5:29pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
Fred Rheinstein, Founder of The Post Group, Dies
Fred Rheinstein — a postproduction industry pioneer who founded of The Post Group and whose career included serving as on-site producer-director of live shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald — died Dec. 22.
Rheinstein founded The Post Group in 1974 as Off-Line, Inc. Over the next 30 years, the company was one of a handful of independently owned organizations that grew into one of Hollywood‘s leading postproduction facilities. The Post Group was an early provider of HD services and digital effects, and was among the first companies to adopt such tools as the Ampex ADO digital effects generator and Sony’s one-inch VTR. Rheinstein sold the company in 2005.
In 2007, he received the Hollywood Post Alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a founding board member of the HPA, and earlier served as a board member and president of the former International Teleproduction Society.
“Fred Rheinstein helped to create the modern postproduction industry with his prescient focus on the importance of new creative editorial approaches and his pioneering introduction of graphics and visual effect tools and services,” said HPA president Leon Silverman. “He was a genuine original from his trademark meticulously hand-tied bow tie to his passionate support of industry causes. Fred mentored, hired and trained so many in our industry that it is fair to say that the ‘University of The Post Group’ is at the root of the postproduction family tree. His impact will long be felt and he will be deeply missed.”
Born and raised in Manhattan, Rheinstein produced and directed news and entertainment before entering the postproduction business.
He was a radio announcer at WAAT in Newark, and joined NBC-TV where he stage-managed Your Show of Shows. He also stage managed and later AD‘d the first network Bob Hope Show and every one thereafter for five years. Drafted into the Army in 1950, he returned to New York in 1952 as the AD and part-time director on the daily Kate Smith Show.
Later that year he was transferred to Los Angeles where he began a career producing and directing at NBC News. His assignments included serving as West Coast producer for Today; on-site producer-director of historic events including the live shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby; NBC-Houston coverage for many of the Gemini and Apollo missions; 15 tours in Vietnam for specials and regular coverage; and producing remotes on all political conventions between 1956-1972.
Rheinstein won an Emmy for live coverage from Mihuatlan, Mexico of the 1971 total solar eclipse. After leaving NBC, he started Motorweek Productions and World Sports Enterprises in Atlanta. World Sports/Motorweek produced over 1000 live and taped auto races, and held the rights for 13 NASCAR Winston Cup events.
Rheinstein also produced a number of syndicated series and episodes including Today‘s Business and What Ever Happened To..., as well as covered the Pam American Games for CBS.
He also served as vice chairman of the Directors Guild of America Foundation and a member of the Windsor Square Association.