Show Department to open RDS, 100% HD five-stage complex this spring

When Resolution Digital Studios opens the doors to its $7.5 million facility this April, Chicago will have?for the first time ever?a brand new, from the ground up stage complex and its first total high definition facility.

And it will be Chicago’s only vertical stage complex, with stages, green rooms and offices on each of three floors.

RDS is a division of Lee Facklis and Jeff Facklis’ Show Department, Inc., a 21-year-old corporate staging company, and is located adjacent to Show Department’s 50,000-sq. ft. building at 2226 W. Walnut.

John Kavanagh, Show Department general manager

Show Department general manager John Kavanagh estimated RDS construction costs of $4.5 million, plus an additional $3 million in equipment and support investments.

“We look at Resolution Digital Studios as a way to broaden our client base, as well as support Show Department’s existing clients who have a need for shooting space and post-production capabilities,” Kavanagh said.

And with a 100% HD facility, RDS is “ahead of the curve, and we can help create the market” for digitally produced and finished content, he added.

With such a large and versatile facility, however, Kavanagh said they are looking to cross all markets, “from independent or Hollywood filmmakers to commercials and informercials, webcasting, corporate road show and band rehearsal space, corporate meetings, parties, special events, and still or motion photographers.

Construction on the three-story RDS complex began in August 2003.

On the first floor: The 5,600-sq. ft. stage, with a 30-ft. high ceiling, features a 90 x 18 ft. curved cyc, a large dressing room/green room, conference room and enclosed dock.

The second floor or mezzanine: A 1,000-sq. ft. green screen stage, a 2,200-sq. ft. apartment set with lighting grid, operational kitchen and bathroom, two edit suites, production offices and a lounge “and a beautiful view of the city,” said Kavanagh.

The third floor: Two multi-purpose stages?one 7,000- sq. ft. with an open grid ceiling for lighting and the other a 1,000-sq. ft. stage; client enclosed and cubicle production offices, conference room, screening room, lounge area and offices for the RDS staff.

All stages, each with a control room, are connected to a core control room.

RDS has a full array of HD production gear, including four Sony 24P cameras, Avid Nitris and Final Cut Pro edit suites a ProTools audio suite, and dedicated lighting packages, which can be supplemented with Show Department’s extensive inventory of conventional and moving lights.

Video projection, audio systems, scenic shop, fabrication and other services are also available.

RDS sales manager Evie Silvers

RDS’ first hire is sales manager Evie Silvers, a 15-year production/post veteran formerly with Post Effects. Engineering manager Larry Whitlow splits his time between Show Department and RDS.

RDS will promote a facility manager before opening the studios. “We’ll be working through our various freelance alliances for all the technical aspects, which allows clients to bring in whoever they choose,” Kavanagh said.

Show Department and The Screen Works employ a staff of 70 in Chicago, plus an Amsterdam satellite office that handles corporate events throughout the European Union and product sales across Europe and Asia.

Resolution Digital Studios phone is 312/846-4226; see ? by Ed M. Koziarski,