22 PL & P
PHOTO : JASON BARQUERO
BRINGING THE AUDIENCE
INTO THE SHOW PixMob ’ s Jean-Olivier Dalphond & Creative Producer Tim Durant on the rapid adoption of LED wearables in concert & event design
AERIAL VIEW OF THE PIXMOB BRACELETS IN USE DURING COLDPLAY ’ S MUSIC OF SPHERES TOUR
By Michael Raine
When you ’ re at a huge concert , at an arena or stadium , the scale of the spectacle is part of the appeal — this larger-than-life musical and visual moment that dwarfs you . But if you ’ re up high and at the back , you also feel quite removed from what ’ s happening on the stage . Over the last dozen years , more and more of these big budget , large-scale tours and events have started incorporating wearable LED lights , such as bracelets or medallions worn as necklaces , which are distributed to all fans and incorporated into the lighting design of the show . At these shows , there ’ s always an audible moment when they come to life . The audience members gasp and ooh and awe , often looking around at the folks next to them . And there is almost a second gasp moments later when they look at the wider arena and realize that these lights they ’ re wearing are actually operating in sync with the concert — that the fans are a literal part of the show . The first time you experience that , it ’ s pretty damn cool ! And it just so happens that the company most often responsible for these moments of collective awe is based here in Canada .
Originally called Eski Studio , Montreal-based PixMob was founded in 2007 by David Parent and Vincent Leclerc . They had a vision for new , high-end , programmable LED products that could bring audiences into a stadium-sized show . In that mission , they have succeeded wildly and become the premier company in this still relatively-new product category that has reshaped concert and event design .
In less than a decade , PixMob ’ s innovative products – which now include customizable LED bracelets , medallions , balls , and a new permanent installation solution – went from conception to a wholly-new and highly in-demand product category that the lighting industry ’ s best designers are using in the most high-profile events , including three Super Bowl halftime shows , world tours with artists like Taylor Swift and Coldplay , and the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics .
To find out how the company achieved this , how programmable LED wearables are shaping lighting design , and where it ’ s all headed , PL & P caught up with PixMob ’ s president …
PIXMOB PRES . JEAN-OLIVIER DALPHOND AT SOFI STADIUM FOR SUPER BOWL LVI
PL & P : You ’ ve been with PixMob since 2013 , but I believe PixMob ’ s big coming out party was Arcade Fire ’ s 2011 headlining set at the Coachella festival . Do you know how that came to be ?
Jean-Olivier Dalphond : Yes , that ’ s when we did the first big entertainment show . But before that , in 2010 , we did the launch of Microsoft Kinect at E3 . We invented PixMob before that show , which was co-directed by Cirque du Soleil . And so , they challenged us , like , “ Hey , little creative Montreal company , can we