Quick Pitch: Weiv makes concert visuals that are controlled in real-time by Wii remotes.
Genius Idea: Bringing live visuals to live entertainment.
You don’t go to a concert to listen to a pre-recorded audio, reasons Josh Larson, so why would you want to watch pre-recorded visuals?
“When you listen to music that is pre-recorded that there’s a certain energy you miss,” he says. “I think that’s true when the visuals are performed live as well.”
In order to bring live-performance energy to concert visuals, Larson and two co-founders have developed an interactive software solution called Weiv. Users who download the program (right now, the technology can only be used on Macs with Snow Leopard) can control visuals in real-time with up to seven Wii remotes. No Wii console is needed.
A free version of Weiv comes with three “scenes” that look like the abstract short videos you might see at a rock concert. Each remote controls a different aspect of the scene. In the “galaxy trails” scene, for instance, one remote creates ribbon-like trails, another controls where those trails connect together, and another can rotate the scene. Larson and his cofounders have developed more than 20 of these interactive scenes that can be purchased for the $200 paid version of the product.
During development, the software has been used mostly in churches and with youth groups, and the startup has not yet begun filling its pre-orders.
Eventually, however, Larson thinks the technology could be applied to larger scale performances. A limit of seven remotes makes this most likely in situations where performers are controlling the software — which, to be honest, doesn’t sound much different than watching pre-recorded visuals. But Larson also says that Weiv is working on a way to turn any smartphone into a controller. In that case, individuals in even large audiences could help shape a performance’s visuals.
In a way, the foundations for such a participatory visual system have already been set.
“Waving a lighter to the music, that’s a way that you can respond visually,” Larson says. “We’re allwoing a richer way, a more expressive way to do that.”
Weiv in action at a Finn Miles concert in Des Moines, Iowa
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