We want to welcome all of you to our newly redesigned Rack Focus website. We are still working on getting some of the newest features live, so stay tuned for the updates. We will also be launching a Rack Focus store that will sell logo apparel and DVD’s from some of our latest projects.
Well, we decided this year to enter into the Communicator Awards, to “diversify our portfolio” if you will. After winning four Telly Awards last year, we just learned we have taken home three Communicators. Two of the Awards were for our recent Hazel Creek project. We received an Award of Excellence for the hazelcrek.com website and an Award of Distinction for The Hazel Creek “Bringin’ it Home” DVD Series. We also received The Award of Distinction for our work on the 2008 “Heartland Bowhunter TV” Series. We are very proud of what we have accomplished here at The Post and appreciate all of the creative opportunities we get each year from our production partners.
Three more Dust Collectors added to the Trophy Case
March 17, 2009 – Jason Brown
Since the spring of 2004, Rack Focus Video Schools have been geared around giving the very best information, hands-on training, behind the scenes insight and hardcore networking within the Outdoor Television Industry. Five years and 10 video schools after the first…we are still as passionate and driven to deliver everything the aspiring Outdoor Field Producer needs to take them to the next level.
Over the course of the year, I get dozens of calls and emails monthly about questions on how to get into the Outdoor Industry, how to create a show that can succeed in our cut-throat little world and producers wanting to work with our company to create a TV Series, as well as several knowledge-seeking students looking to raise their game in the field. I literally spend several hours a week on the phone and on my computer communicating with potential students, co-producers and counseling the many who have no game plan at all. I do all of this consulting at no cost, hoping that what I have to say may be the answer they need to achieve their goals in our industry.
For us, there is no better week on the schedule than a Video School week. We spend many hours a year developing fresh concepts for our students that will give them a very real taste of the current Outdoor TV World. We also bring in guest speakers who are relevant in the industry now and bring real-life stories from in the field experiences that will give our students a fresh look into the different directions each journey has taken.
On Friday, we had Chris and Casey Keefer from BackCountry Quest TV stop in and talk to the students to kick off the weekend. BCQ TV is proudly one of our new Series, a Show we feel will truly be doing some out-of-the-box production styles and techniques over the next few years. The Keefers are two of the nicest guys we have met in the industry and are proud to be associated with them and their supporters. The future for BCQ TV is very bright.
On day two we had we had LJ Planer from World Extreme Bowfishing TV give his unbelievable journey in the outdoors. He had some great tips for all the guys at the school for in-field production and his excitement for the outdoors and our industry is unparallelled. LJ is now famous for shouldering the camera that recorded Spook Spann shooting the largest ever free-ranging whitetail on video in Realtree Monster Bucks XVI…a notch on the belt all field producers can only dream of. His behind the scenes account of how the entire thing unwraveled was just unbelievable. I really feel this is just the start for LJ, even though he has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, he is just getting started. LJ is someone we will be doing quite a bit of work with in the future.
On day one of the school we really break down all facets of the field-production process…from iris, shutter speed, audio and shot composition to telling a great story, breaking down a shot-sheet and HD. We cover it all in day one. We go into the edit bays and show the students how it all comes together behind the scenes and some of the mistakes even the best field producers make in real world hunting scenarios.
Day Two really marks the start of field production and operating the camera. We have a section of the class called “Hard Wired” where we take two students and pair them up in a real-life hunting situation, and everything they are shooting is wired back to the HD monitor in our Green Room so all of the crew can see exactly what the cameraman is seeing. We break down each student at that point, which gives everyone a great perspective on what they need to improve on. It really is an eye-opening experience for so many of the students.
We also go through depth of field and how to create great shots, we go on the tree stand and show whitetail set-up dos and donts and wrap up the day with a three-hour in the field shoot. The basis on the “in the field shoot” was to pair up all eight students, with each pair getting a story that they had to go out and shoot as creatively as possible. The group to tell the best story won. We also had a list of requirements we wanted them to cover in the field such as interviews, time-lapses and close-ups to name a few.
On day three we wrapped the course with a very in-depth final exam that I can honestly say only a handful of the field producers in our industry could ace. That’s one of the reasons we created this school, we want the quality of Outdoor Television to rival that of Discovery Channel, A&E and ESPN. Some may have a chuckle at that statement, but every field producer is capable of doing something truly creative if they understand the technical and aesthetics of what looks good and what doesn’t. One thing we harp on is trying to get our students to not just “watch” TV programming, but to analyze it and break it down from a technical perspective… and if you want truly creative content…don’t watch the Outdoor Networks. Most shows are literally years behind the current trends in major network television.
- The Spring Crew (Left to Right): Jason Brown, Preston Bovee, Jeff Senkowski (MI), Daniel Stewart (MI), Jim Brennan (MT), Brent Leegwater (MI), Zack Thurman (KY), John Griffin (IL), Al Pope, Jack Wood (MI, kneeling), Dave Skinner (KY, kneeling)
Here are a few statements a few of our students had via email after they got back from the school. It is humbling to know that they spent their hard earned money to come to Rack Focus, so when we get comments like this it is the highlight of the whole process for us. Thanks to all of the students from the Spring School and for all of the previous students for putting a little piece of your future in our hands. If you are reading this and are interested in joining us for the next Rack Focus Video School, please contact me via email. We are already planning our August session…and it will probably be our best yet. We try to improve on EVERY course, but we have some wrinkles for the next school that you’ll just have to stay tuned for.
