How does a brand differentiate itself in an industry? It introduces a unique and innovative idea. Execution on that groundbreaking concept is paramount and having the right partner to support the vision is essential. So, when Equinox Media approached Frontier Digital about creating a state-of-the-art studio to produce content for Variis, a first-of-its-kind fitness platform powering the Variis mobile app and the SoulCycle at-home bike, Frontier Digital not only tackled the task at hand, but elevated the project to the next level.
Equinox Media’s headquarters, located below Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, is owned by NEP Studios, a division of NEP Group, a worldwide outsourced technical production partner supporting premier content producers of live sports and entertainment. Frontier devised three functioning studios, control rooms and edit suites, outfitting the entire space with advanced technology often adapted for use outside its forte. Through the process, Frontier and NEP collaborated to configure a never-before-seen approach that merges elements of live concerts, cinema and broadcast.
“Everyone sees new media’s huge growth potential, but knowing how to build out a studio to support it is a very complex undertaking,” says NEP Project Manager Caitlin Statkus. “Frontier Digital helped guide Equinox Media to where they needed to be for the Variis launch and where they need to be in the future. NEP contributed our expertise to help determine what the final product would be.”
“Ambitious projects that integrate technology to reach new heights in production need to have a strong creative and organizational leader to bring their vision to life,” adds Bueno. “By understanding the goals of the project, Frontier was able to conceptualize a plan, manage the build out, specify the needed technology, engineer the workflow, and keep the stakeholders up to speed while bringing it to life.”
One of the challenges Frontier and NEP faced was the hybrid nature of the assignment. “It was no small feat to integrate the different elements, each of which has its own language, equipment and technology,” Bueno notes. “This was a new kind of studio that pulled the best from concert performance, cinema production and live broadcast.”
Another challenge was the aggressive timeline. “From April to September 2019, we built a 20,000-square-foot space with three edit bays, a color suite, an audio mixing and lighting previsualization area, and a control room,” says Bueno. “We also helped Equinox Media understand its staffing needs and financial projections to sustain the environment we created. We were integrally involved in all aspects of the project to extend the brand look and experience to the Variis platform.”
Frontier Digital ideated the innovative concept of a production studio that is based on cutting-edge open-source technology. NEP was challenged with integrating specific equipment not typically found in an IT-based environment, such as Sony F55 CineAlta 4K digital cinema cameras, into this new media world.
NEP engineered the network infrastructure with a strong emphasis on what the needs of Equinox Media would look like five years from now, to establish the backbone to support other brands in the space.
Statkus likens the hybrid style to “essentially doing a multi-camera live sports broadcast with film equipment. There’s constant action, moving cameras – things are happening quickly, and you have to keep up with the pace of the class. You just don’t see this in a typical studio production.”
Bueno adds, “Everything we did technology-wise was to support the instructors and create an environment for them that was reactive to the experience of the class. Capturing the energy and emotions and translating it to the screen was essential for Variis to bring an unmatched home fitness experience to members.”
For the full case study, visit: https://downloads.ctfassets.net/lkpw12svypkb/1VdtW5jSoUsWiOVUx18nWa/3ad5ce321c9ca5258b8dad2a7324d2c5/FD_VARIIS_CASE_STUDY.pdf