FAYETTEVILLE — When ((RADAR)) One rolls into town, it’s hard to miss the 45-foot long recreational vehicle with its sleek black look. What’s inside is even more impressive and it will soon be manufactured in Fayetteville, according to company officials.
((RADAR)) Mobile Studios announced in a press conference Tuesday (Sept. 25) that it plans to set up its new research and development, manufacturing, and corporate headquarters in Fayetteville. The company already has offices in Utah, California, Florida and New York, according to a press release from the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. (The announcement did not provide any details about the company size, nor is there an active website with that information.)
The company designs remote mobile studios that allow filmmakers of all types to process, edit, color and manipulate footage from the latest in digital cameras. What was formerly sent to post facilities in Dallas or on one of the coasts can now be done all in the RV. This saves the filmmaker time and in turn money.
“It’s a pretty huge deal for the state,” said Jeremy Dean, of 5 Star Productions, a national film production company based in Fort Smith. “Something of this level is usually only on the coast. The fact that they are setting up their headquarters here is huge.”
Not only will the mobile units make life easier for filmmakers, it will in turn attract more businesses to the region, Dean said.
For example, filmmakers will need to hire crews, gear rental and creative personnel. An increasing number of film studios are shooting in Louisiana because it’s cheaper than Los Angeles, he added. Having the need for crews that close will mean more potential jobs.
“This will create a hub,” Dean said.
Daren Smith, CEO of ((RADAR)), said one of the most common questions he’s asked lately is “why Arkansas?” The answer is both simple and complex.
“It turns out that there are a lot of really good reasons,” he said. “The overhead decreases but the talent pool doesn’t.”
Northwest Arkansas already has a growing talent and technology infrastructure that suits the company’s needs, he said. It’s also located in a prime spot to make trips in the RV feasible to many parts of the country. There will be three hubs located throughout the country, which will allow for the company to provide a mobile unit within 700 miles of about 75% of the country, he said.
The company is producing two types of mobile units: ((RADAR)) One is the long RV, which can go on location to most film shoots be it for a feature film or a simple commercial.
“It’s remarkable, but an off-roader it is not,” Smith said. “A 45-foot coach can’t get everywhere.”
The new ((RADAR)) Remote is set up in a Range Rover SUV and that allows for filmmakers to take the production studio literally almost anywhere. The Remote unit has essentially everything that the larger unit has, just less of it. For example, there are four complete stations in the RV and only one station in the Remote unit.
A major consideration in developing both vehicles was the cost. They could easily build them to be only affordable to the top movie makers but that gave them a very narrow market, Smith said.
The ((RADAR)) One unit is available for a flat $1,695 daily fee and the Remote unit is $795 a day. That includes a driver, a data wrangler, gas, mileage, the storage, the software and the hardware. Services such as real-time color correction and additional personnel are available for additional fees.
“We decided to make this really simple,” Smith said.
The company is still determining the best location to establish its new headquarters and manufacturing facility, he said.
Chung Tan, manager for economic development at the Fayetteville Chamber, said that this new development will bring jobs to the area, as well as improve the quality of life for the people and companies already here.
She said companies that seek out Northwest Arkansas as a destination will likely also bring added interest from investors who can then help launch and support other entrepreneurial ventures.