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Intel / PixMob: A Step Closer to the Fundamentals of Human Experience

PixMob had the chance to be at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the beginning of the month, where we participated in the launch of a very exciting product we have been working on with the technological innovation gurus at Intel.  The conference, which took place in Las Vegas January 6th-9th, brought together some of the greatest minds in the thriving field of consumer technologies.

PixMob worked with Intel to integrate the Intel Curie module into a wristband that unlocks a whole new range of opportunities. While this new wristband appears identical to the PixMob PRO 2 bracelet, it can do much more: it can recognize complex gestures in real time and allows these movements to control the colour and intensity of the bracelet. Through their gestures, the audience can now trigger and control what is happening on stage while the artist is also in direct control of the crowd experience with their own wearable. The bracelet can also link to other interfaces, such as Garage Band, to become an instrument that responds precisely to user movements.

An entirely new type of immersive experience is made possible. Individuals’ spontaneous emotional reactions, as expressed through their gestures, can be illustrated immediately through changes in light. This was brilliantly demonstrated in A. R. Rahman’s performance at CES 2016. For example, as the artist asked the crowd to wave,  individuals wristbands turned red, eventually turning the crowd into a sea of red light. Rahman then waved all the color away with a simple gesture.

This innovation adds a new dimension to PixMob’s product portfolio and to the type of experience we are able to offer. We can now take immersive shows to a new level, with audiences and artists interacting through their gestures. The PixMob experience has come one step closer to capturing those interactions and emotions that are so fundamental to the human experience.

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Behind the Scenes of a PixMob Show :
Exclusive Interview with Nicolas Dupont, Operator by Day, Magician by Night

As PixMob technology develops further and further, we are constantly forced to adapt not only in the workshop, but also on the field.

 

A PixMob show requires a large amount of preparation, and our production team is constantly on its toes making sure that everything comes together smoothly. We sat down with Nicolas Dupont, one of our operators, to get the inside scoop about this demanding, but also super exciting part of the work that we do here at PixMob.

Nicolas DUpont

What brought you to PixMob and why?

During my undergrad, a couple of my classmates were a part of the production team at PixMob and they introduced me to the company. Travelling has always been super important for me and I’ve always been interested in working with a production team in the entertainment industry, so PixMob seemed like the perfect fit. The members of the production team are the ones that really bring the show together for the audience. There is so much effort put in by the team so that the audience can live one short, but super intense and mesmerizing, moment. When the lights go on the crowd cheers, screams, and waves their arms up in the air. This instant feedback is super fulfilling. The energy that the crowd creates gives you goose bumps; it’s such a spectacular feeling.

Tell us about one of your favorite shows.

My favorite show was the opening ceremony of one of the largest sports assemblies in Southeast Asia. The games were in an open-air stadium in Singapore. Spectators were looking out at the buildings that lit up the city surrounded by tropical trees. It made for an incredible backdrop for the opening show.

This show was the first time I could be so invested creatively. I was able to use my artistic abilities to incorporate the PixMob effects into the rest of the show. We used PixMob VIDEO technology, which has much greater possibilities than our other technologies. Each object changes colour according to the colour information received at their particular location and the information they received adjusts to their changing location when in motion to create a global video image. Using this technology, we were able to create a comprehensive image that established a direct link between the PixMob experience and the rest of the show, as well as the public. The content that we integrated fit perfectly with the show and turned the crowd into a giant screen.

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How did you prepare for this show?

This gig really used the full potential of PixMob products at the time, both creatively and technologically, so it demanded a lot of preparation. We prepared for about a month before leaving Montreal. We had to perform conditioning tests to make sure our video projectors would function in Singapore’s 40-degree weather with humidity reaching 90%. This was the first time we sent signals so far (200 meters), so we also performed distance tests by standing on buildings and walking around the neighborhood to see how far the signal reached. Preparing the material that would be sent to Singapore was very lengthy since we had 22 projectors that were specially modified for this particular event and over 15 road cases filled materials for the show. Finally, we prepared the content for the show beforehand by creating a pre-visualization tool with Adobe After Effect. This allowed us to show the client a preview of the desired effects and work together to make them coherent with the rest of the show in order to create an effectively immersive experience.

