Rusted Rooster Relies on Facilis TerraBlock to Bring Home the Bacon


Based in Midland, Michigan, Rusted Rooster Media is a full service, specialty outdoor production company. With a focus on outdoor/survival content and capturing the most pristine images of nature, The Rusted Rooster team produces TV shows, commercials, digital assets, and short films for their continually growing list of clients. Starting in 2012 with their successful show Dropped – Project Alaska, the Keefer Brothers, TV personalities and founders of Rusted Rooster, have steadily grown their video production and editing business to a team of 24 full time staff. This includes the Hatch Marketing Group which handles graphic design, marketing and branding for many of the same clients. For Dropped, the focus is on the thrill of the hunt as well as survival in some of the most remote regions of the world. Because of their unique knowledge and understanding of outdoor equipment, a veritable who’s who of outdoor sports manufacturers are regular commercial clients including Winchester, Browning, Cabela’s, Plano Synergy, Buck Knives, and many more. Currently, Rusted Rooster creates approximately four TV shows, 30-40 commercials, and two or three short films per year.

Rusted Rooster were one of the first outdoor companies to utilize DSLR cameras for high resolution HD and 4K video capture. Having jumped early into HD production, the group routinely shoots high resolution aerial footage to highlight the remote and challenging landscapes they confront.

“We got to the point last year where we were bringing in so much data and everyone wanted to shoot in 4K because of the quality and flexibility it gave us in post-production,” said Jason Freer, Production Director, Senior Video Editor & Audio Engineer at Rusted Rooster. “We were running out of room and buying hard drives left and right, and it was tough to keep everything backed up. We decided we had to find a better method.”

The editing team was using individual Pegasus Promise drives for each editing station and found itself constantly transferring media and creating too many duplicates when project sharing. “We were transferring terabytes of footage on LaCie drives between workstations and it was just painful,” said Freer. “There was a lot of downtime spent waiting that impacted our efficiency.”

Taming the 4K Beast

Rusted Rooster purchased a TerraBlock 128 TB 24EX from Facilis system integrator and reseller Keycode Media.

“We didn’t realize how much time were losing until we got our Facilis TerraBlock,” said Freer. “Transferring a terabyte of video onto a LaCie drive and then taking it to the next editor, we were losing hours doing that. Now we’re all able to jump on projects whenever needed. One of our editors can cut a story together and I can instantly open the project on a different workstation and do the audio mix. It’s changed our whole game.” All exports now go to the same location, and the team gets to keep a running compilation of all of show masters in one place that everyone can access.

“We shoot with Sony FS7 and a7S II cameras as our main cameras. If a client requests it, we’ll rent a RED or ARRI camera, but the Sony’s are our standard in-house camera. We are able to do our high frame rate shots on the FS7 and lot of our time-lapse or darker imagery is done on the a7S IIs,” says Freer.

In the Edit Suite

Rusted Rooster uses Adobe Creative Cloud exclusively with Premiere and After Effects.

“Most of our editors come from the same school,” says Freer. “We all went to Ferris State University where they taught on Avid. We came out of there using Avid MC and Final Cut and in 2013 during the switch to FCP X, we all switched to Adobe and have been happily editing on Premiere Pro since then.”

There are typically five editors cutting at once connected to the Facilis system and a couple of others come in and log and pre-cut. Depending on what they’re shooting and what the final delivery is, the team might only shoot at 1080. “When we are using 4K for a bigger show like Dropped we log it in with Prelude and create proxies for the edit, so we can hold more material as the cut progresses. We then switch over to 4K for finishing”, says Freer.

For shorter commercials, Freer and the team tend to cut at native 4K and the Facilis system handles that with style.

“We have our Facilis split up so that each editor has their own 2TB volume and we have a main volume with about 100TB. The main block has all the footage on it.  When we have multiple editors using the same footage for different projects, it gives everyone access with no need to create copies. Using any format we want, we’re able to collaborate with a speed and efficiency we’ve never had before,” says Freer.

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