Arenberg, a prestigious UNESCO World Heritage mining site, began its conversion into a cinema and audiovisual site where science, economy and culture would meet: The Creative Mine.
This future centre of excellence in image and digital media set out to further enhance the reputation and professionalism of the regional sector for teachers/researchers and professionals from the University of Valenciennes and Hainaut – Cambrésis (UVHC).
To do this, Norpac (a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction) asked BCE to integrate the audiovisual infrastructure of the site.
Dedicated to cinema
Since 2001, the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais has been carrying out a project to convert the mining site into a leading European cinema platform. Over time, the project has evolved by creating a genuine synergy between science, economy and culture in the field of cinema and audiovisual media. At the end of 2013 the project was entrusted to Norpac, which then began a tender procedure to select technology partners with higher expertise in today’s multimedia technology.
In 2014, BCE was selected for the integration of:
- The DEVISU (Design Visuel et Urbain) laboratory, including post-production facilities.
- The ANNAUD (Appareillages Numériques Novateurs pour les Audiences et Usages de Demain) platform, including a test hall with Motion Control equipment, a TV studio in high definition and all the means necessary to achieve quality productions.
- The LEAUD (Laboratoire Expérimental pour les Audiences et les Usages de Demain), a multi-purpose theatre with 4K projector and a smaller projection room for research.
- The storage area, with workshops and maintenance facilities.
State-of-the-art technology for development
The old buildings host the DEVISU laboratory and the ANNAUD platform as well as the storage areas, workshops etc. The LEAUD is a new building with the capacity to transform from a multi-purpose room into a theatre.
In this modern framework BCE was in charge of the installation and interconnection of the computer, TV production, screening, dressing and meeting rooms, as well as the test hall and the mobile control room (Régie Fly).
IT and post-production
The computer rooms include post-production rooms equipped with work stations which cover all the needs of the users and the production viewing rooms.
These rooms are connected to an IT nodal where all the projects are stored and loaded. This nodal centralises the data from the entire broadcast infrastructure.
In order to give students and teachers professional quality productions, BCE also installed a production platform.
It includes a TV studio in high definition with motorised and manual cameras (which can be controlled from the control room) as well as all the necessary equipment to record the sound.
The TV control room allows the production of a programme with only three operators. It includes five workstations:
- Filmmaking and special effects.
- Server management, graphics and recorders.
- Camera control and studio lights.
- Audio mixing.
- Script coordination.
The TV production infrastructure is linked to a broadcast nodal, directly connected to the IT nodal, the test hall and the mobile control room.
For any outdoor production or a project requiring fewer resources, a mobile control room (Régie Fly) has also been created by BCE.
This system is equipped with a complete HD production system with connectivity to the nodal, the theatre and the projection room.
Cinema at the heart of the site
The multi-purpose theatre of 528 m², can be used as an event room, but also as a movie theatre. Thanks to an ingenious row system, the hall has 300 seats with professional audio and video systems.
To achieve the integration of this hall, BCE teamed up with a company specialising in cinema installation. The second projection room, whose purpose is to be a room of reduced size (43 m² ) to carry out experiments and tests, has been installed by BCE teams. It is equipped with a video projector and six seats. Both projection rooms have their own control room and are connected to the mobile control room.
Multimedia technology for the cinema industry
In addition, BCE installed the audio and video equipment of the lodges and the meeting rooms, installed the audio interfaces and network of the test hall and the connectivity between the various rooms, the IT nodal, the broadcast nodal and the audio nodal.
BCE was in charge of the integration of a motion capture system. This allows the recording of movements via reflective markers placed on the body. The Mocaplab Eyetracker system, in conjunction with 12 cameras, allows the translation and calculation of the trajectory of each point in time and space. Motion capture has many applications, such as scientific research, cinema or video games.
Finally, BCE also provided equipment for the producers, such as shoulder HD cameras, a 4K camera, audio recording systems, miniature cameras, etc.
The conversion of the site of Wallers Arenberg began on June 19, 2014, and opened on the 25 September 2015. A complete success of industrial rehabilitation, an emblem of the Unesco World Heritage mining area, Arenberg “Creative Mine” is unique in Europe, a centre of excellence in image and digital media. The potential of Arenberg “Creative Mine” is still very wide, with the possibility to evolve in multiple activities.
The site can accommodate many types of events in addition to filmmaking. Indeed, the 34 acres lend themselves to many activities such as fairs, cultural projects, sporting events and business seminars.