How did you, then, prepare for the show on site?

The team was on site for 40 days before the show date. The technical team installed all of our material in the stadium. The pixel managers worked with a team of locals to install thousands of pixels in the stands so that we could do the mapping necessary and perform rehearsals. The operators, which included myself, were responsible for the mapping in the stadium and for the integration of the shows content. This is really tedious work because we have to ensure that all of the 22 projectors send signals to specific zones and that each zone is defined in the control software with precision reaching a seat close. All of this work is extremely demanding and time consuming, which is why our creative director played a really important role in tying these different aspects of the preparation together and making sure we delivered an experience that was harmonious with the rest of the show.

Why is it exciting to experience a city through its entertainment industry?

It’s really interesting to see the different work ethics of people with different cultural backgrounds. You have to adapt to different standards and ways of doing things, which is really cool. You learn to work in conditions that are never the same in a situation where you have no choice but to make it work. It’s a great challenge that really teaches you to be tolerant and to adapt.

It’s also really cool to connect with a different culture through the energy and reactions of their crowds. The feedback you get from of a crowd will be drastically different from one country to another. It’s always linked to the local culture; an artist can put on the exact same set in two different countries and get wildly different responses. This direct and candid response is so cool to experience. It’s also really amazing to see people connect through the experience we provide for them. No matter the diversity of people in the crowd, they all react instinctively when their wearable lights up and this is really a wonderful scene to witness.

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Ready, Set, Shine: How PixMob Creates Magical Pre-Game Jitters

PixMob has lit sporting events on several continents. No matter the different country and culture, there is always something very distinct and spectacular about a sports game. There is a universal language that all athletes and sports fans speak. It makes the energy at the game something truly special. This energy is amplified and becomes magical when PixMob is involved.

 

As a sports fan, you step into the stands with a predisposition for excitement. You are anxious to see your favourite team play, and are prepared to cheer at the top of your lungs. You see all of the other fans wearing the color and gear of your team and the excitement mounts. You feel an instant solidarity with everyone in the stands who is also cheering for your team. You see the opposing team’s fans and instantly feel competitive but also grateful they are there to antagonize you. You are ready to engage with them and build that ever so unique atmosphere that you only come across at sports gatherings with die-hard fans filling the bleachers.

 

As the sound of the whistle approaches and the pre-game entertainment is underway your pre-game jitters are at their peak. This is when the mysterious bracelet you were handed upon entering the stadium lights up. Just as you are amazed that the bracelet lights up, you realize the entire stadium is sparkling with flashing lights. You are in awe. You begin to scream, cheering louder than ever before, smile stuck across your face. The wristbands change color and the stadium shines in your team’s colours. Their logo even floats across the stadium; the bracelets have turned the attendees into a human screen.

 

This feeling is irreplaceable to any sports fan. The culture of feverously watching sports matches is not something new. We want to cheer our team on because we love to make them feel supported. These gatherings are an opportunity for people to come together in a simple, transparent fashion. We forget all motives except our love for our team. The energy that connects us to everyone else in the stand is a pure and sincere one.

 

PixMob is pivotal in creating this energy. The effects that our products create magnify this energy and connect crowds in a way that is otherwise not possible, especially in such large venues. Fans are united, stronger in their encouragement. The vastness of the stands is no longer impersonalizing. Rather it is a bright, unifying net that contains and propels the energy from the players and fans.

 

Best of all, PixMob leaves you with a souvenir that you can bring home. You can hold onto that energy that made you so giddy, and relive the magic at home.

Videos

 

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The Pulse of EDM

Making Magic with Medalla

With big name headliners including Skrillex, Tiesto and Zedd, Electric Holiday is one the biggest annual events in Puerto Rico. For two days over the Christmas and Three Kings holidays, the Puerto Rico Convention Centre in San Juan turned into a giant rave.

