KeyWall : Key to the digital world

  • 23.12.2010

In Marcinelle, we already knew the company DreamWall, an animation and graphic design studio born from a joint venture between RTBF and Dupuis. Those who keep a close eye on Walloon audiovisual news will know that DreamWall ‘s graphic designers and animators have produced a number of animated series in recent years, both within and outside the Dupuis universe (Spirou, Cédric, soon Petit Spirou, as well as Lulu Vroumette and Chicken Town). But DreamWall is also able to design virtual sets.

Complementarity is a must, Leon Perahia and Thibault Baras have therefore initiated the project KeyWall which will soon offer a huge virtual studio of 400 m² and a series of services focused on digital and mainly virtual technologies: in addition to the operation of this virtual studio for filming, KeyWall will offer a space dedicated to post-production and a second studio called light dedicated to the weather activity. In both cases, the technology used is that of one of the world leaders in the field, the Israeli ORAD, which is providing nearly €800,000 worth of technological equipment that will be reimbursed on the basis of future revenue sharing.

The strong technological evolution around the digital and the technological development of video games tending towards hyper realism justify the exploitation of a virtual studio. It will allow the shooting of audiovisual productions using 3D computerized sets instead of traditional sets. The virtual studio makes it possible to create sets that are impossible to produce in hard copy (both in terms of size and content) and to change sets very quickly. The limits of creativity are thus pushed back (augmented reality, TV fiction).

From an economic point of view, a studio like the one KeyWall will have also has some advantages. Indeed, the cost of a virtual set is lower than the cost of a real set. This avoids the physical construction of the sets, their storage, handling… The virtual set allows a constant adaptation of the sets, a varied design and a quick launch. This results in an optimal rotation of the studios.

In concrete terms, the virtual studio will be located in the Dupuis warehouses in Marcinelle, where the comics were stored until now. These warehouses have a size of 3.000 m², but the whole area will not be used at first. Indeed, the studio that is planned to be set up at the time of the company’s incorporation should occupy “only” 400 m², which leaves opportunities for the future. As part of the post-production activities, KeyWall will also host companies
partners, including Genval-Les-Dames and Mediares. The ideal location of the studios, very accessible and close to important road, rail and airport communication nodes, is another asset that will allow KeyWall to quickly become one of the nerve centers of digital activity in Wallonia and Europe.

Léon Perahia and Thibault Baras, the founding fathers of this innovative structure, are supported by five investors: RTBF and Dupuis, with their joint experience in DreamWall, share 40% of the company equally. As is the case with DreamWall, KeyWall will allow these shareholders to have their own high performance tool: no need to outsource!
In addition, the two regional television stations TéléSambre and RTC Liège hold 5% of the capital. In addition to these private companies, there are two public partners, each with a 20% stake, namely Sambrinvest and … Wallimage Entreprises.

It should also be noted that the project leaders are also discussing with Virtualis in order to create synergies rather than unnecessary competition, as the two structures can be complementary in many aspects. In this context, a cross-shareholding is envisaged and is currently being studied by each of the parties…