Documentation for the operation and maintenance of multimedia shows

Project for Moment Factory

Since 2001, Moment Factory has been creating breathtaking multimedia experiences around the world.

Why do we love the Lios team? For their professionalism, excellent communication, writing quality, and rigour. We appreciate their deep interest in our company (we feel how much they care), and the fact that they aren’t afraid to question our procedures and suggest improvements. Their services aren’t limited to rereading content; they ensure that all the elements of the documentation are coherent. In short, we love Lios.

Gabrielle Maisonneuve

Responsible for technical documentation

Need

Moment Factory is renowned for their spectacular productions that immerse visitors in otherworldly universes, like the Astra Lumina night walk in Los Angeles, the Regalia light show in Reims or, closer to home, the Akadi Lumina night walk in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. To make the magic happen night after night, though, the technology behind the shows needs to be perfect. To that end, Moment Factory has to provide their clients with all the necessary technical documentation so they can run the show while preserving its artistic integrity, maintain the equipment and installations, and handle any problems that could arise. In addition, Moment Factory has to give their clients technical reference documentation that shows, among other things, the installation plans and scenographic elements, and describes in detail how to configure and control the audiovisual equipment. In short, Moment Factory’s technical documentation has to give clients everything they need to run their shows for years to come.

Issue

Documenting Moment Factory’s projects posed an interesting challenge: during an installation, things can change up until the very last minute to accommodate the realities on the ground. While this makes it possible to give visitors the best experience, it makes the technical writer’s job more difficult because it’s almost impossible to create most of the documentation ahead of time. What’s more, since this type of project doesn’t allow for any delays, the final few weeks before a show opens are usually very hectic for the Moment Factory team and documentation isn’t their priority: above all, they have to make sure that the show is ready for the premiere.

Despite all this, Moment Factory was able to give its clients technical documentation for past projects, but it just didn’t measure up to Moment Factory’s brand, and nobody had the time or expertise to improve the documentation. So, Moment Factory decided to expand its team (and skills) by working with Lios.

Approach

Understanding Moment Factory’s situation and needs

Lios began by analyzing existing documentation from other Moment Factory projects to get a good understanding of the type of information that needed to be communicated. Then, Lios observed the final preparations for the Onhwa’ Lumina show in Wendake. This experience was a turning point for Lios. They were able to meet the Moment Factory team, watch and understand how they work, and see what equipment they used and how they used it, giving Lios an opportunity to dive headfirst into the Moment Factory universe.

Lios realized that even if each Moment Factory show was unique, there were often similarities in the technology and equipment that made them possible, so Lios developed the documentation for Onhwa’ Lumina in a way that made the content easy to repurpose for subsequent projects.

For each manual type, Lios used a content management system to create a model of different sections by separating content specific to individual projects from content shared among the same types of shows.

Always trying to do better

Subsequent projects gave Lios the opportunity to improve their documentation models, translate them into English, and work with Moment Factory to establish an efficient process to transfer information and revise content.

Moment Factory had the great idea to hire a technical documentation coordinator, who acts as the bridge between Lios and those in charge of different aspects of each project at Moment Factory. In close collaboration with Lios, the coordinator ensures, among other things, that the information Lios needs is always provided at the right time.

Over time, regular meetings between Lios and Moment Factory served to identify new ways to improve content and processes for creating documentation. Together, they created an Agile approach to deliver documentation in two phases. First, on the day of the show’s opening, they would give the client the necessary information for daily operations. Then, a few weeks later, they would deliver the complete documentation, including instructions for long-term maintenance and information for configuring the equipment and show. In this way, despite the tight deadlines, the client would be well-equipped from the start.

Result

Thanks to a more efficient process where everyone knows exactly what they have to do and when to do it, documentation is produced more quickly and requires less effort from everyone. In fact, the number of work hours needed for each manual has decreased significantly! Moment Factory is now able to give their clients everything they need before leaving installation sites. In addition, Lios is proud to have increased the documentation’s overall quality and ease of use (formatting, images, syntax, and structure) while emphasizing important information. The documentation now truly reflects the reality of each project and Moment Factory’s creativity.