On Jan 5, 2015, PixMob worked with promoter Buena Vibra and local beer Medalla to create a magical moment. 22,000 EDM fans received PixMob wristbands as they entered the festival. In keeping with Medalla’s branding we used our single-colour LITE wristbands with yellow LEDs.

After American low-end crew Nadastrom finished their set, and as anticipation built for French DJ Tchami, the crowd was brought to the next level. As Tiesto’s hit track Wasted reached the chorus, all 22,000 wristbands lit up in bright yellow, bringing the crowd from loud to LOUD.

The energy in the room stayed high, with the crowd pulsing with the music for the rest of the night.

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Boots and Pants and Boots and Pants

While traditional Puerto Rican and music such as Bomba and Salsa is based on clave rhythms, Four-on-the-Floor beats are captivating the eardrums of a generation. From disco to house to trance, EDM is enjoying huge popularity on the isla del encanto.

Giorgio Moroder describes the connection we feel to these rhythms on his Collaborator’s interview for Daft Punk’s 2014 album Random Access Memories. The pulse of EDM, especially around 120 BPM, resonates with the rhythm of our heartbeat. Musically, this lays a foundation to layer other rhythms using synths, bass, vocals and other musical elements.

Videos

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Interview with the Director of the University of Michigan Marching Band

Every year, the University of Michigan football team plays one-night game, called Under the Lights. This year, their marching band called on PixMob to add some magic to their halftime show. Band director John D. Pasquale answered some questions to help us get to know these innovative musicians.

 

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John D. Pasquale
Title
Associate Director of Bands
Director, Michigan Marching Athletic Bands
Donald R. Shepherd Chair in Conducting

What is the history of the UMichigan Marching Band?

In the finest tradition of 19th-century Americana, the origin of the Michigan Marching Band was a grass roots student effort. In November 1896, the University of Michigan Band held its first rehearsal. At the behest of University President James Burrill Angell that the newly-formed band prove itself to be a “sincere venture,” the University of Michigan Band gave its first public performance in 1897 at old University Hall for the Law School’s annual observance of Washington’s birthday. The first appearance on a football field was in the fall of 1898.This year, the Marching band just finished their 117th season.

 

What is the mission of the UMichigan Marching Band?

The mission of the MMB is three fold: to provide our students with the best experience possible, to support the University of Michigan’s football team and to support the University of Michigan, it’s alumni and fans through excellence in performance and setting new standards with exciting, creative and innovative halftime shows

 

How many people are in the UMichigan Marching Band team?

The staff of the MMB has 31 people, and for the 2014-15 season, we had 391 students playing in the band.

 

How do you recruit them?

Recruiting for the MMB takes place in many forms: direct, targeted recruiting for specific students; large-scale recruiting through the band directors around the United States; personal connections to current students in the MMB; and an aggressive social media presence.

 

Who composes/arranges the band’s music?

The music is arranged by Dr. Scott Boerma (former Director of the MMB) and John Stout. The drill (pictures and movement on the field) was written by Michael Gaines.  These three are the best in the business!!!

 

How often do you practice?

We practice daily (Monday-Friday) for 90 minutes each day.

 

Why did you choose PixMob for your team’s annual night game?

We chose PixMob because of it’s reputation, creativity, professionalism and flawless execution.  The concept has never been done on a football field with a marching band and we constantly look for new ways to incorporate the latest technology into our performances.  PixMob was the logical choice.

 

What did it add to your performance?

PixMob was the visual component of the show; it added an unprecedented interactive element unique to the genre of marching and pageantry arts.

 

How did the crowd react to the light show?

As is heard on the video, the crowd went crazy!  In fact, they are still talking about it.  This show was a defining moment in the MMB’s history.

