If you are a new customer to one of Vistek’s Canadian stores, you know you have made it to the big leagues in video and photography. The photography, video and digital imaging products are not displayed between DVDs and microwaves. Rather, Vistek’s primary focus is on offering an exemplary selection of the world’s top brand names and leading technology, at which they have succeeded. From departments dedicated to DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders, lighting, tripods…the list is exhaustive, providing the tools for customers to achieve the results they wish, from personal to commercial use.
There are two types of Vistek customers. Photographers and photographers in the making. Vistek is comprised of a community of photographers and videographers, starting with the President, Ron Silverstein, who founded Vistek out of a need he identified within the Toronto photography community. In 1976, Silverstein, fresh out of college, was starting his photography business and supplemented his income by renting out his studio and equipment to fellow photographers. Before he knew it, Silverstein was doing more rental business with photographers than art directors, and realised there was a need for a retailer to serve the professional and consumer markets.
Since that time, Vistek—which is a combination of Visual Technology—has grown to six retail stores across the country. “We have broadened enormously,” says Silverstein, adding the stores now carry 15,000 different products. “I had a feeling as a young photographer there were vendors in town who didn’t have the knowledge to support me as a young, commercial photographer, which is what Vistek now provides,” he continues, adding that everyone at the Vistek sales counter has either real photo or video experience or have a been trained at college. That creates the personality of Vistek.
Vistek is a solutions-oriented business. It’s actually about finding out from the customer whether their needs are for personal or professional use and finding out what the client is trying to accomplish. “This is what enables us to ensure the customer gets the right thing and shows them that our staff can teach them to use the product properly,” says Silverstein.
Looking to shoot a commercial on a Sony PMW-EX3 XD camera? Professional photographers often are, and they go to Vistek for rental needs. For those looking for a point-and-shoot camera or a camcorder to record special moments in their lives, Vistek has the solution for those needs as well. But no matter if you’re renting or buying, Vistek’s selection of equipment, prices and staff who share an enthusiasm for the art has set the standard in the Canadian video and photography industry.
Vistek has grown alongside its customers during the 30 years it has been in the industry, and this relationship affords the company to do special things for its clients that other stores just cannot. For instance, if you were like a recent customer who wished to a multi-camera type shot and you needed 36 Canon cameras at once, it is very likely Vistek will drain their stock and to help make this happen, as they did for this specific customer. “This,” says Silverstein, “is the type of thing a regular photography shop wouldn’t do. They wouldn’t have that type of customers asking to do it either. To continue fostering new and developing talent and creating communities for professional photographers and videographers, in June of this year, Vistek organised the first annual ProFusion 2010 Pro Video Expo, the first and only video expo and trade show of its kind in Canada.”
Silverstein’s vision behind ProFusion was to create a place for vendors, videographers and those generally interested in the burgeoning technology to congregate once a year. For those who endeavour to produce and deliver exciting and relevant video, the two-day event, held in Toronto, Ontario, included seminars, demonstrations (in a unique product demonstration theatre) and training sessions with industry experts and keynote speakers.
The aim of ProFusion is to create the most dynamic, technologically-advanced Pro Video event in Canada. Silverstein and the Vistek team know that the world of video and video production is at an exciting point in its development, “a point that sees still photography mediums morphing into the world of video in a visually stunning and a technologically exciting way. Video has become such an import part of our culture and business that we couldn’t help but put this show together.”
“The photography industry has not had a professional video show ever in Canada, and it was quite a large success with over 2000 people visiting and all the large exhibitors. It created a central point for professional video industry in Canada which didn’t occur before,” says Silverstein. Based on the success of the inaugural expo, ProFusion 2011 will be even bigger and better.