ARTICLE

DATE
October 12th,
2016

MOMENTFACTORY

KAME KAI

MOMENTFACTORY

Marc-André Baril / マッカンドレ・バリル

In order to realize collaboration with various domains, Dentsu Lab Tokyo occasinally hosts talk session where artists, technologists, data scientists, scholars, writers come together.
Taken from Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Caretta Fountain”, a fountain of turtle, this talk session is named “Kamekai” (which literally translates as the “Turtle Gathering”) and aimed to bring various thoughts and view points among the participants and create an interactive session that won’t become a mere lecture.

Marc-André Baril

Marc-André Baril is director of Moment Factory’s new Tokyo office and in charge of business development in Asia. His strategic vision, technical expertise and passion for multimedia led him to direct international teams of artists and technicians in Montreal, Los Angeles and Tokyo. For the past 10 years, he has contributed to the growing profile of Moment Factory, leading the creation and production of innovative interactive and immersive experiences for dozens of high-profile clients around the world.

His participation in the development of X-Agora, Moment Factory’s proprietary interactive media management and playback system, his cutting-edge approach to digital art and his strong leadership led him to spearhead a brand new interactive content team. From 2012 to 2015, he explored and pioneered new real-time content production pipelines for the studio, and led the creative direction of multiple multimedia experiences. Marc-André played a lead role in the creation of innovative interactive content at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (LAX), which garnered six awards from international arbiters, including two for his work on the project’s generative art work named: “Data Cloud”.


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Mr. Baril: At Moment Factory, we say, “We Do It in Public.” This signature is the key to our vision. Creating connections between people through shows and destinations is what we do. Moment Factory started out by creating events and stunts, including experiential marketing and concerts, and by working with artists, which is really what brought us to where we are today. We are a multimedia entertainment studio specializing in the creation, design, and production of multimedia experiences from conception to final installation.

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You could say that shows are in our DNA. More recently, we have created our own signature shows. On the other hand, our destination projects are focused on creating permanent experiences and interactive installations in places like airports, stadiums, casinos, shopping mall, etc. We have a wide array of expertise in-house: from producers to directors; from software developers to creative technologists; etc. In fact, there’s a little bit of magic in all that we do. Like magicians, we aspire to hide the technology behind the experience we create.

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When I joined Moment Factory ten years ago, we were just 20 employees. We now have a staff of more than 200 at our headquarters in Montreal, Canada, and we have four satellite offices in Los Angeles, Paris, London and now in Tokyo. Six years ago, I founded Moment Factory’s interactive team of creative technologists and, in 2015, I moved to Los Angeles as producer and to manage the office. Now, I am directing the Tokyo office as well as Asia Business Development.

Here is a video about Moment Factory’s vision, energy, and culture:

Madonna – Super Bowl Halftime Show


Madonna – Super Bowl Halftime Show [MAKING-OF]

The 2012 Super Bowl halftime show was a defining project for Moment Factory. The stakes were high: we had to create an enhanced, immersive visual environment around Madonna throughout her 12-minute performance. The Super Bowl is a live broadcast watched by millions, and we had very little time to set up and make it happen. That project convinced us that projection mapping is one of the best tools at our disposal to tell stories and to create connections among people through a multimedia experience.

Projection Mapping at the Sagrada Familia

Montreal signe Ode à la vie, Sagrada Familia

As we were working on the Super Bowl show, we were also developing our own playback software for projection mapping called X-Agora, and we were looking for a challenging building to map. We were invited by the cities of Barcelona and Montreal to create a show on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, an architectural icon. For many reasons, this was an exciting project for us, in part because we had complete creative control over the story as well as over the content, the lighting, playback and the technical design process. It was Gaudi’s dream to put color on the Sagrada Familia, so that was a great inspiration for us. People were touched by the story we told and the beauty of the experience we created.

Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

Los Angeles Airport (LAX): The Largest Immersive Multimedia Installation

Moment Factory’s project at the International Terminal of Los Angeles International Airport presented us with a challenge: we wanted to make sure passengers would have a unique experience every time they visited. To meet this challenge, we created approximately four hours of pre-rendered and interactive content. This content was intended to inspire travelers and create an immersive environment as they move through the terminal. There’s a system that pushes content depending on the season, time of day and the traveler’s destination. For example, the Portals displays content related to the destinations of upcoming departing flights. So, if the next flight is to Paris, the system would push this content automatically to the screens.

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Mr. Baril talks about some of Moment Factory’s amazing projects.

Foresta Lumina

Foresta Lumina: From Park to Illuminated Forest

In 2014, we launched Foresta Lumina, an illuminated night walk in a forested park. By projection mapping on trees and other elements of nature to tell a story, we created a 45-minute experience in the forest that is magical and full of surprises. Foresta Lumina is an interactive experience—we invited visitors to participate by telling their secrets to the trees.

This trail is open during the day, so the technology needs to be perfectly concealed, which was a challenge for us. Ultimately, our work is about augmenting reality, rather than replacing reality. The forest was an unexpected source of inspiration. The project has created a huge boost in annual attendance at the park, as well as improved tourism in the nearby town. Now, there are cities all around the world interested in the opportunity to create a multimedia experience in forests.


Nine Inch Nails


Moment Factory’s 2008 Nine Inch Nails show put us on the map in the creative technology field. This show was one of the first examples of interactivity on stage. We used an infrared scanner on stage and the drummer created his own sequences live in front of the crowd. The visuals aren’t time-coded, which allows for improvisation and creativity. At the time, this degree of artist-control over the technology was novel. The experience was a visual “jam” between the artists onstage and the public.

On the 2013 arena tour, we used adaptive LED panels on stage, choreographing the visuals with the physical movement of the artists. On each LED screen, there was a sensor that could detect movements, allowing for real-time adaptations. The lighting designer could send cues to change the colors of the visuals live. We believe that simplicity is important for artists, as well as the ability to adapt the technology to any location in the world.

MUSE 2016

図MUSE
Muse – Drones World Tour (Visuals by Moment Factory)

Our work with Muse is our most recent project combining visuals and technology on stage. Once again, our goal was to give some freedom to the artist onstage to create the visuals. However, in addition to adaptive, real-time content, the Muse show employed cinematic visuals to tell a story. For example, as you can see in the video, we used position tracking on the performers to achieve the visual effect that they are controlled by a puppeteer. The impact was powerful for the audience.

Q&A

Audience: [Question (Japanese)]

Interpreter: In your experience, creative technologists can easily talk about technology with other visual artists or visual technologists, but there can be communications challenges when talking to choreographers or concept makers. How do you overcome these challenges?

Marc: I totally agree. It can be a challenge. We have a lab in Montreal, so we invite them to see and experience the technology. For example, Muse came to Montreal and they tested and experienced the technology. Because just having a conversation (“oh you will do that, we will detect your body with the 3D camera”) does not work. It’s all about experiencing, testing.

Audience: [Question (Japanese)]

Interpreter: If we pitch a new commercial, we can pitch it on paper. But, when you pitch these new technologies, you must invest in R&D. To what degree do you invest in R&D?

Marc: Our process breaks the traditional project plan. With interactivity, you need to have already developed the technology to feel confident to pitch that to the client. We do R&D at our headquarters in Montreal on a dedicated floor. It’s rare that we pitch a technology to a client. We pitch a story, a concept and an experience because we already know how to do it. The client doesn’t buy the technology, they buy a concept and they trust Moment Factory to know how to do it.

Audience: [Question (Japanese)]

Interpreter: Is the R&D team and team who execute projects the same team?

Marc: We don’t have an R&D team. Our 200 employees create R&D. For example, our content team finds new ways of creating interactive media. Everybody works on R&D projects.

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