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More info about the project : click here 

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PixMob as a brand activation tool : case study of the Heineken Moment

In 2013, Heineken, Massive Music and PixMob developed the Heineken Moment, an innovative take on brand experience. During five events sponsored by the brand, each participant was given an LED wristband that lit up together, turning the vast crowd into a green ocean.

  • Lollapalooza, Brazil
  • Star Club, The Netherlands
  • Sensation, Taiwan
  • Sensation, Korea
  • Sensation, Thailand

Heineken goals

As the sponsor of these events, Heineken wanted more than just a logo on flyers and ticketing. They wanted to share the stage with the world’s most famous DJs, and enhance the crowd’s experience.

The solution

To make the audience part of the show, each clubber was given a LED wristband at the entrance. They were not told what it was for, and were just asked to put it on. At the climax of the night, the DJ set off the Heineken Moment’s special tune and all the wristbands lit up at once, immersing the crowd in an ocean of green lights, the iconic Heineken colour. Thousands of enthusiastic hands in the air made for an epic social brand experience that resonated well beyond the venue walls.

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The challenge

For the brand activation, PixMob faced the challenge of a target audience that were fans of EDM, but not necessarily the Heineken brand. Thus, we needed a solution that was original, engaging and organic. The wristband activation proved to be exactly that.

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Collaboration with Massive Music

Massive Music is the music agency for Heineken International. Heineken’s music strategy is all about involving the audience to create unexpected social experiences. For this partnership, Massive Music teamed up with PixMob to develop this brand activation that would turn Sensation fans into Heineken fans by entertaining them. The Dutch music team produced a special dance version of the brand’s music campaign title track.

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The viral aspect

Thousands of fans captured these Heineken moments on their cellular phones and shared them with their friends across the world. The three Sensation events on their own achieved over 500,000 mentions on blogs and a 150% increase in Heineken Facebook fans. The Sensation brand activation gave Heineken more than its money’s worth. € 19.4 million worth of PR value, sponsorship awareness of 74% and a sponsorship return on investment of € 26 million, made this partnership impactful on every level for both Heineken and the audience.

Testimonials

Lollapalooza’s Heineken Moment was shortlisted for The Brand Building Award. PixMob’s team was a big part of it, couldn’t have done it without you guys! Thank you!Renata Da Silva, Project Manager

The wristbands made the evening very special and were highly appreciated by the visitors. Innovative, they connected everyone together.Pascal Stolk, Heineken Netherlands

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PixMob experience : a unique moment for all at festivals

In 2010, PixMob had their festival debut with Arcade Fire at Coachella and an unforgettable drop of hundreds glowing balls. Since then, PixMob has travelled the world from one festival to another, providing immersive and unforgettable experiences using their interactive LED technology. Coachella (USA), Osheaga (Canada), Lollapalooza (Brazil), Festival d’Été de Québec (Canada), South by South West (USA), and Rock in Rio (Brazil) were unique moments for the festivalgoers, and successful marketing stunts for the sponsors. PixMob LED technology is so successful at festivals because it creates unique and magical moments. The attendees connect with each other, but also with the artist and the festival, and engage more actively with the sponsoring brand.

Various PixMob objects to mesmerize the crowd

PixMob LED technology primarily uses glowing balls, LED wristbands or sparkling helicos to create these immersive experiences, but any object can be customized with PixMob interactive technology to meet brand expectations. PixMob created ski hats for the Super Bowl Halftime Show 2014 and medallions for the Winter Games in Russia the same year. We can create any object that the sponsor can call their own.

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A memorable and unique immersive experience

PixMob is about creating unique experiences for the public. Inspired by ancient fire rituals, it’s in our DNA to immerse people in a surreal atmosphere, to unite them in a shared moment. During the Black Keys performance of their hit “Everlasting Light” at the 2012 Osheaga festival, the attendees experienced 2000 blinking helicos descending toward them like a star shower. You could see sparkles in their eyes, and the atmosphere was dreamlike. For Doritos Boldstage at SXSW 2013, the digital balls bouncing in the crowd made the attendees so excited that they started to bounce other beach inflatables. The atmosphere was wild.