Testimonial From John Griffin
“If your setting there wondering what it takes to get into outdoor video, and you have found your way to the Rack Focus Video School site, you my friend have just made the first big connection. Jason and his team are a great bunch of young guys, who are on the cutting edge of toady’s Outdoor TV. Due to them keeping class size small, you are always getting that one on one attention. What was great about my experience was how Jason, Al and Preston, could switch at an instant to help the different levels of students. These guys really take the time to make sure everything is understood, and won’t move on till it is! When your done with class there should be no doubt about what you need to work on and what it takes to get in the industry!!!”
-John Griffin, BuckVentures Outdoors TV Prostaff
**Go to the BuckVentures Website: www.buckventuresoutdoors.com
Testimonial From Jim Brennan
“Hey guys just wanted to follow up on a thank you for what I feel was a great school. I for sure learned quite a bit of new stuff and look forward to applying it on this year’s hunts. Thanks for the shuttle service as well. I would really like to also work with you guys as much as possible. You could use an elder out West to help out. I think you guys are going to make it big and would like to have my name associated with Jack Pine. I will stay in touch and let you know how the hunts are going. Keep me in mind if someone out there is looking for help.”
-Jim Brennan, Outback Outdoors www.outbackoutdoors.net
**Check Out Jim’s site www.downwindhunter.com for a class review and pics
December 10, 2008 – Jason Brown
The Sportsman Channel has just released its Nominees for The Sportsman Channel Producer Awards that will take place in Orlando during the SHOT Show next month. Own the Zone TV, a series I work as one of the Producers and all of us here at the post play the role as field producers and Prostaff in front of and behind the camera, has been nominated for four, the most for any series. OTZ-TV’s nominations include Best Intro, Best Editing, Best New Series and Best
The American Outdoorsman has been nominated for Best Big Game Show for “Austrian Adrenaline”, a show shot in the Austrian Alps chasing Stag, Chamois and Tar. A-Way Outdoors also has been nominated for Best Combination Show for a Whitetail/Pheasant Hunt shot in Kansas in the fall of 2007 by DJay Harter (Former Rack Focus Video School Graduate). Good friend and current Own the Zone TV Prostaff Member Mike Bowie was the TV personality for the show.
New Rack Focus Post Television partner, BackCountry Quest TV is also nominated for Fan Favorite TV Series. All the luck to them, we are really looking forward to working with the Keefer brothers next year and look to grab some more nominations for them in the upcoming seasons.
We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but there are a ton of great Television Series’ up for Awards, so just being nominated is a great accomplishment…but we want to win…ALL of them, of course.
December 5, 2008 – Jason Brown
Well, we finally got it done. Between getting episodes out the door, in-field production shoots, the whitetail rut of the mid-west, a four-month remodel and a multitude of other production projects…the new Rack Focus Post Production facility is complete. Set back in the White Pines of Northern, Michigan, the goal I had with our studio was making it more like a lodge than your typical post-production house. I wanted an open feel inside throughout the studio that would give us a creative atmosphere and reflect our company’s niche as a Producer within the Outdoor Industry.
The lower level is 1800 sq. feet, and 1700 of it had to be completely finished. The upper level is just over 1000 sq. feet, but unfinished and available for expansion. The studio was previously owned by a woodworker and unfinished, besides the bathroom.
Preston and I had a lot of different layouts in mind before we finally decided on this one, with a little help from my very design-savvy wife, Darci. I’ll be the first one to admit that this isn’t your textbook post-production facility…it doesn’t have the best sound proofing, the most advanced editing desks and chairs or state-of-the-art lightning fast network storage system…but it is damn nice and a place we will continue to translate great stories from the lens of a camera to millions of homes. After almost 10 years of running Jack Pine Productions, I can honestly say that I have looked forward to every single day I have gotten up and headed in to the studio. Whether we ran it out of the the spare bedroom, the basement or a miniature downtown Midland location, this new place we will spend the next who knows how long doesn’t make us a different company, it just makes it a little easier.
- A picture from August in the middle of a big mess
- Quite a transformation from beginning to end
Working after hours at The Post
August 18, 2008- Jason Brown
As the next Rack Focus Video School closes in, the pressure of getting our new studio in working condition becomes more stressful. I closed on the building in May, which was a wood shop we converted into our new Rack Focus Post Studio. As you can see there is still a lot that needs to be done, but just a few months ago there was nothing on the inside but cement and exterior walls.
The layout allows for four edit bays, a media room and my office. There is a lot of open space, which is a huge change from our old studio. Our log building also sits on almost two acres of Pines, back in on a ridge with plenty of room to expand…and shoot our bows of course. The lower level is 1800 sq. ft. and the upper loft is a little over 1000 sq. ft. The upstairs is framed but won’t be finished until next year. Stay tuned for the updated pics as we finish.