If you've spent any time channel surfing on a Saturday or Sunday morning, chances are you've seen a few of Little Rock, Ark.-based JM Associates' memorable productions. The slow motion image of a bass thrashing on the end of a fishing line, or an up-close look at chainsaw-sporting, sawdust-spewing competitors in a timbersports event - those kinds of shots are the outdoor production company's specialty.
Earlier this year when JM Associates needed a graphics control system for its mobile truck, the company turned to The Field Shop, a high-profile TV systems integrator with a national customer base.
"We suggested the addition of two digital disk recorders with DNF's control systems as a control interface," says Sean Harper, president of The Field Shop. "JM does most of its programming for ESPN outdoors, and the guys there are always trying to bring innovative touches into production to create memorable television. With the challenges of outdoor production, they also want their systems to be as hassle-free as possible."
The Field Shop installed one dual-channel and one single-channel Omega Deckä DDR from Fast Forward Video - each equipped with a DNF controller - in JM's remote truck. DNF Controls' 4400VS Video Segment Fast Access System with a PBIO interface controls the dual-channel unit. Production staff use the 4400VS-PBIO system to give their GVG200 switcher control over the Omega, giving JM's technical directors the ability to control playout of graphical transitions used during replays. JM uses the single-channel DDR, controlled by DNF's ST300 slow motion controller, for slow motion replays.
DNF's 4400VS consists of the company's popular ST300 4-channel controller and specialized Video Segment software. The 4400VS provides quick, easy access to as many as 400 video segments stored on the Omega and can control both video channels individually or ganged. Operators can access fill and key segments from a single cue point and then simply press "PLAY" to launch simultaneous playout on two video channels.
Offering an engineering approach to solutions for the television industry, The Field Shop has been providing solutions for JM Associates' video and audio needs for the past 12 years. JM Associates offers full-length program production, live event production, mobile production services, commercial spot production and original graphics and music. When ESPN2 launched in 1995, JM Associates developed and produced the first outdoor programs for that network. The company sees to it that each of its ESPN Outdoors segments, graphics and musical notes is in just the right place. Among the television shows that JM plans to produce this year using its mobile unit are The Great Outdoor Games, Stihl Timbersports, The Super Retriever Series and Sporting Dog Challenge.
"Our goal at JM Associates is always to be innovative," says Mike McKinnis, producer at JM Associates. "Whether we are creating new music and graphics, experimenting with sound or putting cameras in unexpected places, we are focused on delivering a surprising and entertaining production."
"When we decided to replace our tape systems, we weren't sure how well we'd adjust to working with digital," he adds. "But thanks to The Field Shop and products like the systems from DNF Controls, it has been great so far. The system lets us go where we want to go, instantly."
McKinnis also noted that the new system has improved JM's graphics insertion by providing the production crew with an automated system that streamlines playout of replay moves.
"We chose DNF equipment for this installation because we know it works," says Harper. "The company is known in the industry for providing reliability, and we've been using DNF products successfully on other trucks for years and years. They've always performed."