BitFire Networks Opens Next-Gen LED-Based Studios in Phoenix
Production and transmission services provider BitFire Networks was born during the recent Covid 19 pandemic and is now ready to take its next step with the opening of BitFire Studios. Located in Phoenix, the 16,000 sq. ft. facility will be home to BitFire Networks, Do Not Peek Entertainment (a full-service gaming and Esports production company) and Bandit Productions, an original program content development and production company with offices in Los Angeles and now Phoenix. The state-of-the-art facility also has two studios that take advantage of ultra-high-resolution LED screens and floors to give a new level of flexibility and immersive environments to productions.
“Studios were always at the forefront of what we were going to do but we just put it on the back burner until we could get the networks up and launched,” says Bob Sullivan, BitFire, President.
Sullivan says BitFire looked closely at industry trends before figuring out how it wanted to approach studio design and the use of LED technology to create a virtual studio was a no brainer.
“We wanted something to set us apart and AR/VR seemed like a great way to do it,” he says. “We wanted to come out of the gates with a clear point of difference and we chose to work with Studio Lab who has worked with LED in the field and at big events like concerts,” says Sullivan.
Key to the service offering is the mix of an LED studio environment and live transmission services which Sullivan says can be used to bring in a signal that has the host in front of a green screen and then drop that signal into the virtual studio environment with virtually no latency.
“We can literally transport someone live into our studio from wherever they are across the globe and that makes us uniquely positioned with a 24/7 NOC for the western half of the U.S, in addition to our original program development capabilities.
The facility will include two studios with two control rooms. The smaller 600 sq. ft. studio is the first to be available to clients.
“About two-thirds of that studio is taken up with the Planar LED wall and floors which have a 2.6mm pixel pitch,” says Sullivan. “We will upgrade that space later to 1.9mm and then move the 2.6mm walls to the larger studio which will be 2,000 sq. ft. While also featuring a 40-foot chromakey wall.”
Three Amira Live cameras will also play a big part in the production process. “Arri is new to this marketplace, and we have the first three cameras that B&H literally had,” he adds. Sullivan sees shoulder programming around sports as a natural fit for the mixed reality environment.
“Networks go all out to buy rights and then they have limited staff to support the shoulder programming,” he explains. “With BitFire and Bandit Productions we can offer a holistic approach to do that for a network. And we’re also the only ones that have the live transmission piece.”
It’s been a busy year for BitFire which has found success not only working with major syndicated shows and news networks but also in the retail and corporate market which is increasingly becoming more sophisticated.
“Our secret sauce has been that we listen, we don’t just sell a service and say, ‘good luck,’” says Sullivan.