The idea for the DARK BAY stage came from the creators of the successful Netflix show “Dark,” Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar. With the space, they intended to realize the vision of their next production and, at the same time, create one of Europe’s biggest and most advanced mixed reality studios. To meet these lofty goals, their production company DARK WAYS GmbH partnered with Studio Babelsberg AG and founded the DARK BAY GmbH in 2020. Supported by funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor and Energy of the State of Brandenburg, they built the studio and are in charge if its operation. The investment was made possible by a long-term booking commitment from Netflix for their local content productions. At the same time, the infrastructure remains open for bookings of the volume by all filmmakers, independent of Netflix.
ARRI had been a long-term partner for the creators, working closely on the Netflix series “Dark” through rental and postproduction services. In the initial phase of the studio planning, ARRI joined DARK BAY and provided to support with the broad range of competencies ARRI possesses across its business units. ARRI cameras, such as ALEXA LF, had been the centerpiece of virtual productions since “The Mandalorian,” and ARRI has decades of experience in color management, image science, optics, lighting technology, and integration into modern workflows. The ARRI Solutions Group has designed, planned, and implemented high-end film, TV, and broadcast studios around the world for years. ARRI also has the experience and human resources to support pioneering production workflows with hard and software and quickly supply all kinds of necessary studio equipment.
DARK BAY meets ARRI (left to right): Jantje Friese, Baran bo Odar, Philipp Klausing (all DARK BAY), Nik Summerer (DP on “1899”), Christina Caspers-Römer (DARK BAY), Dr. Michael Neuhaeuser, Dr. Johannes Steurer, Stefan Soellner, Stephan Schenk, Elfi Kerscher, and David Bermbach (all ARRI) Photo: © Alex Forge/Netflix
For DARK BAYS’ landmark project, ARRI Camera Systems experts delivered an ARRI Mini LF set and a UMC-4. They also helped with the programming of Unreal© Engine Plug-Ins to handle metadata and offered their expertise in color calibration, moiré testing, and simulation. ARRI Rental supplied the lighting, grip, and camera equipment as well as custom-designed ALFA lenses used for Netflix’s “1899,” DARK BAY’s first hosted production, tailored not only to the individual look requirements but also optimized for shootings in the LED studio. Initially, ARRI Lighting supplied more than 70 SkyPanels S60-Cs. In the meantime, over 50 Orbiter lampheads as powerful direct lights, versatile in their application for different mixed reality set environments, were added and integrated.
More than 70 ARRI SkyPanels (pictured) and over 50 ARRI Orbiter lampheads were installed at the DARK BAY Photo: © Alex Forge/Netflix
The ARRI Solutions Group was responsible for integrating all subsections and coordinating partners on-site and served as the general contractor for the DARK BAY’s technical outfit. Together, all departments have also been involved in building a reference studio in Munich that mirrors the technology used in Berlin and is being used to develop tools, evaluate technology, and test the integration.