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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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PixMob does Light Painting; a How-to Guide for a Little Extra Spark this Holiday Season

PixMob does Light Painting; a How-to Guide for a Little Extra Spark this Holiday SeasonPixMob Light Painting

The team got together last month to prepare for the holiday season. First step: create personalized PixMob holiday cards. Since it’s the first holiday season with our new team in our customized offices, we wanted our cards to be extra special this year. So, the team huddled up in our black box one November night and created our very own light painting workshop with the help of our new SPARK app! You want to try it at home? Follow our step-by-step!

What you need:

Digital camera with manual settings
Tripod
PixMob SPARK app (we used it because we wanted to play around with the changing colours)
PixMob SPARK bracelets (or any other source of light – a small flashlight will also work)
Black box with a black backdrop or any other dark setting (it does not have to be completely dark, you can play around with interesting backgrounds if you’d like)
Photo editing software

Step-by-step:

1. Set up the space. We started by moving a few things around in the Black box to make sure we had ample space and a large black backdrop to do the light painting up against. Once this was done, we placed the camera on a tripod, making sure we had a good angle to capture the light painting.

2. Set up the PixMob SPARK app. We got a box of our new SPARK bracelets and pulled the tabs to activate them. Then we tested them out with the SPARK app.

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3. Test run. First, you’ll need to adjust the settings on your camera. ISO, F-stop, and Shutter Speed settings will be important for this workshop. The ISO must be set low, at 100 for example, to reduce the “noise” in your pictures. Set your F-stop down to f/8 or f/10; this will allow you to get more depth of field and use longer shutter speeds. Once your settings are locked in, take a few shots and experiment with different shutter speeds! We tried different forms and movement sequences to see what the outcome would look like and how the shutter speed would influence the final pictures. Here are a few shots!

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4. The real deal. Once we were satisfied with our camera settings, we got started with drawing our letters. We drew one letter per shot and, in order to make the letters as uniform as possible, we had more than one person drawing each letter. For example, it took three people to draw the “H”: one person per vertical line, with a third drawing the horizontal line. Our first attempts were a little lopsided. It’s harder than you think to draw straight lines in the air!

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Spark

5. We played around with different techniques to get those letters nice and straight. This part was a lot of fun because we also got to play around with the new SPARK app! We tried different effects, varying amounts of bracelets, and changing colours to see the different outcomes.

6. The collage. Finally, our graphic designer chose the best shots and created a photomontage. You can play around with the results a bit for different effects. For example, we lightened the backdrop a bit to make a silhouette stand out.

7. The final result…

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Try it out! It’s a great way to add a little light and creativity to those winter nights!

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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.

PixMob at Taylor Swift

A New Era

PixMob is all about crowd experience.

To date, we have been part of thousands of climactic moments in many different types of events. Our tagline, “Connect Crowds. Reinvent rituals”, defines what we do and how we are reinventing the future. From huge stadium events to small parties, we pride ourselves on the fact that we have elevated the vibe in each and every event we’ve been part of.

Over the last years, we’ve been able to improve the PixMob experience through cutting edge control systems that allow show creators to rely on the best crowd illumination technology in the world. Most of these developments have been made so that we can create the best visual effects possible.

PixMob at MonterreyPixMob at Taylor SwiftPixMob at SEAG

However, our vision has never been limited to creating climactic moments through crowd illumination.

We believe that crowd experience begins the moment a person starts to think about attending a particular event. After much anticipation, on the day of the event in question, all participants come together in a common location; they walk through the gates together, take pictures, make new friends, buy souvenirs, and eventually share their experience on social media – whether during the event (if the internet connection is working) or after. Sometimes this magical experience even leads to the planning of the next event. There is nothing like the last days of your vacation to dream about the next one…

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Over the last 2 years, we have integrated RFID applications such as photo booth and brand activation into a few, albeit significant, projects. While this form of connectivity at an event is important, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bringing people together due to RFID’s limited range. We have explored new ways of reaching deeper connectivity and, in the upcoming months, we will start releasing a new platform that will help make the overall experience at an event more in touch with what really matters: the present moment.

