When the crowd at Metlife Stadium lit up in LED lights Sunday night during the Super Bowl, that was the work of a Canadian company, delivered through a very Canadian medium — tuques.
Montreal’s PixMob supplied 80,000 Super Bowl fans with tuques embedded with LED lights, turning the crowd itself into giant screens — a flash mob of pixels, hence PixMob.
PixMob’s technology has been around for a few years — they’ve done light shows for Arcade Fire, Celine Dion and Lollapalooza, among others — but the Super Bowl “is a great opportunity to showcase our technology," CEO David Parent told The Huffington Post Quebec.
The Super Bowl was the company’s largest production yet, allowing them to create “the biggest LED screen in history,” Parent told The Toronto Star.
The hats, embedded with LED pixels, are controlled by infrared lights placed around the stadium. A PixMob controller directs the light patterns in real time.
The whole idea was inspired by traditional tribal rituals and more modern rituals like the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada, Parent told the Star.
Founded in 2006, the PixMob was known as Eski until just last week. Parent told HuffPost Quebec their PixMob product became so popular they decided to change their name to avoid confusion.
The collaboration between PixMob and the NFL began nearly a year ago, in March, 2013, when Parent and his colleagues pitched the idea of bringing the technology to the Super Bowl to halftime show producer Ricky Kirshner.
Kirshner invited them to a meeting in New York the following week, and within weeks they were working on a concept for the Super Bowl.
But work got jammed up at the last minute, thanks to the snowstorm that hit the New York area last week. Metlife Stadium’s interior was covered in snow and had to be removed with giant fans, delaying set-up for the game.
PixMob workers were exhausted by the whole thing, “but morale remains high,” Parent said.
Parent says Super Bowl organizers were eager to work with PixMob following the success of Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2012, which was a collaboration with Cirque du Soleil and Moment Factory — both also Montreal-based enterprises.
“We can thank the other Canadians who came before,” Parent old Global.
Also on HuffPost