quebec city

Xmas office party tradition alive and well at SiliCycle

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eric_17dec_avatar1Xmas time is here. The merry time of year when people everywhere get to spend loving moments, pulled from one family gathering to the next. For many of us, xmas also means office parties. Sadly, successful office parties have become a rare breed of event. I’ve been fortunate in my life, however, to have witnessed a couple of worthy office parties. I can’t help but reminisce on those now legendary Ubisoft Montreal parties, during which I had the opportunity to film and to create a series of memorable videos (I was only able to salvage one of those videos; you can probably find the rest on Ubitube, if it still exists). This year, I was privileged to be a part of the xmas party at SiliCycle, the company in Quebec City where I am currently employed. Here’s a little rundown from a video producer’s point of view.

Family affairs

Founded in 1995, SiliCycle® Inc. is a worldwide leader in the development, the manufacturing and the commercialization of high value silica-based and specialty products for chromatography, analytical and organic chemistry (yes, I copy pasted that from their official website www.silicycle.com). The company itself is a tightly knit core of individuals that seem to have made a conscious effort to include a strong sense of family in its activities. Whereas monstrous Ubisoft events were fueled by raw Montreal geek energy and pride, SiliCycle is yet small enough to infuse its events with a true sense of camaraderie. At the core of SiliCycle is a group of friends from university who, if i’m not mistaken, mostly come from the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec, Canada. Considering the strong traditions in Gaspé, it’s no wonder that there is such an authentic family bond which permeates most activities at SiliCycle.

Inspiring Christmas video mandate

It’s in this context that, as video editor/graphics designer, I was mandated by Geneviève Gingras (head of SiliCycle marketing), to produce a series of homage videos. The objective of these videos: highlight the years of service of four SiliCycle employees during the 2016 xmas party. And so, I threw myself into this mandate with every intention of contributing to the mood of the upcoming event.

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Nicolas Bilodeau, dressed up as a news anchor for one the SiliCycle hommage video entitled ‘SiliaNews’

Green screens and roasts

Aside from offering multimedia and audiovisual support, I delved into each production with an open mind and a readiness to create. For me, each new project is the occasion to learn and to exchange with interesting people. To make a long story short, preproduction talks brought on great sketch ideas and scripts. Everybody involved had a great time contributing and filming the videos. I was also happy to get further acquainted with my colleagues. (read more about my arrival at SiliCycle in March of 2016)

My past work on various projects such as the Blackburn Podcast, coupled with my years as video editor and my diploma in audio techniques, gave me the tools I needed as production moved forward. Aside from this unique opportunity to participate on comedic/roast videos (which I seldom have a chance to do), I was eager to further my understanding of green screens. (One of the skits was set in a newsroom with an animated background borrowed on Youtube and integrated in After Effects … have a look at some of the production photos in this Flickr album)

Last minute preparations

Early morning, December 17th 2016, I accompanied colleague Renée Jacques (administrative assistant to the president of SiliCycle) to the Quebec City venue called District St-Joseph in order to prepare ourselves for the evening’s festivities. With 10 videos to show and a busy schedule, we needed to make sure everything was ready. We were greeted by District St-Joseph owner, Alain Marceau, who was kind to give us the time we needed to set up.

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Eric Mailhot – Saturday December 17th 2016 @ District in Quebec city. In the background, Renée Jacques and District people preparing the venue.


A night to be remembered

After i was done filming the evening and had shown the videos, i sat at the bar for a while, wearing my red xmas tie.

I was pleased that my colleagues enjoyed the homage videos and that my work contributed to the general mood of the evening. Somewhat an introvert, I always prefer playing the quiet observer (maybe I was an anthropologist in a past life). The evening reminded me of my true motivation as an artist. Undeniably, making people feel positive and happy is my principal incentive in any of my endeavours.

Headlining for the evening was singer Valerie Clio and a group of talented musicians (Samuel Lussier on guitar). Her stage presence was energetic and her voice was incredible.

A great many thanks

Many thanks to Renée Jacques. She skillfully took on the task of executive producer for the project, guiding each separate production and making sure everybody was in tune. After giving her a crash course on lav mics, she often took charge of mic setup and was great help with lighting for each shoot. Thank you also to Geneviève Gingras for this great project. And thanks to everybody for their participation, support and feedback before and after the reveal!

Feel free to go and have a look on my Flickr page at some photos from the evening and check out the Flickr album for the video production photos. For more information about SiliCycle, visit their Facebook page or their official website. As always, visit my online portfolio at www.ericzone.com and visit my professional Facebook page and click Like in order to keep in touch. You can also find me on Youtube. Have you sent me a contact request on LinkedIn?

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