In August last year, the Eurocam Media Center – formerly known, pre-messy bankruptcy, as the home of audiovisual titan Alfacam – changed ownership after its acquisition by Glenn Roggeman’s AED group.
Two months later, the CEO and his team started the renovation and refurbishment of the studio facilities, and on 27 February, the ink on the contract barely dry, AED Studios swung open its doors for the first time.
AED is clearly eyeing the lucrative corporate and event market, positioning itself to move beyond traditional production and recording – and on its grand opening, Roggeman made time to guide his guests through the new studios, production areas, guest rooms and offices.
“Today, less than half a year since we bought the real estate, we have upgraded most of the studios,” Roggeman explains. “Seven studios are equipped with a full technical ceiling – trussing, hoists and controllers – four are ‘black box’, to be used and adapted for specific production assignments; and five others have been fully fitted with the most recent sound, lighting and video equipment.”
AED is currently overhauling and renovating the mains supply network and heating. “We’ve also adapted the emergency evacuation plans and placed over 280 units of emergency lighting,” says Roggeman. “The whole site will have LED lighting by June.”
One of the new multiplex’s most impressive studio spaces is the 3000m² Studio 12, the home of Europe’s largest indoor underwater film stage. “In addition to the 1,500m² pool area, which has a depth of 3.8m, Studio 2 also caters for pre-production, rehearsals, arena stage test-builds and exclusive events,” Roggeman says.
In Studio 11, known as Barco Virtual World after the video tech company of the same name, up to 400 seated visitors can enjoy 360°, digital cinema-quality projection in in a fully equipped studio with lighting, quadraphonic sound and a stage integrated into the video screen.
Studio 54 has a capacity of 1,200 and is kitted out with a “back to the past” lighting set and high-quality concert sound system, and features multiple bars, wardrobes and a separate VIP bar on the first floor.
“Both Studio 54 and Studio 14, an 800-capacity event hall, have a Midas XL4 or Heritage 4000 on board,” says Koen Conaerts, sound department manager at AED. “Studios 11, 14 and 54 are each equipped with 12 JBL Vertec VT4889 line array speakers, four VTX Series S28 subwoofer cabinets and a Shure ULX-D wireless system, controlled by a Shure SCM820 Intellimix mixer.”
In addition to the 11,000-capacity production studios and event venues, AED Studios offers a dedicated backstage area with production rooms, dressing rooms and catering areas; a wide range of offices; 42 bedrooms and 17 apartments; and “flex rooms” which can be used for seminars, meetings, press conferences or as green rooms.
“Studio 6 is our on-site restaurant, and is a perfect venue for corporate presentations, parties and events and the production of TV talk shows,” Roggeman comments. “All this was designed and conceived in the spirit of ‘ecology meets economy’ … the AED group is a pioneer when it comes to sustainability, environment and social responsibility.”
“We particularly appreciate Glenn’s approach and ambition,” says Wim Buyens, senior vice-president of Barco’s entertainment division. “We [already] enjoy a positive partnership in the Virtual World studio, but with AED looking to Europe and playing a leading role in several territories we consider both this facility and the AED Group as being important for Barco.”