Kodiak Mobile Television’s Grizz HD Truck Caters to Sports Postproduction
Five years ago, business partners David Kearnes and Paul Bronsteader founded Kodiak Production Group, a company committed to delivering top-notch production and postproduction in a smaller, more cost-effective package. Kearnes and Bronsteader have since added a sister company to the portfolio — Kodiak Mobile Television — and a new 45-ft. mobile-production unit, Grizz HD.
Kodiak Production Group offered clients single-camera EFP for shooting and editing and rented additional units based on need. However, with the transition from SD to HD, Kearnes found that many clients couldn’t afford the resulting jump in price.
“During that time, we started working on our plans to build a better mousetrap, so to speak,” explains co-founder Kearnes. “We were trying to come in there with a little more cost-effective solution but yet give them most of the production tools they were used to having. Everybody still wants all the equipment, but they don’t want to pay as much. We tried to get as much of the equipment as we could in a smaller, lighter, cost-effective package to be able to get what they wanted production-wise but more affordable.”
Thus, Kodiak Mobile Television was born. The newly minted company took delivery of the rack-ready trailer in January 2013 and worked with EH Concepts in San Antonio, TX, on the interior work. Kodiak Mobile Television, based in Broken Arrow, OK, did the systems integration itself.
Grizz HD hit the road on Feb. 16 in Oklahoma City for the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational. The production truck features a Grass Valley 2.5M/E Kayenne switcher, Calrec Omega digital 5.1-surround audio console, two EVS six-channel XT Nano replay servers, Tightrope Media Systems eight-channel ZEPLAY replay server, Utah Scientific 400S router, and Chyron HyperX3 graphics system. Grizz HD comes equipped with seven Grass Valley LDK 3000+ cameras with Fujifilm lenses.
Because the bread and butter of Kodiak Production Group and, now, Kodiak Mobile Television is sports postproduction, Kearnes and Bronsteader paid special attention to recording, editing, and playback.
“When everyone started going HD, it was much harder to do because those old sports trucks used to have DigiBeta and meta decks for isos. You could tape all those cameras on reels and take them back in post,” Kearnes explains. “[Now], everybody’s using EVSs and [might] only have a couple of tape machines for ingest and outgest, and they really [can’t] iso all those cameras where you could walk away with material on tape.”
Kodiak Mobile Television installed 10 AJA Video Systems Ki Pro hard-drive recorders, an Avid/FCP HD edit system with AJA I/O, and Apple Final Cut.
“With the Ki Pros being able to do all those iso recordings and then audio recording for someone’s post show, it’s just really great,” says Kearnes. “Oftentimes, those units get rented and added into trucks. Since we already have them integrated into the truck, it’s easy to iso all those cameras and audio and everything and get somebody media at the end of the day. … We just physically pop those drives, put them in a pelican case, and [the content is ready to leave] 15 minutes after the shoot. Then [the users] transfer [the content] to their edit system, and it works out very well.”
In November, Grizz HD traveled to Anchorage, AK, for the Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament, which was broadcast on CBS Sports Network, and plans to cover a series of Oklahoma State University basketball games for Fox SportsNet. Grizz HD has covered pre- and post-game shows for football as well as baseball and softball, mixed martial arts, dog agility competitions, red-carpet shows, and more. This spring, Grizz HD is slated to cover the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, FL.
Although the profiles of Grizz HD’s clients may be small, Kodiak Mobile Television gives each production a big-client feel by offering international distribution, a separate Spanish feed, or a multiplatform component.
“Even though we’re doing ‘smaller shows’ in some ways, there’s nothing small about them,” says Kearnes. “There’s almost always two or three shows going on at the same time, and they all have different needs and requirements.”