Mills James

Mills James
Mills James
Type Private
Industry Creative media
Founded Incorporated May 1, 1984
Founder(s) Ken Mills and Cameron James
Headquarters Flag of the United States.svg Columbus, Ohio, USA
Key people Cameron James, CEO
Ken Mills, president and COO
Products Corporate video, documentaries, original broadcast programming, commercials, websites, interactive media, corporate meetings and events
Employees 140

Mills James is a creative media production company based in Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio that creates and produces broadcast programming and documentaries, corporate and institutional video and film projects, infomercials, television commercials, web and interactive projects and corporate meetings and special events. Additional services include custom music, distance meetings and videoconferencing and digital distribution and transmission services.

Mills James has a staff of more than 125 people whose training and experience cover the creative, electronic and theatrical production disciplines. They include producers, directors, writers, Web designers and developers, special events experts, set designers and builders, music composers, graphic artists and animators, video editors, audio engineers, and support personnel. Most work out of its Columbus Teleproduction Center, which houses the company's studios; editing, audio and visual effects suites; control and engineering centers; its Web and Interactive group; and administrative and business support functions.

In the Westbelt complex, nearby, is the operations center for Mills James' Corporate Meetings and Events group - housing the company's inventory of lighting, audio, projection and AV equipment, as well as its technical support staff, scene shop and transportation fleet.

Mills James' Cincinnati operation serves its larger corporate and advertising clients in the southwestern Ohio/northern Kentucky area with a staff of producers, videographers, editors, graphics designers and technicians.



Mills James produces commercials, original television productions, documentaries, infomercials, news feeds, corporate videos, interactive media and special events for companies and organizations including Victoria's Secret, Ohio State University, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide Insurance, Fox News and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.

Two Mills James half-hour television series are currently airing on TV stations around the country. The Piano Guy with Scott Houston, a multiple Emmy Award-winning how-to program,[1][2] airs nationally on public television, and Cash Explosion, the Ohio Lottery’s weekly game show, is broadcast Saturday evenings on a 12-station statewide network.

Mills James' most recent film is The Cartoonist, a feature-length documentary about the life and work of Jeff Smith, creator of the graphic novel series, Bone.[3][4]


Mills James practices what it terms 'the art and science of modern storytelling,' combining ideas and technology into designed messages for sales and marketing communications, brand management, investor relations, change management, employee communications and public relations.

Mills James' services include:


Mills James began in May, 1984, when Ken Mills and Cameron James opened their office in the Canterbury building on Olentangy River Road, just north of The Ohio State University main campus. With the addition of staff and equipment, they quickly outgrew the space.

In late 1985, Mills James bought its first building, the former Beechwold Public Library on North High Street. Extra space on the lower level was occupied by another fledgling company, Character Builders, a cel animation firm.

In 1988, Mills James acquired the audio and video facilities and staff of the production division of Discovery Systems, moving into Discovery's building off Post Road in Dublin.[5] This acquisition more than doubled the size of the firm. Shortly afterward, the company began searching for larger quarters, a location which would accommodate larger studios for film and video shoots, out of airplane flight paths to eliminate unwanted noise in the studios, and would offer room for expansion.

On May 1, 1990, the company’s sixth anniversary, Mills James broke ground for construction of the first phase of its present facility on Fishinger Boulevard, a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) building on 3.3 acres (13,000 m2) in the Mill Run development. The Teleproduction Center was completed in November 1990 and opened the first Monday after Thanksgiving, following a three-day move of edit suites, audio studios, production facilities and offices. The new facility opened as home to the nationally-syndicated Life Choices television show.[6]

In 1992, Mills/James was named Ohio Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, honored at ceremonies in Washington, D.C.[7] A year later, Ken Mills and Cameron James were recognized with Entrepreneur of the Year awards, sponsored by Inc. Magazine.

In 1994, the United Nations Global Summit on Trade Efficiency was held in Columbus, and Mills James provided all the electronic media support for the U.N. general sessions, including translation technology, videoconferencing, satellite transmission services, and media pool coverage.[8]

By 1995, with over 50 associates on staff, Mills James had begun to outgrow its original building[9] and began construction on a 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2) addition to the original building. The new space included its signature two-story glass atrium, additional editing and visual effects suites, a presentation theater and a media vault. The addition opened in December with a reception honoring radio and television veterans of the 1950s and '60s.[10][11]

With the opening of the new addition in 1995, Mills James added interactive capabilities to its portfolio of services with the opening of its New Media department. By 1996, they added Internet development services for clients interested in a presence on the new World Wide Web.