“Wearable” and “IoT” are two buzzwords you may have heard recently. These have been part of our vision for years and will be crucial to the events that we will amplify in the future.

Our concept of connecting crowds will reach a new level. We strive to make crowd experience more fun before, during and after the event.

Stay tuned. We are reinventing your event experience.

David Parent and Vincent Leclerc

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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.

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Work Hard Play Hard: Diaries of a New PixMob Team Member

When you start a new job you hope to make an impression – a good one. When I started working at PixMob, it seemed the roles were reversed. PixMob made a huge impression on me in my first week of work.

Let me explain. I started this July, as the company’s new Studio Coordinator. The company is growing at the speed of light, and this position was created to respond to its needs. Explained simply, my role is to tie up loose ends, both administratively and in terms of the day to day upkeep of the offices. I support all departments at PixMob and ensure they have what they need for things to run smoothly.

20150902_115847 (1)Katherine Morielli – Studio Coordinator 

I arrived shortly after the company moved to our new, custom-made offices. These were still being perfected when I started. This was a cool experience because it made me feel right away like I was participating, with my coworkers, in the building of our new home. PixMob is a very community oriented company, and this is one of the ways that spirit is reflected. I was greeted with open arms by the most friendly, outgoing, and connected staff I have ever worked with. It didn’t take much to make me feel like I was in the right place.

PixMob goes above and beyond what a company normally provides and make employees feel like family. I was given tickets to see one of my favourite artists (who we are working with) perform on only my second day on the job! We also have our very own social committee, who organizes regular social events that allow us to come together as a staff. For example, we had a Fun Fair Housewarming BBQ soon after the move.

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After all this, I think that what I am most impressed by is the size of the projects that PixMob undertakes. I stepped into a company that seems to be growing exponentially. With big ventures like the Pan Am opening ceremonies and so many other super exiting confidential projects, PixMob is not lacking in ambition. It can be tough to keep up with this fast paced growth, but PixMob’s creative team does not lag. I am amazed by the energy and innovation of the team. Our Research and Development department is constantly working towards astonishing and barrier breaking products.

I am touched to see that all of this growth, innovation, and creativity, are truly fuelled by the coming together of individual ideas. Everyone seems to be in exactly the right place so that his or her talent can be expressed. This synergy is used to build ideas together, across all departments. This concept is fundamental to the way that PixMob works and is what makes it so magical.

After two months of working with this dynamic company, I can say that I feel right at home, but also constantly challenged. This team pushes you to surpass yourself every day. I am lucky to be here, and exited to grow with this wonderful team.

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A Magical Collaboration Between PixMob and 45 Degrees for the Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony

PixMob technology was launched in 2010 with a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil for the Microsoft Kinect launch. We have partnered up with them several times since. PixMob and the Cirque du Soleil being two companies rooted in creativity and innovation, we are in constant evolution and our ventures are always unique. We recently got the chance to work with their newest subsidiary, 45 Degrees, for the Pan Am Games opening ceremony in Toronto. Anne Séguin-Poirier, guest designer and creator on this project, worked closely with Cirque du Soleil for ten years. She shared some thoughts about the new project with us.

 

Name
Anne Séguin-Poirier
Title
Designer 

What made you come to PixMob for this new project?

Connecting with PixMob for the Pan Am opening ceremony permitted us to integrate light directly into the variety of accessories involved. We had one hundred and fifty lamps held by children on stage, flowers on the artists’ suits and floating chairs, and pendants worn by the athletes in the ceremony. These were all lit with PixMob LED technology, which allowed us to control the lighting effects from a distance and synchronize them with our music and choreography.

What were your creative inspirations for the conception of this show?

