19 May 2014 | A region on the move, ICT
Arenberg is undergoing a radical shift from abandoned coal pit to center of excellence for research in cinema and digital technology. Aim: serve the film and TV industry of tomorrow by designing, developing and deploying techniques and tools that put image and sound to work.
Shifting focus—from coal pit to digital technology
Lille Region is using its economic past to carve out a place in the future. Case in point: the former coal pit at Arenberg near Valenciennes. Opened by Compagnie des Mines d'Anzin in 1899, the pit quickly became the company's most productive site, with nearly 32 million metric tons of coal extracted over the years. Prosperity ensued, followed by decline, crisis and closure in 1989. But the site then resurfaced as a popular film set for directors, who incorporated its striking interiors and exteriors into their shoots, paving the way to a new future in image and sound.
Breaking new ground
Site authorities have now teamed up with Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambrésis to develop a bold proposal that will put Arenberg on the map as a unique center of excellence for research in film and television.
Initial work will revolve around DeVisu, a university lab dedicated to pioneering technology in film and digital media, technology transfer and lifelong learning. This fully equipped lab will be able to produce innovative prototypes and assess them with test groups, using a compact screening room outfitted with sensors measuring emotional and physiological impact. Two nearby tech platforms will include a television studio, audio and video edit suites and a grading room. Industry companies will also be able to work on site, tapping into both research and tech facilities. And talented young newcomers will have the opportunity to develop projects incorporating the very latest breakthroughs in research. The new Arenberg center will even have post-production capabilities, enabling film crews to shoot and edit images, then create soundtracks—all in one place. The site is expected to be up and running in autumn 2015.
Driving image research in Northern France
The revival of the Arenberg site is part of a larger drive to grow the region's economy by building its capacity for research and technology transfer in film, television and digital media. The site will play a key role in driving and supporting forward-looking projects backed by Pictanovo, an agency bringing together film, television, video game and digital media professionals to promote and grow the image industry in Northern France.
With three main film and digital media projects now underway—Arenberg, La Serre Numérique in Valenciennes, and La Plaine Images in Greater Lille—Northern France is one of ten regions in Europe driving new images, new formats and new business models in this exciting field.
Source: Arenberg press kit