Tag Archives: Fred Ruckel

When inventions leave the post suite

The team behind RuckSackNY branches out

By Randi Altman

One of the big reasons I love this industry and couldn’t imagine working at anything else is the people. Not only are they nice on the whole, but creativity oozes out of them in ways that go beyond their day job.

Many I’ve interviewed over the years relax by playing music, writing, drawing… even making wine. They can’t help but to create. That brings one pro to mind immediately. Fred Ruckel, creative director at NYC’s RuckSackNY, has a thriving business servicing some major brands with creative and post, but his mind just keeps on creating even after the workday is done.

Most recently, after watching his cat have a ton of fun with a piece of extra carpet in their home — scratching it, clawing it, climbing under it and on it — Fred and his wife Natasha (co-owner in RucksackNY and pictured with Fred in our main story image) thought “what a great toy for cats, and there is nothing on the market like it.”

Now, this is where the majority of people who have a great idea would say “if only,” and I’m pointing a giant finger firmly at my face at the moment. Unlike the majority of people, the Ruckels actually followed through in a big way.

first second
Screen grabs from the Ripple Rug spot.

They immediately thought how they could make this “piece of carpet” even more fun for their Yoda and other cats like her. They cut a variety of holes, of all different sizes, into the carpet and watched the cat engage even more with their invention. But that was just the beginning. They filed a patent, they bought sewing machines and they designed an interactive play toy that any cat would love. They found a distributor here in the United States and pledged to only use recycled materials for what is now the Ripple Rug. They designed the packaging, and their message, and in typical production and post pro fashion, they created a commercial.

Fred lighting the product.

The Spot
Fred shot the piece with a Canon 5D using multiple lenses and Fiilex LED lighting packages with temperature controls. This allowed them to dial the color temps to make it look natural.  For product shots they employed a slider rig and a motorized variable speed turntable. For audio a wireless Sennheiser boom setup to feed a TASCAM field recorder got the nod.

Next up was the post side of things. The video was edited with Adobe Premiere. In addition to Premiere, Fred also called on the entire Adobe Creative Suite — Audition and SpeedGrade in particular.

Fred working the Adobe suite.

While Fred was working on the post, Natasha was creating the branding assets for the website, the video and the Kickstarter campaign. That’s right, this past Monday they launched their Kickstarter campaign.

“People do not realize how much goes into a brand launch,” reports Natasha. “When I worked at Autodesk, I handled the release marketing for Flame, Smoke, and 3ds Max, so I was able to call upon my past experiences to develop a solid marketing plan for our product while preparing all the collateral that must support it.”

So check out their Kickstarter campaign, and their Website RippleRug.com. Your cat might just love you for it.

Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference: Part II

By Fred Ruckel

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. I spent five days sitting in on conferences, demos, and in a handful of one-on-one meetings. If the Part I of my story had you interested in the new world of GPU technology, take a dive into this installment and learn what other cool things Nvidia has created to enhance your workflow.

Advanced Rendering Solutions
We consider rendering to be the final output of an animation. While that’s true, there’s a lot
more to rendering than just the final animated result. We could jump straight to the previz Continue reading

Nvidia GPU Technology Conference 2015: Part I

By Fred Ruckel

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference 2015 in San Jose, California, a.k.a. Silicon Valley. This was not a conference for the faint of heart; it was an in-depth look at where the development of GPU technology is heading and what strides it had made over the last year. In short, it was the biggest geek fest I have ever known, and I mean that as a compliment. The cast of The Big Bang Theory would have fit right in.

While some look at “geek” as having a negative connotation, in the world of technology geeks Continue reading

NAB 2015: Sony aims to make 4K mainstream

By Fred Ruckel

The NAB Show is just under a month away. “Viva Las Vegas,” as they say. This week I had the pleasure of attending Sony’s Pre-NAB press conference to discuss what Sony will bring to the show floor. This year their theme is “Beyond Definition” and, as usual, Sony will have its large booth featuring 11 sections and a central area for meetings.

Sony’s main focus for NAB 2015 is on making 4K mainstream. Sony introduced numerous technologies and methodologies to help people ease the transition into mainstream 4K. From cameras to editing and storage to archiving, Sony has Continue reading

To rent or buy? That is the question

What best fits your studio’s needs is a personal choice.

By Fred Ruckel

When it comes to production, there is always a debate about whether to buy equipment or rent it. RuckSackNY has faced this dilemma many times over the years and recently we decided it was time to take the plunge — we are now investing in the gear we would often rent.

This decision was not taken lightly and didn’t happen overnight because our choice wasn’t a cheap one. For me, it all comes down to quality control and consistent shooting. Over the course of the year we shoot as many as 20 times, which might not seem like a lot to some, but for a little company like ours it means constantly hiring crews and equipment.

Continue reading

RucksackNY’s path to success

By Randi Altman

New York — RuckSackNY, which opened in 2011, has been busy out of the gate with work for companies like Chase, American Express and Chevron. This steady flow of projects has also led to a recent expansion for the creative studio.

RuckSackNY (http://rucksackny.com) is run by Fred Ruckel and his wife Natasha, both Continue reading