I worked together with the costume designer. The show integrated the portrayal of vastly different universes from once scene to the next, so we really drew inspiration from all kinds of different sources, for example, different periods in history. We worked these ideas into the creation of five hundred accessories. The light was a tool for us to fill the huge space of the arena and to truly reach our audience with the choreography. For example, we portrayed a magical atmosphere when the children entered the arena with their lamps.

What did you like most about the preparation for this show?

We made almost everything from scratch, which was a huge technical challenge. We did a lot of tests and had to modify the objects several times to ensure that it was both esthetically appealing and effective. When we were finally able to practice in the arena, it was really interesting to see what the objects would look like in that space. Then we adapted them to make sure they had the effect we wanted. I really love constantly adapting our objects to cater to the creative process.

Did you run up against any challenges in the preparation for this event?

Our biggest challenge was to successfully integrate PixMob’s technology at the arena. We relied on a team of volunteers to assemble our objects. It was truly amazing to see their fascination and pride when they finally saw the objects in action. They were all really happy to be there working with us. It was really gratifying.

In your opinion, what makes this new partnership with PixMob unique?

45 Degrees offers projects that are created entirely from the ground up. This type of project relies heavily on R&D, which is at the heart of both 45 Degrees’ and PixMob’s mission. The creative vision of the two companies mix really well.

Connecting people is something that is important for both 45 Degrees’ and PixMob’s vision. How was this goal reflected in your work for the Pan Am Opening ceremony?

We established wonderful connections with our spectators. People got to see new possibilities that they will want to see again in the future. They engaged with performance in a new way. At 45 Degrees we are always looking to make our projects newer, more creative, more unique.

Gallery

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Learn more about this project : click here

 

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How to hack your PixMob Wristband

This tutorial is to show you how to set your PixMob wristband* in impact – motion-sensitive – mode.

*Only for the latest version of the wristband, available on selected events

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A new inspiring environment to redesign the future

To go with the company fast growth, PixMob decided to move into brand new offices in the Montreal Fashion District. This loft of 11,000 square feet was customized to stimulate creativity for the team and create a comfy, inspiring working environment that will help the company reinvent technologies to enhance crowd experience for the future.To achieve this transformation, we called Jean de Lessard to run this ambitious project.

Jean de Lessard is an architect laureate who won numerous prizes around the world and is one of the world’s forerunners in the development of creativity for individuals and groups in the corporate sector.

We interviewed him to understand his vision of PixMob and his thoughts on the project.

Jean de Lessard
Interview

 

What did PixMob ask you to achieve in this project?

PixMob’s wish was to redefine this huge open space with several closed offices but keeping dynamic spaces at the same time. They didn’t want a usual office but something original and vibrant. PixMob works with lights in a night setting like nightclubs and concerts; they wanted an environment that could reflect that. I wanted the place to be a club, a workshop and an office all at the same time.

 

Could you present your work on this project?

On this project, and for budget constraints, we decided to use the shell of the building as is.

The building was separated in two spaces, the front and the back. We used existing openings and created new ones within the original brick walls to improve the flow from one space to the other. With those big spaces, we tried to create a group synergy where the information is shared easily. For the area to be dynamic, we broke up the space by adding sculptural monoliths, which are multiple conference rooms.

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How did you come with this design idea, where did you get your inspiration from?

I was inspired by PixMob, specifically by their functionality and vibe. I asked many questions about their feelings, DNA and drive so I can bring the company’s identity to this space. I tried to make those monoliths vibrate with the sound when they have a party – like the sound and light vibrations during their shows.

 

What were the challenges you had to face to achieve this work?

As in many projects, budget is always a challenge. But the other obstacle was to make so many people fit in this space. With the double height of the building, we created two mezzanines to gain further square footage.

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Special thanks to Jean de Lessard for the interview and his work on the project.

Website: delessard.com
Facebook: fb.com/jean.delessard

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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.

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