The good ship Discovery, which is harboured in Dundee, is providing a source of work for the surrounding area – in particular, Alpha Images, which is based in Broughty Ferry.
Alpha Images is run out of Ronnie Carmichael’s house and provides corporate DVDs and CDs for a company’s portfolio. Having recently worked on a documentary called Admiral Duncan, which looks at the good ship Discovery and is available on a DVD format, Alpha Images are now working away on various projects. Business is doing well, and Carmichael believes that the use of DVDs as a corporate tool is essential when it comes to promoting a business. “Now the video medium can be used as a marketing tool for both small and medium sized companies. Most of the work that I do is for the more industrial types of companies, and they are finding that it is just as cheap to produce a CD for customers as it is to do a print run for direct marketing.”
Nowadays, the cost of running a production company has dramatically reduced, resulting in Alpha Images being able to produce work for a fraction of the cost compared with just 10 years ago. He is also in the unique position of owning the majority of equipment he uses. “In the Central Belt most production companies will have all their equipment delivered to them from an outside company. In terms of having that shipped from Edinburgh, I found that it would be cheaper, and an awful lot easier, if I were to buy the equipment outright.”
In terms of the work he does, Carmichael readily admits that around 90 per cent of all his work comes from referral, and therefore he believes that an organisation such as Interactive Tayside, which he is part of, is beneficial to his company. “What Interactive Tayside does for companies around the Dundee area has to be applauded. They have brought together a really interesting group of companies. I think that the gaming community have probably benefited from the umbrella far more than me, but they work hard and they do it well.”
Carmichael does not feel that being out of the Central Belt has hindered the amount of work that he could get done – “I think if I was doing what I did in Edinburgh it would definitely be far harder to be established. But I manage to do work not only in Dundee but also in Fife and Angus, amongst other places.
However, Carmichael does admit that there has been a certain amount of resistance to the new technologies that Alpha Images provide. “Recently I have been converting some of the work that I have been doing so that it is suitable for web use,” he says. “But there still seems to be the idea that video files on the internet are too large and would take too long to load up. People need to be more aware of streaming on the Net, and I think when they do become used to it then the marketplace will increase dramatically.”