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30 Years of CVP, here’s the story…

The Story of CVP

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Once upon a time in a small town near Birmingham… (1986 to be precise)

…A freelance cameraman called Phil Baxter began filming wedding videos, he advertised in a local newspaper under the company name ‘Creative Video Productions’, the phone number attached to the advert was the phone number for his mothers house, as he was just 19 years old! Phil attended college in Sandwell where he studied Film and Television.

film school

In 1989 this freelance cameraman met a beautiful financial advisor called Alison. All the stars aligned when shortly after meeting Alison, Phil was offered a contract with TVAM to film on M2 format but he also had to have a Beta Cam kit as back up. When the contract began although he had to supply the kit for the crew it was a man called Brian who did the filming and Phil operated the sound, but after 6 months he began the filming.

Then one day Neil Roberts from Griffin Video needed to use a wide-angle lens for a job, Phil owned the one he was after, and so Alison organised for him to hire it. It was this small loan of a lens that resulted in the movement of CVP towards an equipment solutions company.


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Following this Phil and Alison then began to hire out the Beta Cam kit. They re-invested the profit that they made from hiring out the kit into purchasing more equipment, which they saw a demand for. In 1990 Phil and Alison married, instead of wedding gifts they asked for money – with this they purchased their second Beta Cam kit!

CVP rate card 1996

Whilst Phil was out filming for TVAM Alison organised the hiring of kit from their small house in Solihull. Soon after they then moved to Redditch where they had a proper space for their equipment, the garage! They even had enough space for a three-machine edit suite!

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In 1999 the CVP website began! This showcased what products were on offer to rent and what solutions could be offered, this included information about hiring Phil and other crews as freelancers. Phil and Alison saw the value that the Internet would have and how it would ‘catch on’ in the years to follow as Internet became more accessible. CVP has continuously had a website which is regularly updated and is a resource for both customers and our own staff for 17 years.

1999 website screen grab

Click here to see the development of the CVP website with screenshots through the years!

Along with the millennium they just needed more space, so began to look for a location, they found ‘a shady nook by a babbling brook’ – genuinely how the office was marketed in the advertisement in the local paper! They rented 1/3 of the building, which included a reception area, two small offices, packing and kit store area and an IT area where editing computers were built.

By this point Phil and Alison had two small children, Hannah and Chloe, who’s weekends and school holidays were filled with building chairs, playing on the Play Station in the reception, long days driving around in the CVP van filming/ buying kit, Packing boxes and the favourite job of all washing mud off the tripods.

Along with this new space came the need to fill it, and CVP began looking for new team members including sales persons. Two years later, long standing member of the CVP team Mat Recardo joined, soon followed by Emily Wilson in 2005, both still work at our Midlands location in the same office!

Phil - Priory Mill Building Works

Image taken during the refurbishment’s of Priory Mill when CVP purchased the building.

In 2006 CVP began renting the whole building at Priory Mill, one of the things key to CVP was that they wanted to allow customers to demo their cameras before purchasing, and so they set up a large demo space, since then we have continued to have demonstration areas in our main offices.

CVP continued to grow, offering more and more products to customers and finding the right solutions for each individual. Then at the beginning of 2008 it was time for large-scale expansion, a pre-existing company called Mitcorp whose main drive was broadcast equipment sales, came up for sale and was purchased by CVP. Along with this acquisition came the Broadcast Engineering Department in CVPs Brentford location, with 6 highly experienced full-time broadcast engineers as well as dedicated support staff we are capable of servicing virtually any piece of broadcast or professional equipment down to component level. We were even the official Broadcast Engineering department for the London Olympics in 2012!

brett engineering

Quickly following this came the purchase of Gearbox in 2009 a fellow broadcast equipment sales and Rental Company. Gearbox now only operates as a dry-hire company and prides itself on having the latest broadcast equipment on hire at the most competitive rates.

CVP has since set up more locations where we see a demand to support our customers including an office in Manchester and a new location in Fitzrovia, Central London. We now have offices in; Glasgow, Wales, West-Midlands, Brentford, Soho and Manchester!

wedding day

In 30 years CVP has grown from 2 members of staff, a husband and wife, to a strong team of over 100, continuing to go from strength to strength. Every decision made has and always will be in the interest of giving the best customer service and keeping our staff trained and up to date with the latest products and knowledge, so we can serve you better. CVP continues to operate as a family business with four members now working for the Company.

Alison Baxter as Chairwoman heads CVP up, her brother-in-law Steven Baxter is our Operations Director, and Alison’s two daughters Hannah and Chloe are involved in Marketing for the company.

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Pictured above from left to right Steven Baxter (Operations Director), Stephen Ratcliff (Director of Gearbox), Hannah Baxter, Jon Fry (Sales Director), Dominic Smye-Rumsby (Technical Services Director), Alison Baxter (Chairwoman), Greg Ocwieja (Director of E-Commerce), Mark Forth (Managing Director), Mansukh Kerai (Finance Director), Chloe Baxter

Back in 1980 when Phil purchased equipment he always hated being given a rubbish cup of coffee, that’s why we will always offer you a great coffee when you stop by!

One reply on “30 Years of CVP, here’s the story…”

Here’s to another 30 years! Who knows what motion and stills will look like then. But I do know that CVP will at forefront of making the solutions to meet the needs of the technician working it. Best wishes to all.

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