Matt White relishes those seven years as a Salina Fire Department paramedic, but he took advantage of a passion during time off that developed into another career.
Working 24-hour shifts earned him 48 hours away from his fire department job, some of which was dedicated to cueing up a video hobby that grew into a business.
"I fell in love with it," White recalled.
With support from his wife, Tracy, and help from two brothers, Matt began collecting footage of "outside stuff." Every experience piqued more interest and begged further research.
"With some extremely excessive behavior and study, we started doing it for people (and pay) after a couple of years," he said. "Then it kind of got out of control."
First came weddings for about 18 months, and as his reputation grew, White made his foray into promotional videos for businesses and institutions, dazzling clients such as Salina Vortex and Kansas State University at Salina.
The company, Rockhouse Motion, has since earned some wings.
Since leaving the fire department in April, White has added a partner -- Dustin Lutt -- hired assistants, among them Bryan Keeler, just retired from the Salina Fire Department after 31 years, and they're booking flights to serve clients all over the world. British Columbia and South Africa are among their destinations.
"Through hard work and meeting people the right way through word of mouth and letting our work do the talking, this next year is looking crazier than anything up to this point," said White, 29.
He and Tracy -- a registered nurse working at a Little River nursing home -- have two young children, and she's expecting a third on Valentine's Day.
The Whites recently were driving to Utah where Lutt, 27, was getting married. For obvious reasons, Lutt could not be reached for comment for this story.
A partnership developed in September after White saw Lutt's work on Facebook. Lutt was living in South Dakota at the time.
"It's truly great work. I asked him to come down and help on two pro bono pieces, and I offered him part of the company," White said.
With top-of-the-line "Red Digital Cinema" equipment that produces five times the resolution as high definition television, according to White, their youthful imaginations, and enthusiasm, these chums are snaring business.
"We want to touch on an emotional level, move people," White said. "Even with a company that makes valves, a film should be entertaining to watch."
Salina Vortex, which makes valves for handling dry bulk materials, sought to duplicate the "wow factor" customers glean from visits to the Salina plant, said Jeff Thompson, company president and CEO.
Page 2 of 2 - In a challenge to Vortex's "marketing guys," Thompson said, "There are people who just can't make it to Salina. Is there a way we can put together a video to get across the 'Wow factor' message?"
They found Rockhouse Motion, which did a branding film for Vortex. The aim is "to not sell a product but to sell a name," White said. Their work impressed Thompson.
"They're young, creative and have some unbelievable technology. Some of the shots they took of our shop were pretty neat," he said. "Capturing our workers ... smiling and engaged showed it's a fun place to work. I was very pleased."
The video for KSU-Salina focused on a young boy mesmerized by the wonder of flight as he watched a spray pilot at work.
"They're very gifted," said Dennis Lauver, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, of the Rockhouse Motion crew.
The videos for Vortex, KSU-Salina and other corporations may be viewed at salinakansas.org. Go to "news and events" and click on "video links."
"It proves that Kansas talent is exceptional," Lauver said.
Rockhouse Motion's headquarters is on White's grandparents' farmstead west of Lindsborg, which was homesteaded in the 1890s. The sandstone home out back, which is still holding up to Kansas extremes, provides the basis for the company name.
The partners use gear -- cranes, steady cams and sliders -- that White said is uncommon in these parts for shooting advertising video.
"We want to bring all that stuff, that normally only big companies can afford, to Middle America," White said. "We handle it all in-house. It's a turn-key production house in the middle of Kansas."
Rockhouse Motion isn't resting on promotional videos.
"Eventually, we want to make films that aren't aimed at advertising," White said. "We want to make feature length films, documentaries that take a topic and tell that story in a cinematic fashion."
Salina Fire Chief Larry Mullikin misses the paramedic who bolted for moving pictures.
"He did outstanding work. I'd dearly love for him to come back to work for us, but I don't think that's going to happen," Mullikin said. "He's as great of a photographer as he was a paramedic. I hope he excels and achieves what his heart desires. That's something that burns in his chest."