BitFire Networks Develops Custom Remote Production Solutions Through Their Propriety Transport Network

The Sports Video Group is excited to introduce BitFire Networks as a new corporate sponsor. With headquarters in Phoenix and Boston, the company is an end-to-end live video transmission and production solution built by broadcasters. BitFire was created in response to a new-world demand for agile, professional-grade, live IP video transport. At its core, the company was formed from the collaboration of broadcast veterans, including Ken Aagaard, Bob Sullivan, Jim Akimchuk, and Ben Grafchik, and successful manufacturing and transport business owner and strategist, Timothy W. Sullivan.

“It was a top priority to join the SVG community given its reach and history,” says Grafchik, VP, Business Development, BitFire Networks. “Members of our company have been a part of the SVG community for a long time.”

BitFire’s comprehensive platform includes the BitFire Transport Network, a fully managed portal that provides point-to-point delivery of broadcast-quality video to wherever it needs to go. The BitFire Transport Network can be accessed in one of two ways:

  • through browser-based FireBridge, when broadcast is needed for one-to-one or one-to-many live contribution and collaboration
  • through FirePower, a stackable HD server and authentic configuration that receives and delivers video packets with deterministic latency and frame-accurate synchronization

BitFire production services are provided by a team of broadcast experts, along with production trucks and additional assets, including remote production control rooms (REMI), camera packages, and live production and post- production capabilities. The BitFire team takes live video from where it is, to where it needs to be.

Over the past year, BitFire Networks has been at the center of many high-profile sports productions. One of the biggest was the NHL Draft back in October. BitFire was able to integrate all 31 teams and more than 40 of the top prospects around the globe into the BitFire Transport Network. The setup allowed them to transmit live feeds to and from The NHL Network’s control center in Secaucus, NJ.

“Collaborating with BitFire to produce coverage of the 2020 NHL Draft was an extremely rewarding experience,” says Susan Stone SVP Operations & Engineering, MLB Network. “BitFire provided a robust and efficient IP transmission system, which was vital in presenting this world-class virtual experience for one of the NHL’s tentpole events.

Staying within NHL-related productions, BitFire was also tapped for the 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship and the live streams being presented on Twitch. With competitors playing in remote locations around the world, BitFire’s FireBridge helped players communicate with one another while their discrete camera and audio feeds were sent to BitFire’s control room in Boston for a full broadcast production complete with EVS replay and Chyron graphics.

As the calendar flipped to college football and basketball, the industry once again called on BitFire to adjust to an increased volume of remote productions. For example, SkyCam, a technical innovation that has become commonplace on both NFL and college football broadcasts, utilized the services of BitFire Networks. SkyCam’s video feed was encoded through the BitFire Transport Network servers and was then sent to FireBridge.  The setup allowed SkyCam to not only monitor and communicate, but also operate their systems in real time, via a browser, from disparate, remote locations.

“While the Pandemic has accelerated everyone’s timetable for remote initiatives, we found BitFire has a mature solution and platform already in place,” says Stephen Wharton, Chief Operating Officer, SkyCam.

In addition, CBS Sports Network’s partner, Gravity Productions, leveraged BitFire servers inside their onsite mobile units for the NCAA Season. Bitfire sent real-time feeds to announcers in their offsite production facility in New Jersey and back to Gravity’s headquarters in California to add graphics and replay elements.

These numerous case studies illustrate the reliability and reach of BitFire’s production services. Moving forward, Grafchik is excited to showcase these products to a larger audience through the Sports Video Group.

“SVG is an industry leader,” he concludes. “The ability to work with other leaders across various aspects of sports video production will allow us to provide a more advanced, agile, and scalable product as we continue to deal with the ever-evolving changes within the technical landscape which is sports video.”

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