This June, Richter Studios celebrated its 20th anniversary. The pioneering company began its operations back in 1997 when digital cinema was in its inception. Since then, the company has created over 10,000 videos for a wide range of clients and specializes in television commercials, brand films, corporate videos, explainer videos and animation. It’s a journey that has ultimately positioned Richter Studios as the leader in the vibrant Chicago video production scene.

“It’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come since the first video I created back in 1997,” reflected CEO Jeremy Richter. “Today’s generation is not familiar with the challenges we faced two decades ago. Just getting video to play reliably on a computer was a real challenge back then, let alone creating content that was compelling. But we kept at it and built a real production powerhouse over time, one that has worked with so many of the world’s greatest brands and iconic personalities. I am most proud of the fact that I’ve built a world-class creative team whose skill set has far surpassed what mine ever was. The future for Richter Studios looks very bright and I’m excited for the new creative horizons we’ll explore in the future.”

Richter worked as a graphic designer for the McClier Corporation, a design/build firm, in the 90’s. During his early years there, he introduced desktop video to the CEO of McClier, Grant McCullagh. This was during the rise of the Dot-Com phenomenon and McCullagh immediately saw how video could play a vital role in the company’s marketing efforts. The two created over 50 videos together with remarkable results.

“I’m delighted to see the outstanding team at Richter Studios achieve their 20th anniversary,” stated Grant McCullagh, Chairman BE&K BG.  “It doesn’t surprise me that they have become the leaders in Chicago and across the nation for video production. Looking back to 1997 and the state of technology at the time, it’s inspiring to see that Jeremy Richter and I were at the dawn of the digital cinema revolution. Exceptional digital videos couldn’t easily be created back then, let alone viewed full screen on a laptop.  It was truly a magical time to see all the experimental technologies we utilized and processes we pioneered to achieve our objectives. Video was a central part of our marketing strategy at McClier and it provided us with a clear advantage in many ways. I look forward with great excitement to what comes next for Richter Studios.”


Jeremy Richter in 1997 with a digital 8mm camera and homemade green screen. He created McClier’s first video here.

The very first video Richter created was for the InfoTech division at the McClier corporation. Initially, he worked with a sales executive to develop a brochure they had hoped would promote the burgeoning group to the booming technology sector. When the approval for that marketing initiative was delayed, Richter decided that developing a digital video from the ground up might prove to better position McClier as a technology leader.  The effort took about six weeks (during which time Richter bought a Macintosh computer) and his first video for McClier was created on a PowerMac 8600 with 128GB of RAM and a 4GB hard drive. He used Adobe Premiere to edit the video and utilized one of the world’s first ever digital stock footage collections from Eyewire.

“Imagine a time when a three-minute video took seven to eight hours to render so you could preview its progress. And with no super complex animation going on. As fascinating as the technology was at the time, it was also painfully slow. Real-time editing wasn’t even a remote consideration unless you had very expensive video cards custom installed and huge SCSI hard drive arrays in place. So digital videos had to be conceived with practical considerations in mind. The first video for McClier is still one of my all-time favorites because of the alpha and beta versions of various software I used to pull it off. Even better, the video was a huge hit for the company at that time.”

McClier – InfoTech Film (1997)

There have been many highlights during Richter Studios’ 20-year run but here are some standout accomplishments:

– Creating one of the industry’s first full screen digital videos on a laptop (with beta version of Sorenson video codec).
– Filming dozens of productions with one of the industry’s first digital video cameras (Canon XL-1)
– Developing an interactive CD-ROM for Dairy Management and the NFL, with over one million copies being distributed.
– Filming hundreds of productions with one of the industry’s first FireWire Pro HD Cameras (Panasonic AJ-HDX900).
– Developing an immersive online virtual tour for Pinehurst, one of the greatest golf destinations in the world.
– Creating a state-of-the-art flash streaming website for Nielsen Answers, with actors and languages switchable in real-time.
– Owning one of first-ever RED One 4K Cameras (utilized extensively for the film “Discovering Deerpath”).
– Having our full-time in-house crews film on location in over 45 states and 12 countries.
– Filming from on top of a crane above Trump Tower in Chicago (98-story structure)
– Being featured in Times Square for two straight months with nationwide NRS commercial featuring Ludacris.
– Winning over 50 international awards for video production excellence.
– Filming in the Bahamas for Meridian Yachts and developing a series of groundbreaking brand films.
– Having the “Tesla Model S for Kids by Radio Flyer” promo film become a massive viral sensation (over 50 million views).
– Receiving a Section 333 Exemption from the FAA to legally fly drones for commercial purposes.
– Being the only American firm to win the 2016 Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award.
– Being selected as the production partner for an ESPN/GMC commercial featuring Jon Gruden.
– Filming several productions in 2017 with the RED Weapon Camera in 8K resolution.
– Being nominated for the prestigious German Design Award (2018)

Widely regarded as “Pioneers in the Golden Age of Digital Cinema®”, Richter Studios is a boutique Chicago production house that lives for the perfect still or motion image. The company is located in Chicago’s gorgeous West Loop and features a state-of-the-art video production studio. Its award-winning creative team has worked with an extensive range of business leaders, sports personalities and celebrities, including Ludacris, Arnold Palmer, Jon Gruden, Bill Kurtis, Ewa Mataya-Laurance, James A. Lovell (Apollo 8/13), Ron Paul, Pádraig Harrington, Kevin Streelman and many others. Richter Studios is a trusted creative partner to some of the world’s most iconic brands and prominent companies, including Brunswick, Cobra Electronics, DeVry, Federal Signal, Haworth, Life Fitness, Radio Flyer, TransUnion and The Walsh Group.

To experience the gold standard in production, please visit richterstudios.com.

Ed Grozich

As a Director and Executive Producer at Richter Studios, Ed has a passion for great storytelling and brand building. Over a career spanning nearly two decades, Ed has directed hundreds of film and photography productions on behalf of a very diverse range of clients. You can find Ed on LinkedIn.