from the rest more than any other, Victory Studios. This venture started by the untiring and detailed efforts of Conrad and Laura Denke who created this company in pursuit of their lifelong dream and passion to create great productions in the filmmaking industry that entertain, educate and inspire. Victory Studios, formerly known as American Production Services, did not happen accidentally. Through careful planning and an ear to the ground on new technology, Conrad and Laura formed this prolific $20M organization.
Victory Studios in the making
Prior to modern affordable postproduction equipment and techniques of today, Laura and Conrad started their business in 16mm film production. Incredibly slow and time-consuming, Denke could see that video would eventually take over. As video production began to surface and frustrated with the lack of quality at other local video postproduction houses, the two decided to invest in their own video equipment and offer post-production services to other filmmakers. Emphasizing quality, affordability, speed, and easy access, American Production Services (APS) was born.
Conrad already had vast experience in documentaries and filmmaking. Not only had he worked at the local PBS station, and served in the Air Force documenting military operations in many different countries, he also worked at a commercial production house in Seattle performing all aspects of film production and post. There, winning national awards for his work, he fine-tuned his multiple skills. Taking a big leap in 1978, he left that company and started APS in a commercially zoned house that served both as a residence and headquarters for the new business. Barely making ends meet at the beginning, and unable to afford a receptionist, Denke saw a perfect opportunity to expand the business when a typesetting company closed next door. He and Laura acquired their equipment and client list. Having learned the typesetting and printing business as part of his previous employment, Denke hired and taught a new employee to run the typesetting business while also operating as the receptionist for American Production Services. He also built other parts to the business including audio and video duplication, production equipment rentals and all aspects of production services from writing to post-production. Once their video production business became steady, they sold off the typesetting business, bought another house next door for expansion, rented and renovated another building to serve as a large production studio which they named Studio One, and pioneered the beginning of computer graphics services (One of their first jobs in computer graphics was to provide background graphics for one of the first Star Trek movies). APS continued exponential growth and the company purchased a building near Microsoft to service their duplication and post-production needs, moved their operation in the two houses to the former Armed Forces Induction Services building in Seattle which they purchased to create the largest production services facility in the Northwest. American Production Services changed its name to Victory Studios and continued with innovation in digital production leading to a national role as one of the leaders in introducing High Definition Video production to the world. They purchased another building in Los Angeles where they ran their second HD editing facility which pioneered the implementation in Hollywood of HD technology. Victory performed post-production services working on the first HD films for Robert Rodriguez (Once Upon A Time in Mexico with Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, and Selma Hayek), ABC (Santa Who with Leslie Nielson), HBO (Boycott, the story of Martin Luther King) and many others.
Along the way, Victory Studios won many national and international awards for its work. A few notable achievements include National Emmy recognition for Mr. Warmth, The Don Rickles Project, Several regional Emmy awards, an award for Directing from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, US International Film Festival awards, IFPA awards, a Chris award from the Columbus film festival, New York International Film and TV Festival awards, International Television and Video Association awards, many Telly awards and several Cine Golden Eagle Awards. Denke has been personally awarded the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award.
Conrad and Laura’s company, Victory Studios, continues today with the development of original programming. Victory Studios currently has a team of employees working on several different series like “Band in Seattle,” “Daredevils and Disasters”, “More than a President’s Mother, the story of Lillian Carter,” “Music for Young People,” and more.
The Victory Secret
Victory Studios made its name by ensuring that the company stays ahead of the game. As for continuing pioneers in production and post-production, the company is always looking for better and easier ways to produce great programming. From its international magazine, HighDef, to its continued development of exciting original programming, Victory Studios continues to lead the way.
About Conrad and Laura
The founders of Victory Studios, Conrad and Laura Denke, have two children Elisabeth Anne and Alexander Lee. More information about their history with American Production Services and Victory Studios can be found at www.VictoryStudios.com.