In 1997, the company formed its Presentation Services unit, a content design group focused on creating computer-based business presentations for meetings and events using PowerPoint, Director and other software tools.[12] The company also formed a unit to service the growing AV equipment rental market.[13]

In 2000, Mills James formed its Event Technologies group to bring focus to its event staging, audio visual rental, and growing on-site hotel AV services business. The company also produced one of its first television documentaries, The Road to Something Wonderful, for Ethicon Endo-Surgery to show how advanced surgical technology is being used throughout the world.[14]

In 2001, Mills James became the first production company in Ohio to implement high definition when it produced its first television commercial in HD.[15] In 2002, the company partnered with Fletcher Chicago to bring the first Sony Cine Alta high definition production system to the state. The company produced and staged its first corporate event in high definition, using HD widescreen projection systems for a corporate dealer meeting in Orlando.[16]

In 2002, Mills James completed one of its more unusual and enduring special projects, an elaborate multi-colored LED light show behind sculpted glass panels throughout the new Northwest Airlines tunnel at the Detroit Midfield Terminal airport. This installation, soundscaped with a synchronized custom music composition, written by Victor Alexeeff, is one of the first, large scale uses of color-changing LED lighting in the United States.[17]

In 2003, Mills James became the home for production of The Ohio Lottery's Cash Explosion weekly television game show, which had been produced in Cleveland since the program's inception.[18]

In 2005, Mills James purchased a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) building on 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) in the Westbelt complex off Roberts Road, west of I-270, to house its Event Technologies group. In 2006, a building expansion enclosed the loading docks and added space for a scene shop and set storage.

In 2007, the company announced the formation of its Employee Stock Option Plan [ESOP] which would transfer partial ownership of the firm to its associates.[19]

In May, 2009, Mills James celebrated its 25th anniversary.[20] In June, the new Ohio Statehouse Museum opened,[21] featuring interactive displays developed by Mills James' Web and Interactive group for exhibit designer Hilferty and Associates. During the summer, Mills James expanded its high definition capabilities to become the first teleproduction facility in its region with tapeless HD capability end-to-end – from field production to multicamera studio production, to editing, graphics and digital transmission and distribution. Its HD studio control center made the company the first commercial production facility in its region to offer live multi-camera production in both 1080i and 720p HD formats.

In February, 2010, Mills James expanded its Cincinnati operation to better serve its clients in the tri-state region (southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky.)[22] The firm added staff and facilities to offer more video, broadcast, audio, Web, interactive and corporate meeting and special event services.

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^ |National Association of Music Manufacturers newsletter
  3. ^ Wexner Center for the Arts news release, May 22, 2009
  4. ^ |The Other Paper movie review
  5. ^ "Production Company to Buy Unit of Discovery Systems". Columbus Dispatch, Saturday, August 27, 1988
  6. ^ "'LIFE CHOICES' in the Making". Columbus Dispatch, Friday, August 30, 1991, Author: Julia Keller, Dispatch Television Critic
  7. ^ "Mills/James Wins Top Small-Business Award." Columbus Dispatch, Thursday, March 19, 1992
  8. ^ "InternationalEvent Brings the World to Columbus," Columbus Dispatch - Wednesday, September 14, 1994, Author: Darris Blackford, Dispatch Business Development Reporter
  9. ^ "State-of-the-Art Equipment Produces Results for Mills/James". Columbus Dispatch, Monday, June 14, 1993 Author: Barnet D. Wolf
  10. ^ "Mills James Addition Sets Stage for Lights, Cameras, Expansion". Business First Columbus Mar 22, 1996. pg. 1 Author: John Frees
  11. ^ "Mills/James to Double Size of Fishinger Road Facilities". Columbus Dispatch, Friday, December 16, 1994 Author: Darris Blackford
  12. ^ "Mills James Seeks Growth Through Presentation Group". Business First Columbus Dec 19, 1997. Vol. 14, Iss. 17; pg. 6 Author: Showalter, Kathy
  13. ^ "Mills James Forms AV Company". Business First Columbus Sep 19, 1997. Vol. 14, Iss. 4; pg. 17
  14. ^ Around the world with Mills/James Productions. Videography. New York: Aug 2000. Vol. 25, Iss. 8; pg. 28, 2 pgs. Author: Linda Romanello.
  15. ^ |Millimeter magazine, Mar 1, 2003
  16. ^ |Millimeter magazine
  17. ^ "Detroit Airport's Northwest Terminal Offers New Look with Familiar Themes." Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington: Feb 17, 2002. pg. 1 Author: John Gallagher.
  18. ^ "CASH EXPLOSION Moving to Columbus". Columbus Dispatch, April 17, 2003 Author: Tim Feran
  19. ^ |Business First Columbus, April 9, 2007
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Hands-on history at Capitol museum," Columbus Dispatch, - Monday, June 8, 2009 Author: Alan Johnson
  22. ^ "Mills James to Expand in Cincinnati," Cincinnati Business Courier - Monday, February 8, 2010|

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