Thursday, February 28, 2013

Q&A - The Fly Collective

I dig collaborations and when I found out that Ivan Orsic and Russell Schnitzer had linked up, forming The Fly Collective, and are working on some interesting film projects I figured it would be good.  I figured right and their freshman effort, dubbed Cold Blue Nights, was released this week and is already showing up on websites and blogs the internet wide.

Certainly I can't be the only one who wants to know more of what Ivan and Russ have going on and last week emailed them a short interview which they replied to in the Q&A below.

The images in this interview were pulled from The Fly Collective Instagram page.

So, who and what is The Fly Collective and how did you two get here together?
The Fly Collective is a collaborative fly fishing media project of Ivan Orsic (Yukon Goes Fishing) and Russell Schnitzer (schnitzerPHOTO).

Russ - We had been acquaintances via our respective blogs and websites for a while. I knew from the outset that I liked Ivan's style, and recognized his eye for editing and his ear for music. It is pretty much coincidence that we both ended up in the Denver area during 2012. Naturally, we fished together a couple of times. I recognized right away that it would be great to work with him.

Ivan - First and foremost, Russ is a good, genuine dude who is passionate about waters that hold fish. As Russ mentioned above, we have known about each other for a while. At separate times, we both spent time in Missoula and share a passion for the Missoula's great waters. From the beginning, I admired Russ' photography. Each photo tells a story. To me, that's what separates good photos and great photos. Russ takes a lot of great photos. When he threw out the proposal to collaborate, I jumped at the chance to work with him. In addition to being a good, genuine dude, he is very talented. It was a no brainer.  

The inspiration for Cold Blue Nights

Ivan, you sure seem to have settled into your new digs quite nicely. How are things going after the move and how different is Colorado as compared to Montana?

Moving from Missoula was hard and moving to a big city was certainly a shock to the system. But, Colorado is a pretty excellent place with some pretty excellent people. My transition to the Front Range of Colorado has been eased greatly by many among the fly fishing community like Russ, Sean Sanders, and Kyle Perkins. Colorado is growing on me every day. I am looking forward to exploring it's waters more this year. That being said, I will always have a place in my heart for Montana. In terms of differences, elevation comes to mind.

Russell, you wear a lot of hats. Do you mind giving readers an idea of everything that you have going on?

Yeah, I may be a bit over-subscribed. I just don't know another way of doing it. In addition to the requisite fishing and fly tying, I am the Agriculture Policy Advisor for Trout Unlimited's Western Water Project. I've been working in non-profit conservation since 1999, seven and a half of those years with Trout Unlimited. I moonlight as a freelance flyfishing, outdoor and travel photographer, and am a regular contributor to The Flyfish Journal, Trout Magazine, The Contemporary Sportsman, Drake Magazine, and others. My work can occasionally be seen associated with Orvis, Patagonia, Brunton, Stonefly Press, etc. Additionally, I ride and race road bicycle, and a member of a team called Racer X Cycling. I've got to have a healthy outlet for the part of me that is competitive. I'm grateful for a wife who understands and supports me in these various endeavors, and a couple of great dogs with which to share in some of the adventures.

Where did the idea of "Cold Blue Nights" come from and how does this fishery change after dark?

We had been talking about where to begin with our collaboration. A short, something we could get started on quickly. It started with nothing more than rumors and pictures in a popular guide book. The Blue River is a very popular tailwater fishery created in its upper reach by Dillon Reservoir. As Ivan had recently moved to Colorado, he was studying several Colorado fly fishing guide books. One of the guide books included a picture of a crazed angler holding a large rainbow in the dark with snow on the banks. Our interest was piqued. Ivan had heard of a guy who knew a guy who might fish the Blue at night, in the winter, with some success. It sounded compelling, and, if the right elements came together, might make for a good story. Russ contacted Cutthroat Anglers in Silverthorne, on the banks of the Blue, and got in touch with a guy who does some guiding for them, Ryan Henderson. Ryan was game, and we hastily put together a plan. Ryan provided what we feel are the right human elements, and also delivered with the fishing. The product is "Cold Blue Nights."

As a tailwater, the Blue's temperature so close to the Dillon dam stays relatively stable. Flows fluctuate. Ryan, who spends a lot of time on this water, speculates that the fish are most responsive to changes in flow. An upward bump could conceivably bring more mysis shrimp in to the system, triggering a feed. Midges and baetis hatch throughout the year. Again, this is a very well-known fishery, and located in a populated area just off the interstate, with bike paths paralleling the river. It gets pounded. There are plenty of decent fish, many of which can be seen from pedestrian bridges or simply from the banks. They see a lot of flies. Night may reduce their inhibitions a bit, just as it does in a lot of other popular fisheries.

What equipment are you two using to capture images and film for The Fly Collective?

I shoot all Nikon equipment. Currently, the set-up consists of a D800 and a D7000. Shooting in the winter at night created some real challenges and learning opportunities. Fast lenses (Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4) are critical, and even then, you have to be a focus ninja. Solid tripods with good smooth heads were also invaluable. Sound was captured with a Rode VideoMic Pro. Stills that require lighting generally use Nikon SB-700s with softboxes and PocketWizard triggers. Looking ahead, we need to get some more serious video equipment, like a legit stabilizer rig with follow-focus. That will be used for our next project.

For video editing, we use an assortment of Adobe products. To edit, sequence and post process, we use Adobe Premiere Pro with help of the Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite. We also use Adobe After Effects for titles and post processing. Finally, to edit and optimize audio clips we used Adobe Audition. Premiere Pro is the workhorse.

What should everyone expect to see in the coming in the future from this collaboration?

Well, we can't give too much away, but we're going to continue to pursue genuine character-driven fly fishing stories. We also want to identify opportunities to weave conservation messages or campaigns into the mix. Many people think Colorado and trout are synonymous, but the diversity of fish to pursue with the fly here is surprising. We'll be putting some time in to some of these less-heralded fish, their waters and the people who pursue them.

What’s been your favorite brews while knocking out editing? Music?

We have consumed a variety of brews during the editing and filming process. From High Lifes and tall boy PBRs to Odell's Wheat beer and Dale's Pale Ale with a Yuengling or two thrown in there as well. In retrospect, the variety of brews from cheap classics to refined microbrews may sum up our approach to the creation of fly fishing videos. A low budget operation with aspirations for top-shelf execution. With regards to music, we typically stick to the music that we selected for the short. It helps us stay in the mood of the edit. It's all about immersion.

How does everyone follow along to stay up to date with The Fly Collective? What websites and social media?

Our website is still about two weeks out from going live. Meanwhile, we're using our Facebook page as the hub. People can also find us directly on Vimeo, Instagram, and Twitter.

1 comment:

WindKnot said...

Love the shot of their video timeline. Good stuff.