Tag Archives: Kickstarter

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.

Animation house Reel FX dives into VR with new division

With a groundswell moving toward more immersive content, animation studio Reel FX, with offices in Santa Monica and Dallas, has opened a virtual reality division, Reel FX VR. This new entity will create content for virtual reality platforms, including the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition. The VR division is based in the studio’s Dallas office.

The division is focused on client work for major studios and commercial agencies. The idea for Reel FX VR was born after the release of multiple high-profile VR projects in early 2014 ranging from content for Chuck E. Cheese to a piece for Legendary Picture’s Pacific Rim, which debuted at 2014 ComicCon. More content debuted at IFA in Berlin in early September, including a mobile version of the Pacific Rim Jaeger Pilot experience and a stereo trailer for Reel FX’s own The Book of Life.

Reel FX’s history and relationship with Oculus Rift dates back to Oculus’ 2012 Kickstarter campaign. Founder and ECD Dale Carman was an early adopter of the technology and one of the first to begin developing for the platform.

“As a studio, we are passionate about finding, using, and pushing technology,” said Dale Carman, founder/executive creative director of Reel FX. “I knew the moment I encountered Oculus [Rift technology] on Kickstarter that it was magic. Creating these experiences for clients like Legendary and our own films and working closely with Samsung and Oculus has been a great journey so far, and we are excited about the future.”


The relationship with Oculus and expertise in the technology has made Reel FX VR one of Oculus Rift’s top developers. “Legendary is always seeking out new entertainment frontiers and technology that can offer our fans a greater level of immersion,” added Emily Castel, chief marketing officer for Legendary Pictures. “Reel FX was a fantastic partner and their VR team did a terrific job at bringing the transportive universe of Pacific Rim to life.”

In preparation of the Reel FX VR launch, Reel FX has brought on multiple team members over the past year that will focus on and grow the VR business. Reel FX VR will be overseen by Carman, GM Keith McCabe and executive producer Gary Banks. Veteran interactive executive Dan Ferguson joined the team in late 2013 as director of digital interactive. Rounding out the unit is interactive account manager Tina Ghezzi. Artists from Reel FX’s feature and commercial crews will lead the creative teams.

Main Image:  Guillermo del Toro takes in Pacific Rim’s Oculus experience at Comic Con.