Wallonia embraces new image technology
by Aurore Engelen
22/12/2008 - The year 2009 is set to mark a new stage in the development of digital industries in Wallonia. In April 2007, there was excitement in Belgium at the news that Google was to set up in Mons. One year later, computer giant Microsoft announced its arrival in the area. This is not, of course, a coincidence: the two companies are part of the dynamic at work in what is known as "Digital Innovation Valley".
At the heart of this hotbed of research and training is the company Virtualis, which was created in 2008 and groups together 11 firms specialised in virtual images, and in particular the real-time treatment of digital images. Virtualis announced a few days ago the creation of the first 3D real-time full IP studio scheduled for the first half of 2009.
Among the companies represented by Virtualis are I-Movix (international leader in extreme slow motion), Victor 3D (post-production and special effects) and Dame Blanche (post-production sound). Mons thus intends to emerge from the era of heavy industry and embrace that of new technology.
Situated some 120km from Mons, the Liège region is also planning its transition to digital. While Mons focuses on virtual real time, Liège is capitalising on its artistic heritage and concentrating on the new film industries.
The Liège Image Pole – whose brand new premises are set to open in 2009 – groups together 12 companies within its “image factory”. These cover a broad range of new film professions, including the digitalisation of theatres (XDC), digital standardisation (Hoverlord) and 2D and 3D animation (Digital Graphics and CoToon).
The Pole is part of the vast Mediacité project, which will also see the arrival in autumn 2009 of RTBF’s Liège production centre, as well as a new film complex.
This proliferation of companies is in part supported by the business arm of Wallimage, and also adds to the expenditure possibilities of the Tax Shelter, whether for Belgian or foreign producers. A large number of these companies also belong to the Walloon Image, Sound and Text Technologies network, the TWIST Cluster.
(Translated from French)