Digitally Minded: Inside Midcoast's Creative Studio

Digitally Minded: Inside Midcoast's Creative Studio

Gregory Han
Jun 7, 2013

Detroit-based creative studio Midcoast is best known for the Computer Generated imagery (CGI) and commercial photography produced for clientele like Harley-Davidson, Sea Ray, HGTV, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep. After this office tour, it might also be known for the pops of color in their newly renovated studio interior...

Give us a brief background on Midcoast. For nearly a decade, we have provided CGI (as it is known to insiders) to major automakers. In 2005, we expanded into 3D image services after seeing a growing demand in mainstream advertising. (The auto industry was an early adopter in this new discipline.) 

Ten years ago, about 20 percent of automotive advertising was created digitally, and 80 percent was produced via traditional photography. Now, those numbers have flipped. Today, virtually any product seen in advertising may be digitally created, from vehicles to furniture and even clothing.

What year was your firm established? What led to that point? Founded as Midcoast Studio in 1984, our two principals, Madison Ford and Paul Slocum, set out to build a Michigan-based, commercial photography company. Today, we provide a full range of imaging services including CGI, photography, retouching, video, and mobile apps (below)

Tell us about what you’re passionate about, what inspires you, and where you’re going. We are a studio of artists who are passionate about finding creative ways to solve problems. A great example is a recent project we delivered to a prominent clothing manufacturer. The company wanted to feature a yet-to-be-made jacket in its fall catalog. The photorealistic jacket that we produced in under a week appeared in the catalog alongside the photographed product line.

Where are we headed? Nike iD is a great look at what the future of product manufacturing will look like. Advancements in technology have empowered companies to rapidly create products that can be custom tailored to each individual consumer: made to order. And our work in the field of CGI can help move this forward at a rapid pace.

Describe your space. Any special considerations that influenced the way it’s set up? We recently completed the renovation of a 3,000 square-foot photo studio, working from the ground up to create a cutting-edge workspace for our growing digital team. The space has two loft areas, custom woodwork throughout, Embody Chairs, a coffee table fabricated from a Harley-Davidson engine, and a functional garage door. In our conference room, we have Setu Chairs, and our conference table was custom made from antique table saw that once belonged to a longtime employee and friend of the studio.

Why did you choose these particular chairs? Our work is comprised of long hours sitting at a desk, and chairs like the Embody and Aeron are a de facto standard in our line of work, for obvious reasons. We also loved the range of artistic colors available, and chose mango in the Embody line. It makes a huge visual impact.

See more of Midcoast's portfolio of CGI, video, photography, and app work here.

(Images: Midcoast)

Republished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Amy Feezor.
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