Spokane Journal of Business

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Cutaway Video Clips

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A stack of seven videocassette recorders hooked to one small television set whir into action in the corner of what once was the dining room of Lisa Bergstrom-Regehr and her family.

Across the hardwood floor of the South Hill home, a desk holds two television monitors plugged into a videotape-editing machine, and, in the adjoining former living room, shelves burdened by about 800 videotapes line one wall.

Since buying Cutaway Video Clips, a news dubbing and production services company, two years ago, Bergstrom-Regehr has converted her familys living areas into the place where she makes her livingand turned a part-time gig into a full-time job.

As a result, perhaps no one knows television news in Spokane better than Bergstrom-Regehr.

The 36-year-old sole proprietor videotapes every newscast on all three network affiliates daily. That works out to 71 1/2 hours of news from 96 programs each week and includes all morning, noon, and evening news broadcasts and Debra Wildes Circle of Friends, a local talk show that airs weekdays on NBC affiliate KHQ-TV.

She maintains those tapes as part of a video archive, making and selling copies of individual news segments to interested viewers.

Its like milking cows, says husband Duane Regehr, an award-winning KREM-TV news photographer who assists in the business. She cant leave or else it doesnt get done.

Cutaway also tapes sporting events of local interest, such as Gonzaga Universitys memorable recent run in the NCAA mens basketball tournament and the annual Bloomsday race coverage.

Regular newscasts are preserved in the video library for five months, but the special events are held indefinitely, Regehr says.

Bergstrom-Regehr says she fills more than 50 orders a week, providing same-day or next-day service on most orders. Cutaways customers are evenly split between businesses and individual viewers, she says.

Businesses generally are interested in news stories in which they are mentioned or news concerning their industry is reported, she says. For example, Avista Corp. is a consistent customer that orders tapes whenever one of its employees is interviewed or its name is mentioned during coverage of a newsworthy event, such as a power outage. Other regular Cutaway customers include Coldwater Creek Inc., a Sandpoint, Idaho-based mail-order retailer; Tempo IV, a Seattle-based news-monitoring service; and Seafirst Bank.

Individuals usually request clips of themselves or family members. When a relative is featured, many people order copies of the birthday-greeting segments that appear early on weekday mornings on ABC affiliate KXLY-TV, Bergstrom-Regehr says.

Help from affiliates

Almost all of the companys new customers originate with referrals from the three television stations here, which forward inquiries for story copies to Cutaway, she says.

Its a two-way street, Bergstrom-Regehr says. They do that for me, and they know Ill take care of their viewing audience.

Also as a courtesy, Cutaway will give copies of a stations newscasts to that station for free, and it will do jobs for station employees at discounted rates.

For a typical customer, a copy of an individual news story will cost between $10 and $25 per segment. Cost is determined by the manner in which a story is presented. For example, a copy of a story that an anchor reportssometimes with a picture over one shoulderwould cost $10. A full story, which would include footage from a reporter in the field and interviews with sources, would cost $25.

The edited clips typically are preceded by the programs introduction and include the full segment, a replay of specific desired footage, and a few freeze-frame shots of the featured person or event.

Buying the business

Bergstrom-Regehr says the previous owner of the business, Maryann Connery, established the rate system. Connery sold the 5-year-old business in 1997 after her husband, KXLY-TV investigative reporter Tom Grant, received a fellowship from the University of Michigan. The two husbands, Grant and Regehr, worked together at KREM-TV before Grant left for the fellowship, and they jointly won the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism for stories about the Wenatchee sex ring.

Since buying Cutaway from Connery, Berg-strom-Regehr has invested more than $50,000 in editing equipment, software, and tapes. She now owns two editing systems, one traditional tape-dubbing setup and one digital-editing computer.

The tape-dubbing system basically includes a videocassette player, a videocassette recorder, two television monitors, and an editing-control unit that can move the tape frame-by-frame and record precisely.

The digital system performs essentially the same tasks, but does so through a computer software program, includes more features, and is faster. Bergstrom-Regehr bought the digital system, which is the same kind that Regehr uses at work, in November.

Bergstrom-Regehr also has developed an extensive video archive. With five months of broadcasts taped currently, she hopes to gradually build that to six months. That way, she says, every tape would be used only twice a year.

KREM-TV and KXLY-TV help Cutaway keep track of each tapes news content by supplying a story list for each newscast. For KHQ-TVs newscasts, Bergstrom-Regehr watches each show and logs the stories herself.

Around 4:30 a.m., she usually will start logging those stories that aired the previous day, so she can finish before the morning newscastsand the entire processstart all over again.

She sets the tapes for the morning shows the night before and prepares the tapes for the noon and night shows in the morning. After editing in the afternoons, Bergstrom-Regehr says her day usually ends with a dash to the post office to send out dubbed tapes before its 6 p.m. closing.

Regehr, who now works part-time at KREM-TV so he can take on more of a workload with Cutaway, says his wife really stops around 9 p.m.

She smiles and says, So much for a part-time job.

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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