Aerial video firm helps Southpointe developer raise its game

April 6, 2014
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
A.J. Brach and Jennifer Trapuzzano, co-owners of Fresh Media Group, are shown in one of their studios in Washington. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter
Jim Scalo of Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services is shown in December on the site of Zenith Ridge, a three-building complex being developed in Southpointe II. Order a Print

Jim Scalo was not up in the air on this.

“Burns & Scalo is beginning drone marketing,” said the president and chief executive officer of the Green Tree-based company. “We believe in being the first commercial real estate company (in Southwestern Pennsylvania) using drones. That's what attracted us to this firm.”

This firm is Fresh Media Group, a Washington-based advertising agency that has been as productive in its one year of existence as any one-and-done basketball freshman at the University of Kentucky. It specializes in video, photography, graphic design and other services with visual appeal.

Oh, and in accumulating clients. Two recent ones are among its largest: Burns & Scalo and Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

Behind the Scence Aerial from FMG from A.J. Brach on Vimeo.

Fresh Media's fresh offering to Burns & Scalo is its aerial video capability. The local company – on West Chestnut Street, next to Three Rivers Auction Co. – has three remote-controlled helicopters that can ascend 500 feet, with GPS and a camera attached that will shoot high-definition photos and video. Cameras provide stills and/or flyover video for commercials, websites and other ad sources.

It's an ideal resource for Burns & Scalo, a major developer throughout Southpointe that is in the midst of an ambitious, $100 million project – and wants to show it off. The endeavor is Zenith Ridge, a business campus featuring two buildings under construction and a third targeted for groundbreaking in spring 2015. It is high on a hill and highly visible from Interstate 79.

Zenith I, the first building, will be the new headquarters for Ansys Inc., an engineering simulation software company currently operating in Southpointe's Stealth Technology Center. It will have 186,000 square feet and is expected to be completed in the fall.

A second office building, with 150,000 square feet, will have a mix of tenants and probably be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Burns & Scalo and Fresh Media haven't begun working together, but are near.

“We're gathering ideas for what Burns & Scalo wants to promote. We'll be doing some promotion video of Zenith Ridge and some of their work in Pittsburgh,” said Jennifer Trapuzzano, Fresh Media co-owner with A.J. Brach.

They forged an agreement with Chyanne Dayton, marketing director for Burns & Scalo, which is made up of two entities: Burns & Scalo Real Estate, Inc. Services and Burns & Scalo Roofing, Inc.

“Burns & Scalo is the first company on the commercial real estate side that we will work with,” said Trapuzzano, a Trinity High graduate living in South Strabane Township.

In this instance, Fresh Media will be working largely with copters – Trapuzzano's term. Don't use the 'D' word near her.

“Everyone calls them drones, but they're actually multi-blade video copters. They can go 500 feet up, but we don't go that high. We don't go into (Federal Aviation Administration) airspace,” she said, denying that her company is flying in the face of FAA rules.

It appears to be flying in the face of expectations. Fresh Media opened in March 2013, a little over a year ago, but already has expanded its client list, staff and office space, not to mention its visibility.

The company has about 100 clients and has designed websites for 20. Clients include Washington Health System, Tanger Outlets, Sarris Candies, Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the county Tourism Promotion Agency.

Last summer, Fresh Media had four full-time employees, a part-timer and a few freelancers. It now has five full-timers and three part-time aerial people, for whom, Trapuzzano said, “this will be more than part-time.”

And during its brief existence, Fresh Media already has won two Telly Awards for cinematography and promotional videos. Brach, a McGuffey alum, won nine of these national awards while working previously at Creative Visions, a video company in Washington.

“We tell clients we can be as small or large as they want us to be,” said Melissa Sosso, business development director and a Scenery Hill resident.

Her company came up big Wednesday when it reached an agreement to shoot aerial and ground video at the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon May 4, along with related events the two days before that.

“This is really exciting,” Trapuzzano said of the marathon. But she could have been referring to the Burns & Scalo endeavor, or a number of other projects her firm is undertaking.

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Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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