A totem to keep as a souvenir

One great way to make the user experience positive and lasting is to give out a souvenir, such as a branded LED object. When the hundreds of balls fell from the ceiling of the stage during the Arcade Fire’s encore performance of “Wake up” at Coachella, the effect on the crowd was magical. Some lucky attendees brought the giant beach balls home, and logged on to the Creators Project’s website to find new ways to use them. Wristbands are also great “totems” to bring home, especially when you can keep using it after the festival.

For Lollapalooza, sponsored by Heineken, every festivalgoer could keep their branded LED bracelet. The bracelets were turned into motion-sensitive mode at the end of the concert, allowing the user to control it afterwards.

The viral aspect

Festivalgoers are well known to share their moments with their friends, fans and family. The PixMob experience makes them share more pictures, comments and tweets of themselves wearing their branded LED object. Thanks to that, sponsors gain visibility, as well as popularity as their fans generate positive comments. At Coachella, millions of fans bragged that they were there living a great experience. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were used to broadcast positive comments about the festival, the artists, the crowd experience, and of course the sponsoring brand.

Effective brand activation
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Brand activation focuses on building a long term emotional connection between the brand and the customer. Thanks to PixMob technology and its LED objects, customers will remember their incredible experience for a long time. Keeping their branded object as a souvenir will increase their engagement with the sponsor. Subway’s marketing strategy is about keeping their customers engaged. The experience is important to them – which is why they prepare their sandwiches in front of their customers. The idea of Osheaga festival sponsorship was in the same vein. Subway wanted to make the festivalgoers live an experience and engage with their brand. More than entertainment, they provided astonishment and a gift to take away to remember the brand.

The future with RFID

PixMob LED wristbands can include an RFID chip that helps turn attendees into fans, promoters and future customers. RFID technology can be used for access control at events, collecting consumer information, developing a community and communicating about the event and its sponsor – well beyond the day itself. A new way to leverage sponsorship.

Videos

Special thanks to :

Chris Milk, Radical Media, Moment Factory, Tangible Interaction, Heineken, Subway, Nova Film, Festival d’Été de Québec, Osheaga, SXSW, Lollapalooza.

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PixMob drives Sensation Into the Wild

After illuminating the Heineken Moments for the famous beer brand on the Sensation tour in Asia last year, PixMob worked directly with the organization of the world’s biggest EDM event for their “Into the Wild” tour, to light up the whole night and amplify the crowd experience.

Welcome to the jungle

Sensation is a unique indoor electronic dance music event organized by ID&T that started in Amsterdam in 2000. The show stayed in the Netherlands for 5 years before touring around the world. At these unique events, every attendee dresses in white and parties with some of world’s biggest DJs. Pyrotechnics, fountains, dancers, lasers and LED wristbands create an immersive, interactive and unforgettable experience.

Their new show “Into the Wild” is based on the primal instincts of the animal kingdom. The jungle is a metaphor for a night of clubbing, where men search, hunt and catch their prey. After hunting comes the feast of victory, the climax of the Sensation show. Sexy dancers writhe and move to the music. Vertical lasers create visual effects, and CO2 shoots out from the catwalk.

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Behind the scenes

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This show was designed over the course of one year. Sensation’s installation crew consists of 300 workers that have only 10 days to install the set before a show. A 350m long inflatable snake is rigged above the audience, lit up, and brought to life.
LED wristbands create a wow effect

Every attendee of Sensation is given a white wristband upon entering the show. Each wristband contains wireless LEDs that light up in sync with the music and special effects. The bracelets connect people through light: everyone holds a digital flame, reinventing fire rituals to bring us all into the wild.

Similar to a TV remote, the wristbands are controlled by infrared light. People literally become the show, as each PixMob device becomes a pixel, transforming the crowd into a human canvas of light.

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Post event movie

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