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Shining bright with Moment Factory

by The Concordian March 6, 2012
Shining bright with Moment Factory

Moment Factory, a Montreal-based company, designed the multimedia components of this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Photo by Alyssa De Rosa

What started off as a company by three men and financed by one credit card is now a team of more than 60 talented individuals based in Montreal developing, designing and producing multimedia environments internationally.
They are known as Moment Factory, and they have recently attracted considerable attention for their design of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In just 12 minutes, Madonna’s stage was lit up with Vogue covers, thumping speakers and a colourful, scintillating projection of “World Peace” that took up half the football field, courtesy of this new multimedia company.
Designers Tarik Mikou and Aliya Orr, who have been with Moment Factory for about two years, worked on this latest project together. “I have more of a cold style,” Orr joked. “Compared to Tarik’s [style] that’s more emotional and colourful.”
Both only had good things to say when it came to talking about SBM—Super Bowl Madonna.
“It was a huge project,” Mikou explained. “A lot of excitement surrounded the project and it was different for me because I got to work with people that I wouldn’t usually work with like animators for example, who are super talented.”
Because the installations can be so different, not all departments are needed on a single project. The 20,000-square foot studio, with its workshops and testing lab, is home to four departments: technology, design, environment and production.
Orr explained that usually, designers only get to work on the first phases of a project, but on SBM, the design team was there from “pitch to production.” “It really brought us together and was a collaborative approach,” she said.
Each department, which is run by a multimedia director, brings something different to the table. First, the technology pros are programming geniuses. The design team is composed of animators, graphic designers and motion designers and is seen as the creative hub of the company. The environment department is comprised of a group of people who define the space in which an installation can be installed and create a model of the project to scale. Finally, the production team handles all the business aspects, ensuring the right multimedia director is assigned to a project.
These departments didn’t exist when Dominic Audet, Sakchin Bessette and Jason Rodi decided to create Moment Factory in 2001. But once Cirque du Soleil got on board in 2003 and believed in the conceptual work these men were producing, the need for a bigger workspace and a bigger team was inevitable. A little over 10 years later, with some changes in management, particularly that of Rodi leaving and the welcoming of partner Eric Fournier, Moment Factory is now a household name, creating a visually interactive experience.
“A lot of what Moment Factory does can be understood in its name,” Orr said. “The ‘moment’ part of it explains the fact that we create moments for people and want them to be blown away by the experience while trying to tell a story.”
“You’re never doing the same thing twice here,” Mikou said.
That can be frustrating for some. “You feel like you want to master what you’re doing, but you never get to that confident state because you’re hit with something new,” Orr explained. “But that’s what’s so beautiful about it. That’s why I think we’re all here, because we are challenged in that way.”
Mikou also had the opportunity to work on Céline Dion’s interactive concept for her stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Other clients include Arcade Fire at the 2011 Coachella Festival in California, Nine Inch Nails, the Vancouver Canucks, TVA (the set of Le Tricheur) and Jay-Z’s concert at Carnegie Hall.
Moment Factory is currently lighting up their own city with La Vitrine Culturelle in Montreal’s entertainment district. They are also looking for fresh, young talent to join their team (graphic designers, animators, programmers, etc).
The company will be holding a career day at the end of March and details will soon be available on their Facebook page. You can also visit them at www.momentfactory.com.

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