John Phipps was born in
Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1972.  Some people are born into a family of doctors, lawyers, or accountants, Phipps was born into a video production family.
In 1983, he began his career in that same field.  His father’s company, Challenger Productions, had the largest, eight camera, mobile production truck in the country. Phipps spent his time running back and forth to the concession stands picking up drinks and snacks for the talent and  crew.  Now, that may not seem like much of a career, considering he never got paid, but for an 11 yr. old boy, it was a start.  Standing on the
Oklahoma State University sideline at Lewis Field with his father, Coach Jimmy Johnson, Thurman Thomas, and Barry Sanders are some of the greatest memories he has from that time.  It was the single greatest job…and he was hooked! 

 

Over the next few years, Phipps was able to help out the production crew courtside during Tulsa University basketball games and occasionally get the opportunity to sit in the back of the production truck during live shoots.

At 15, it was time join his dad’s crew and hit the road.  As they traveled state to state filming a powerboat racing series for ESPN and TNN, his job was simple, keep the crew happy and stay out of the way.  Phipps ran cable, set up scaffolding, and pretty much anything that he was asked to do.

At 16, armed with a driver’s license and the summer off from high school, it was his turn to drive the equipment truck. Phipps would drive through 50 states and visit nearly every major city in the U.S. After weeks of pestering, the producer of the show finally let Phipps set up one of the back up cameras to practice shooting the race.  For the rest of the summer he set that camera up and shot every race on an old piece of 3/4” work tape.  When the season was over, the producer agreed to sit down with him and take a look at his work.  He was offered a full-time lower level camera operator position on next year’s series.  Phipps worked his way up to one of the top camera operators on the crew. By the time he was 19, he was running the “hero” camera. This camera had a 30”x1” lens.  His job was to keep the cockpit of the race boat, which was heading straight at him at 120+ mph, in perfect focus and whip pan the camera as the boat tore around the corner.  It was a rush every time.

 

In 1991, Phipps headed off to college.  He knew exactly what he wanted to study, but since a state school didn’t have the technology to enhance his career, he decided on an advertising/marketing degree at the University of Oklahoma.  During the summers when he wasn’t on the road shooting, he worked as an assistant editor. Every night from 6pm till 5am he would offline edit the power boat race series on a Grassvalley 300. With 5 to 6 cameras shooting, much of the time was spent color correcting.

 

Phipps’ first look at Avid’s non-linear system was in 1995.  The senior editors of the company baulked at the idea of editing on a computer.  They felt the compression was unacceptable and after all, you would never be able to afford the amount of storage needed to create high end work.  Simply put, it would never catch on.  For Phipps, non-linear editing made sense. His skills as an Avid editor have grown along side the advancements Avid has made since.

 

The first real production assignment for Phipps was to develop a one hour, feature oriented television series for the American Powerboat Association that aired on the new network SPEEDVISION.  SPEEDVISION is now owned by NASCAR and is known as SPEED.  Each show would feature stories on different powerboat racing circuits across the country from back woods Tennessee drag boat racing to South Beach offshore racing.  He had to come up with the concept, write all the features, Fly all over the country filming various powerboat circuits, conduct interviews with the drivers, produce the show, create the graphics package, film the host of the show, edit the show, mix the audio, and get the final master to SPEEDVISION.  After all of that was finished, he would start all over again for the next show.

 

By 1999, Phipps was ready to take a crack at commercial editing. He set his sites on Dallas, TX.  He was the first editor in the mid-west to work on Avid’s Symphony, and the second editor to work on the Symphony HD Nitris.  As the Senior Creative Editor, Phipps was not only called on to develop entire concepts from start to finish,  he supervised film transfer sessions, worked with graphic designers, after effects artist, animators, on-line editors, music composers and sound designers who each brought their artistic expertise to the table.

Today, Phipps’ passion is still thriving.  The most rewarding part of his job is when he has earned a client’s trust and they leave him with nothing more than an idea sketched out on a cocktail napkin, a box of footage, and the expectation that they will get back nothing less than greatness.