Digital Lighting Makes a Splash at the Super Bowl

Philips Lumec blogger Monique Cousineau interviews two Montreal-based multimedia companies that threw a spectacular lighting show prior to the SuperBowl. Below is the blog entry:

Two Montreal-based multimedia companies attracted the attention of millions of people with their digital lighting expertise at the pre-game and halftime show of SuperBowl XLVIII.

Leading up to last Sunday’s big show down, a heart stomping, crazy-cool multimedia show by Montreal’s Moment Factory help to transform Super Bowl Boulevard into an outstanding urban walkway. The Moment Factory team are maestros at changing buildings into huge animation screens. They were approached by the NFL and event organizers PPW to create a unique and unexpected Super Bowl Virtual Theater in the heart of New York City for pre-game celebrations.

For this special event, a span of fourteen blocks on Broadway, running from 34th to 47th streets including Times Square, was designated Super Bowl Boulevard. Without a doubt, the star of the boulevard was Moment Factory’s spectacular multimedia show projected on the 305 square meter façade of Macy’s, (on 34th and Broadway) one of the most famous stores in the world. The eight-minute mapping projection was presented eight times daily from 5:30 pm to 10 pm from Jan. 29 and Feb. 1.

Lighting show presented on Macy. (LEDinside/ Philips)

 “The show’s visuals feature original footage, 2D and 3D animation, and special effects. Images morph, come out of the “screen” and grab you, an engaging experience that’s as exciting as football itself. Like most of Moment Factory’s large scale shows, Super Bowl Virtual Theater required the collaboration of the company’s multicultural in-house team, including technology, motion design, and management, as well as proven expertise in conceptualizing and creating these highly engaging environments. And, while designing special effects, the artists worked in consideration of Macy’s unique architecture, and the urban setting of the show.”

“A powerful soundscape features music inspired by the spirit of football and the hip-hop and rock legacies of New York and New Jersey. The original soundtrack also incorporates NFL orchestration, emphasizing the sport’s heroic legacy.”

VIDEO -Teaser


As for the much anticipated halftime show featuring Bruno Mars, another Montreal-based multimedia company, PixMob who patent interactive, wireless LED technology created a human video screen for the halftime show. To accomplish this they covered the field with 500 LED panels and created 80,000 remote controlled, light-emitting black tuques (knitted caps) that were embedded with three LEDs and an infrared receiver. These hats were distributed to spectators pregame so they could be seen and used during the halftime spectacle. They are controlled by infrared lights placed around the stadium. A PixMob controller directs the light patterns in real time. The hat’s receiver decodes the infrared signal differently, depending on where the person is sitting, turning the light red, white, green or  blue to create the animated effects.

For the halftime show the intention was to turn the 80,000 roaring football fans into illuminated human pixels so that the entire stadium would become a gigantic human video screen that shimmered, blinked and pulsed behind Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Bruno Mars performance during SuperBowl halftime
Bruno Mars performance during SuperBowl XLVIII halftime. (LEDinside/Philips)

Designed to excite the senses, these wireless gadgets are used to encourage active audience participation. PixMob excels at bringing the audience into the show and this year, like never before, the crowd became an intrinsic part of the performance.

People as pixels at Super Bowl  

Moment Factory’s larger than life ode to football and PixMob’s immersive entertainment technology gadgets at this year’s Super Bowl are two wonderful examples of how multimedia environments can create captivating and engaging moments thanks to innovative solutions, creative thinking and laser-sharp know-how. By combining video, lighting, architecture, sound, special effects and new technologies you can transform buildings, venues and crowds into huge animated displays that can energize an entire audience and sometimes even amaze the most exhilarating and entertaining city in the world.

Moment Factory was approached by the NFL and world-renowned event organizers PPW to create Super Bowl Virtual Theater, a spectacular multimedia show projected on the outdoor façade of Macy's Herald Square in New York, on the evenings leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.
Located in the heart of New York City, this projection mapping show is a main attraction of “Super Bowl Boulevard”, a series of football-themed events spanning thirteen-blocks along Broadway, from 34th to 47th Street. For four nights, the eight-minute show is projected multiple times on the iconic Macy's storefront, a surface of 3390 square feet. NFL fans are treated to a stunning mix of 2D and 3D animation effects mixed with a plethora of archival NFL footage ranging from 8 millimeter to digital.

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