Professional Lighting & Production - Summer 2022 - Page 23

do that ?” And we ’ re like , “ Yeah , sure .” [ laughs ]. We did it , and it worked perfectly , but it was a challenge to get there — but it worked .
PL & P : In terms of professional-quality programmable LED wearable products , where was this product category at back in 2007 to 2010 when PixMob was getting started ?
Dalphond : In 2007 , nowhere . Because it was a design studio that would take the emerging LEDs coming out and then doing whatever they could with what they got their hands on . It was really a total startup , and PixMob , in 2010 , really came up with this idea to connect people through light . So , in 2010 , that was the intention . At that time , PixMob was a product of that other company called Eski . Then in 2014 , PixMob became the company and we dropped all the other stuff to just focus on that .
PL & P : What was David Parent and Vincent Leclerc ’ s initial vision ?
Dalphond : Definitely Vincent was the creative soul . He graduated from MIT Media Lab and his goal is to reconnect people at events . There is a peak of engagement during live events and we thought , “ How do we create even more unity in that ?” We ended up coining that as , “ Connect crowds , reinvent rituals ,” because to us , PixMob is a modern-day fire ritual . The fire ritual is simply that everybody holds the same light and is connected to that specific moment and has that ritual moment where we ’ re all together to live this experience and be transformed .
So , now this is all big and mighty , but at the end , it was to create that energy that comes when 20,000 people will just go , [ opens eyes wide and gasps ,] all at the same time . Light is powerful at amplifying emotion when it ’ s really synced to music .
evolution from those one-off shows – the Microsoft launch and Arcade Fire show – to LED wearables being adopted by major touring productions ?
Dalphond : I think it went fast because it works . And I think it ’ s lasted that long , a bit to our surprise , because it does work . There is not that many technologies that are able to bring an audience together . A lot of what we observe is when you go to a show , you watch a show , but when PixMob is there , you feel a part of it .
In terms of the growth , it was insanely expensive at the beginning , because for just the chip that went in the wristbands , there was nothing out there . It has grown because we are builders — we design and manufacture everything , from all the electronics on our circuit board to the product , it ’ s PixMob that does it . That is the only reason why we ’ ve been able to survive and expand and we knew it . It was too expensive to start , and you want to keep quality , and you want to keep that moment . I think that ’ s why we stayed on , is because we controlled it all to build it . There was a factor of , “ It works but we need to make it affordable enough for a tour .” I wouldn ’ t say it ’ s cheap now , but it ’ s definitely much more affordable .
PL & P : What is that baseline where it becomes financially viable for the tour and also for PixMob ? I ’ m guessing it has to be large , big-budget events for the finances to make sense on both sides ?
Dalphond : Yeah , I would say we ’ re sub two dollars per [ wristband ] is the best gauge without getting into the weeds there . It ’ s kind of acceptable , I find . Above that it was challenging because only really , really top-tier [ tours ]
could do it . After that , we were able to go with much younger , more ambitious clients .
PL & P : Are they going home with the audience members or are they being given back to reuse ?
Dalphond : Both . So , we have some artists who want to give it away . Like Bad Bunny right now , he ’ s branded it with his truck and he wants to give it out . Other artists , like we ’ re touring with Coldplay now for their world tour , and they have been amazing and bold in saying , “ We ’ re going to reuse the wristbands .” So , we are able to reuse a very large quantity of them at every show . People return it because they get it . They ’ re like , “ No , we want to give it back to the tour [ to reduce waste ]” and that ’ s been phenomenal .
PL & P : Yes , reducing the environmental footprint has been a major focal point of that current Coldplay tour …
Dalphond : Right , and the best way to be sustainable is to reuse material . So , we invented a product made of plant-based plastic , so there ’ s no carbon in it . Actually , it captured carbon to be created , and [ the band ] have been so supportive and smart in creating the impetus for the fans to give it back in large numbers .
PL & P : What was the initial feedback you were getting from lighting designers , and what were the requests you were getting from them in the early years as your product became seen in the market ?
Dalphond : They wanted to control it . That was the first feedback , because at first , it was a very exotic software . One of our big scalability
PL & P : To go from a totally new idea to a product used on some the biggest tours and events in the world in under 10 years is an amazingly rapid acceleration for not just a company , but a new product category . Can you tell me about that
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