When Will Troutman, one of the pastors of Harvest Church of Calhoun, was hosting live streams for his church during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it sparked another idea.

Troutman, 29, along with his wife Niki Troutman, 27, a licensed cosmetologist and hairdresser, decided to form their own business, Troutman Creative — a media and video company based out of Calhoun.

“Niki and I are kind of creative people,” Will Troutman said. “I’ve always messed with cameras, video — we’ve done it as a hobby for a long time.”

Due to the church being discouraged from meeting in-person during the height of COVID, Will Troutman was continuing to improve the quality of the live streams that eventually “bled into other businesses” asking him and his wife to help them with their respective content.

“The demand for that sort of thing was a lot bigger than I anticipated,” Will Troutman said.

The Troutmans spent a good amount of 2020 doing image magnification (IMAG) for drive-in concerts in the area, followed by recording corporate interviews for a variety of different hospitals and municipalities.

Since then, the company has expanded into working with local and state entities such as the Beaver Dam Tourism Commission, Ohio County, Tony Clark Realtors and beyond the commonwealth lines like the Dickson County Chamber’s second annual “Sounds on the Grounds” music event in Dickson, Tennessee.

And just recently, the business just finished wrapping up a couple commercials in Morocco.

Troutman Creative also offers headshots, concert and event photography and drone videography.

“Anything that has to do with pointing a lens at something, we kind of dip our toes into it,” Will Troutman said.

Will Troutman said that business has seen growth and success in the past two years to the point that Niki Troutman has focused on the business in a full-time capacity.

“It worked out well because we really enjoy working together,” Niki Troutman said. “It totally made sense to stretch my creative muscles with video instead of hair.”

Will Troutman recalls fond memories of creating home movies with friends growing up and said he enjoys the “intersect between … creative expression and the technical side of things.”

“I enjoy technology, and I enjoy expression and trying to make something that evokes something out of someone; and cameras are kind of right there at that intersect,” Will Troutman said. “It scratches both sides of the brain, so to speak. …It’s very technical, very precise, very logical and also there’s no rules.”

While Niki Troutman wasn’t familiar with video as much as her husband, she still was interested in being creative through other ways.

“I was more an artsy kid; never tried out for my T-ball team growing up (or) anything like that, but always been interested in visual arts in high school,” she said. “I did a few photography projects that I really enjoyed and never dreamed that I would be able to do it full-time.”

Will Troutman said that much of the business clientele has been through viewing the company’s work online and word-of-mouth.

One of the main objectives of any product the Troutmans produce is focused on storytelling through the means of color and lighting choices, sound design, music, audio, ratios from shadow to light and more.

“I love being able to tell a compelling story,” Will Troutman said. “Video is a very good medium for that more so than just about anything else, especially in our day and age. If you want to tell a story, you’re going to get the biggest audience with a video, probably.”

Niki Troutman has been eager to learn new skills and marry her own observations.

“It’s so very technical in so many ways that I am not a technical person,” she said. “There’s a lot of it that comes naturally to me, so I can take our footage and I can see what is going to evoke the emotion that I’m most interested in and graphics to draw your eye — that’s not hard for me.”

The scope of every project is different, said Will Troutman, with the larger and “more narrative” projects divided between pre-production (25%), production (25%) and post-production (50%).

In pre-production, the Troutmans meet with the clients about the story they want to tell, who is the audience, what do they want to communicate and what is the intended platform of where the project can be found, such as YouTube or another space.

This stage also includes drafting story boards and mood boards before moving forward with production with camera, lighting and sound — with all being equally important.

“If you get one of those wrong, the whole project is shot,” Will Troutman said. “...Production days are about making sure all of that looks and sounds exactly right.”

The “hard work,” according to Will Troutman, takes place in post-production, which Niki Troutman said she keeps in mind when they are in production.

“... I might be behind the camera getting footage and I’m thinking about how this is going to look whenever (I’m editing) and what the colors are going to look like whenever we get that done and how are we going to cut the angles to tell the story,” she said. “That’s my favorite part. I think that’s where you get to be especially creative ….”

While the Troutmans didn’t have intention of making this into a full-time business, they are happy doing something that brings them and others bliss.

“It’s just fun,” Will Troutman said. “I just really enjoy the work. We’ve honed our craft to the point where people are willing to look to pay us to do it …. (It’s) something I’m just very grateful for.”

“I’m very thankful to be in McLean County while doing this work,” Niki Troutman said. “It’s really nice to be able to work from my home, and McLean County is the perfect spot to be. It’s always been my goal to benefit my community in some way, and so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do this and the community will benefit from it.”

For more information and to view content by Troutman Creative, visit troutmancreative.com.

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