John Burkley founded Midwest Cine Services in 1974 in Kansas City, Mo. The company began by building it’s own truck mounted camera crane/insert car with the help of a local machinist, then building a lighting and grip truck for commercial productions. Midwest Cine Services capitalized on the booming agricultural and regional commercial production market.
Tom Dischert moved from St. Louis to join the expanding company in 1978 providing experience as a Key Grip with John Burkley as Gaffer, soon Midwest Cine Services was providing equipment and technical skills to locally based major production company’s for New York to Los Angeles and throughout the Midwest. The company added additional personnel and even helped set up the Missouri Film Commission. Midwest Cine Services had a custom 5th wheel trailer built for larger productions and started in the feature film rental business, this led to a full size 65’ tractor/trailer complete with a Crawford Generator for large commercial productions and bigger feature films.
John Burkley and Tom Dischert incorporated Midwest Cine Services in 1980, added more trucks and moved to a larger facility in south Kansas City, Mo.
By 1984 the agricultural production market had slowed down and the company had more equipment than the Midwest production market could support, so Tom Dischert took half the equipment and opened an operation in Doylestown, Pennsylvania and changed the name to Cine Services, Inc. Within a few short years Cine Services, Inc. grows to the largest rental/sales facility in the Philadelphia area. Meanwhile, John Burkley took the other half of Cine Services, Inc and moved back to St. Louis, Mo.
Cine Services, Inc. began to grow in St. Louis, expanding the facility to include a retail showroom for expendable supplies and a rental production stage in Hanley Industrial Court. The St. Louis office became the primary base for feature film truck rentals as John Burkley went on to work on over 30 feature films as Chief Lighting Technician. In 1999, Cine Services, Inc. purchased a 30,000 sq. ft. building on South Broadway in downtown St. Louis with the expansion including set construction, custom fabrication of production equipment, and adds The Prop Source.
In March 2001, tragedy struck Cine Services, Inc. with the sudden death of Tom Dischert and in August split into two separate companies allowing the sale of the Pennsylvania operation to a local investor and friend of Tom Dischert. With the 9/11 attacks and lack of experience, the Pennsylvania operation was liquidated within 2 years.
John Burkley chose to quit life “on the road” as a Chief Lighting Technician for big budget films in 2005 and began a year long sale of all of the production trucks, cranes, generators, and lighting & grip equipment, including The Prop Source. Cine Services, Inc. transformed itself into providing theatrical lighting design, dimming systems and controls.
The years of experience in feature films provided the background to design and provide the equipment for churches, schools, professional theatre, TV studios, and even architectural exteriors with a key to the growth in a need for experience in lighting for television in churches and to coordinate the house lighting into the business system. With all the space available, Cine Services, Inc. is able to perform testing and evaluation of many manufacturers equipment to find the best performance and value for the clientele.
Cine Services, Inc. sold the building in 2005 signing a long-term lease for 1/3 of it, helping the St. Louis facility grow very rapidly surpassing the former annual rental revenue in just a few years. Our showroom is stocked with the best lighting fixtures that can be demonstrated for the user to compare performance and an expendable supplies inventory that meets the needs of local theatres, schools, churches, and still photographers. Cine Services grew to become one of the largest stocking distributor/dealers for Rosco and other fine companies.
Today, Cine Services, Inc. operates the finest showroom and design facility in the Midwest. Our design room utilized LD Assistant AutoCAD software allowing us to open most architects CAD drawings to add lighting, dimming, and controls. We have access to manufacturer CAD files on all their dimming and controls hardware and our web site provides just a small sampling of the many projects we have completed.