Country’s go-to videographer racks up miles

Music for Screens: Summer 2012

When country stars like Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean want to ensure their concert visuals are as exciting as their music, they turn to Moo TV.

The Nashville-based business, named Pollstar’s video company of the year in 2010 and 2011, acts as a one-stop shop for artists, providing a complete range from video equipment rental to designing full video shows with images and graphics timed to the music. Moo also provides the manpower to operate the equipment on tour.

Company founder-owner Scott Scovill was in college, “on my way to getting zero credits,” he says, and waiting tables at Howard Johnson when members of U2’s road crew came in during the Joshua Tree tour in the late ’80s.

The crew invited him to a show.

“I’m sitting in the front of the house, it went dark, the crowd went wild and I had a paradigm shift,” Scovill says.

He realized he could blend his love of people, music, technology and travel into one career.

“I quit college, my three jobs and got rid of my Super Sport Camaro” and joined the tour for five weeks, helping wherever he could.

He worked for other production companies and helped acts like the Rolling Stones and Paula Abdul bring then-fledgling video ideas to life before starting Moo Creative, the video concepts company that creates content for bands, in 1992. He launched Moo TV, the equipment side, in 2002.

Moo prefers to stay a boutique operation, handling up to around 10 tours at a time. “Brad Paisley is our most collaborative project,” Scovill says. The Grammy winner draws some of the visuals himself and works closely with Moo on his video-intensive show that includes interactive elements.

Moo sticks primarily with country acts, in part because the company is Nashville-based, but also because of “the loyalty that country acts show,” Scovill says.

This year marks Moo’s 20th anniversary working with Jackson. As his thank you, Scovill designed a video show for Jackson’s tour for free. “I’ll do that for every one of my clients,” says Scovill. “Stay for 20 years and I will happily give you a bunch of stuff.”

Until three years ago, Scovill, who logs more than 125,000 frequent flier miles a year, still ventured out on tour with specific artists as part of the crew. Now, he leaves that to his combined Moo TV and Moo Creative staffs of around 60.

Running the company hasn’t always been easy. There have been financial challenges, lapses in structure and acts of nature: in the devastating 2010 Nashville floods, Moo lost $5 million in equipment. “It almost killed us,” Scovill says. “There’s nothing like a natural disaster to pull a team together.”

Going forward, the biggest trend Scovill sees is the move to Hi-Definition and LED. He’s upgrading his equipment, but good-naturedly admits, “it would be nice to own the kind of business where every year I didn’t have to go, ‘Oh God, look at what I have to change.’ ”