Jan 29, 201410:51 AMPoint of View

The METROPOLIS Blog

Q&A: Melissa Weigel of Moment Factory

Q&A: Melissa Weigel of Moment Factory

The LAX Bradley International Terminal, with digital content by Moment Factory.

All photos courtesy Moment Factory

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Montreal’s Moment Factory, a new media and entertainment studio, is best known for creating and producing multimedia environments that combine video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects. You may have seen their work at Cirque du Soleil, Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl Half Time Show, Disney's E3 booth, or Jay Z's Carnegie Hall debut. Perhaps you were there when they lit up the facade of the Sagrada Familia or Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles district. Or maybe you saw that they were included in Apple's recently launched 30th anniversary timeline.

Moment Factory was the main content provider for the interior concept and media features in the newly opened Bradley International Terminal at LAX, designed by Fentress Architects. It was a large collaboration consisting of several partners, including Mike Rubin with MRA International, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, Smart Monkey, Digital Kitchen, and Electrosonic with installation by Daktronics and Planar.

Reaction from passengers and the airport management at LAX has been, to put it most effectively, "WOW!" So was mine. That’s why I asked them to present the project at Dynamic Digital Environments-Master Class on Feb 11, at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. I produce this annual pre-conference education workshop and roundtable with architects and designers in mind. To preview our master class, I asked Moment Factory’s Melissa Weigel, senior multimedia director on Bradley International Terminal at LAX a few questions about the project.


Digital screens in the atrium space at the LAX Bradley International Terminal.

Leslie Gallery-Dilworth:  At the LAX Bradley International Terminal, the media features are an integral part of the interior, and enhance, rather than detract from the space. I’m convinced that these features enhance the passenger experience of the space. The media work in harmony with the architecture. What were the biggest challenges in accomplishing in this?

Melissa Weigel: There is a big difference between shaping a space through the architecture, and shaping the experience of the space through cinematography. Think about the typical experience with cinematography, when a viewer is sitting still in a theater watching the fixed screen. Now think about a volume in which there are many activities, the light is not fixed, and the audience is coming and going, or just sitting for a period of time. In terms of content, movement, and color, each individual media feature had to work independently, but then they had to work together as an ensemble. The content had to work for a viewer just glancing at the screen, or for one spending more time there. Then there is the consideration of the scale of this space, which is very grand. How can space be narrated through multimedia? Marcela Sardi and Mike Rubin contributed to the decisions of where and how to place these features, and what form these features would take. We were the primary media content developers.

At LAX, it was important to create "a positive experience after the stress of the departure experience," says Melissa Weigel.

LGD: How do the media features influence the experience of the passenger, and of the space as well?

MW: People are often anxious when they are in the airport terminal. They have either just gone through the hassle of security, or they have just arrived from a long flight. Creating a positive experience after the stress of the departure experience was important. What can we do through the media features to positively affect the mood? What kinds of stories do we want to tell?

We wanted the content to have something to do with the flavor Los Angeles. We considered the length of each scene, the repeats, and the atmosphere created by the content. The color palette of the images was another important consideration. Then there is the element of time and space. The natural light changes, the movement of people in the space changes throughout the day and the night. And the mood of the space changes, sometimes there is a rush of people arriving, and then there may be a lull. Another important issue to consider was how does both the space and the content live or evolve over time?

The content had to respond to these conditions.

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