Each year in July, Quebec hosts one of the biggest music festivals in Canada: the Festival d’Été de Québec (Quebec City Summer Festival). More than 250 international artists representing a range of musical styles perform over an 11-day period for 140 000 fans.
One of the festival’s most popular events is ElectroFEQ, an event showcasing electronic music. In 2013, ElectroFEQ attracted over 6000 excited festivalgoers. In order to surprise the public with stunning visual effects during DJ Bassnectar’s show, the festival organizers approached PixMob. An idea evolved to rig 200 glowing LED balls above the crowd and drop them onto the audience for a climactic moment. The challenges were in the rigging and the timing: how could they safely suspend and release LED balls onto a crowd at a precise moment?
To execute the vision, four poles were set up at the corners of the festival field. Cables to hang the LED balls were suspended between each pole and a crane on the side of the stage. Special care was taken to ensure the trigger would work perfectly so that the crane would release the cables on time. Like a TV remote, PixMob used wireless infrared technology to illuminate and control the LED devices inside each ball, creating multicolour effects in sync with sound and other visuals. This required 9 PixMob infrared transmitters to be rigged around the festival field, with overlapping beams in order to cover the entire area.
The next step was to test the system’s functioning and, equally important, the effect of the LED balls falling onto spectators. A group gathered as 30 test LED balls were inflated and lifted above them. Despite initial apprehension at the thought of giant orbs falling from the sky, the final effect was magical. After testing each battery and LED device, the four rows of 50 balls were slowly lifted and suspended in the air, ready for the show.
As electronic music producer and DJ Bassnectar flooded the crowd with throbbing bass, the four rows of glowing LED balls hung above a supercharged audience. Suddenly, one row after another dropped, unleashing a torrent of glowing orbs onto the crowd. After the initial shock wore off, audience members began tossing the beach balls across the crowd in a joyful frenzy. People became part of the show as the combined effects of the PixMob balls, electronic music, and lights turned the crowd into a playground, connecting audience members and creating an immersive experience for all.
- 9 PixMob WASH transmitters
- 200 PixMob balls
- 500’ of DMX cable
- 1000 batteries AA
- 4 pulley systems
- Artistic Director, Vincent Leclerc
- Artistic Creation Assistant, Tim Lavalley
- Technical Director, Jérôme Arsenault
- Project Manager, Frederic Elias
- Stage Engineer, Antoine Thuillier
- Coordinator and Multimedia Manager, Sophie Blondeau
- Technicians: Audrey Vallée, Vadim Kravtchenko, Catherine Marois, Pierre-Yves Lavoie, Julie Lévesque, Alexandre Lemay, Francis Labissonière