February 2, 2014 8:27 pm
Updated: February 2, 2014 11:09 pm

People as pixels at Super Bowl halftime show the work of Canadian company

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TORONTO — Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers lit up the stage at Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show but it was a Canadian innovation that lit up the night.

An estimated 80,000 football fans wearing hats with embedded LED displays and a field covered with 500 LED panels transformed New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium into a massive light show.

The sparkling effect, witnessed by an estimated television audience of 125 million people, was made possible using PixMob VIDEO from Montreal-based technology company PixMob.

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CEO David Parent said the effect was “even better” than he imagined during rehearsals.

Sunday’s 13-minute halftime show was the culmination of months of planning that went into high gear last September.

Parent said PixMob pitched the concept to producers of the Super Bowl last spring.

“We’ve been working on the technology for several years and we felt it was advanced enough, so we proposed it,” he told Global News.

“We got a really positive response.”

Parent said the show’s producers were anxious to work with a Canadian company following the success of the Super Bowl’s collaboration with Cirque du Soleil and Moment Factory — both based in Montreal — for Madonna’s halftime show in 2012.

“We can thank the other Canadians who came before,” he said. “They helped us in the process.”

PixMob has used its wireless lighting technology — which is controlled using infrared — at summer music festivals, corporate events and at last week’s X Games in Aspen — but Super Bowl XLVIII was its biggest project.

“Since the beginning, the Super Bowl has been the Holy Grail,” said Parent, who co-founded PixMob’s parent company ESKI with Vincent Leclerc in 2006.

Parent said 10 people from the Montreal headquarters were in New Jersey to work with a crew of as many as 20 on the implementation of the technology.

He was confident everything would work as it was supposed to.

The biggest challenge, said Parent, was keeping details of the halftime show under wraps.

“The songs, the special features — every year the halftime show is a surprise and they want to keep it like that.”

As for the 80,000 LED-equipped hats? PixMob doesn’t expect to get them back.

“People can keep the hats,” said Parent. “They will become a high value collectible.”

© 2014 Shaw Media

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