4 Dec 2014

Mandylights deploy Ghostbands to transform G.E.M. and her audience

There’s a fair chance you may not have heard of G.E.M., a Hong Kong based singer-songwriter, dancer, musician, and actress. Her stage name is an acronym for Get Everybody Moving and she is MASSIVE in Asia.

G.E.M. is currently touring her G.E.M. X.X.X. Live World Tour, which stands for “more to eXpose, more to eXpect and more eXciting”, and Mandylights, the Sydney collective of talented lighting designers, were charged with making it a tour to remember.

“I’d describe G.E.M. as the Lady Gaga of China and in the past year she has exploded in popularity,” commented Richard Neville, director of Mandylights. “Her music is less mandarin-pop and more western-pop as her musical director is Austrian, in fact many of her team members are from outside of Asia.”


Mandylights were required to design the lighting and visuals so that the live shows would have more of an international feel and thus more appealing to western audiences. Their first show with G.E.M. was a DVD shoot at Shenzhen stadium last June which has been followed by a twelve stadium tour of China that started in October. Each show is a five day build with 300 moving lights.

The tour was a perfect opportunity for Mandylights to debut the Glowmotion Technologies Ghostband, for which they are the first distributor. The super bright Ghostbands put 16 million colours right on your arm, can communicate with each other, can be controlled via DMX and can be bitmapped. The G.E.M. team leapt at the idea and so 15,000 Ghostbands are distributed to the audience members on the floor of the stadium at each show.

“The other 20,000 people in the stadium can all look down and see the effect generated,” added Richard. “What we were trying to do is push the lighting effects out into the stadium. The Ghostbands are incredibly bright and when they are all switched on, they light up the roof of the stadium. So if the lighting onstage in blue and magenta, we can make it so the people right at the back in the bleachers are also glowing blue and magenta.”


With their ingenious use of the Ghostbands, Mandylights has successfully created huge effects and managed to immerse the entire audience into the show.

The show features a mixture of proximity effects such as the Ghostbands taking their cues from other Ghostbands surrounding them, whilst other content is bitmapped to compliment what is happening onstage.

“There is a lot of cool geometric content to match the visuals on the high resolution onstage screens,” said Richard. “We also use them as individual pixels controlled from the lighting console. We extract colour information from all of the lighting fixtures onstage and throw that out into the audiences Ghostbands.”

G.E.M. was so impressed by the impact that the Ghostbands have on her show, she has rebranded them as Spacebands and they have become part of her overall marketing campaign as she is about to go into space! As her fans leave the Stadium, the freshly rebranded Ghostbands continue to flash and interact in the colours chosen for her marketing campaign.

Richard reports that the Ghostbands have been incredibly reliable; out of the 7500 used in rehearsal only two were swapped. There are two crew on the tour to look after the Ghostbands and Mandylights have their own shipping container that has been converted into Ghostband HQ on tour.

G.E.M. will be touring Europe and the United States next year.


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