Pac Bio ASHG 2022 Launch

Pac Bio "ASHG" 2022 American Society of Human Genetics Meeting - ANNOUNCEMENT LAUNCH PARTY

Pac Bio ASHG 2022 Launch features next level interactive presentation. When it comes to biotechnology and the science behind gene sequencing, PacBio is a pioneer and leader in the industry. Their passion and vision for advancing the future of human health is evident in their game-changing product design and constant push to empower scientists with deeper insight into the human genome. So when PacBio approached executive producer Charles Marto of VOLO Events to design a special event to celebrate their work and new product releases, it was clear they needed something as spectacular and groundbreaking as the tech they bring to market. VOLO, in collaboration with The Linus Group led by Hamid Ghanadan and PacBio’s top-level marketing and leadership team, partnered with our team at XiteLabs to help bring the event to life with bespoke visual design and cutting-edge technical production.

This immersive entertainment event premiered at the PacBio Launch Party during the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) conference, held at the Novo Theatre in Los Angeles, California. PacBio made some impressive announcements as their CEO Christian Henry told GEN, this is “…the biggest jump forward in the company’s history.” The launch party stole the show at ASHG, complete with an interactive presentation from Christian and COO Mark VanOene, followed with a performance by pop group Maroon 5. The night was capped off with a DJ set and live-programmed interactive visuals by Xite’s own Vello Virkhaus and Amber Robertson.

In a first for the company, Xite explored audience interaction, gesture control, and unified control of both physical and virtual kinetic systems to augment the experience. At the center of this was Unreal Engine 5, used not only as a content creation tool, but programmed to control various elements of the show via DMX through a GrandMA3 console in Mode 3.

The announcement of two new genomics sequencers, Onso for short-reads and Revio for long reads, warranted a celebration for the end users. Revio will be PacBio’s first system to offer NVIDIA graphic processing units, dramatically increasing computing power compared to its previous model, the Sequel IIe. The new sequencer will also integrate deep learning to detect DNA methylation, as well as DeepConsensus, Google Health’s deep learning platform, to improve yields and accuracy. The launch of both products received significant media attention and press coverage, driving new business to the company with Revio ultimately becoming the most successful product announcement in PacBio’s history.

Press Snippets:

The Long and The Short of It

PacBio Hopes to Maroon the Competition by Unveiling Two New Instruments at ASHG

PacBio Seeks to Maroon the Competition in the Crowded Sequencing Space

PacBio Announces Record Orders

The Audience Experience

Xite envisioned an immersive experience that kicks off with attendees receiving LED wristbands and entering the venue passing through an LED wall photo booth. The colorful backdrop would become part of a larger opening sequence inside the theater, using a spherical orb motif reminiscent of the microscopic structures in human genomics. Attendee photos were sent over a network to Xite’s server rack and integrated into TouchDesigner, a real-time interactive media software. TouchDesigner instantly pulled the images and added them to a sort list where it divided, scaled and transformed the photos into sets of 192, for a total of 768 unique photos across (4) 4K outputs. They were then instanced as a texture for the geometry of the orb array. This configuration gave the ability to change, rearrange and prioritize the photos on the fly while transmitting live through NDI to Unreal Engine 5. The audience was captivated as they found themselves and their colleagues floating across the massive LED wall, transforming and morphing into a double-helix. At the end of the sequence, the attendee orbs coalesced into a singular sphere, eventually settling into place as the “O” of the PacBio logo as the audience erupted into a deafening applause, welcoming Christian Henry onstage.

An Interactive Presentation

Part of what set this event apart from other corporate shows was the level of interactivity and control built into the production. Christian Henry wanted to manipulate various aspects of the presentation using gestures, inspired by the gesture-based control in the film “The Minority Report”. Using Microsoft Azure Kinect motion-tracking cameras in combination with trigger zones in Unreal Engine 5, Xite created an interactive slideshow that could be manipulated in real-time via an invisible digital avatar mapped to Christian’s body. This avatar allowed him to trigger events, videos and other elements of the presentation. To make this system show-ready for PacBio’s launch event, it took weeks of blueprinting in UE5, development, and hands-on testing at XiteLabs’ own production studio in Calabasas.

Virtual and Physical Kinetic Systems

A major component of this show was a large array of kinetic orbs suspended from trussing over the stage. These kinetic sculptures provided by GlowMotion were controlled via DMX using custom programming in Unreal Engine. We were able to create and manipulate complex color and formation patterns to match the collection of screen looks developed for the course of the presentation. Linking the physical and virtual components of this show required a significant amount of development and programming work. Having complete control over the physical orbs via DMX was the easy part, but marrying this control with a virtual array of orbs and carrying motion in our visual designs from on-screen into the physical space was an exciting challenge. The process was a learning experience for the team and a first for the company.

Visual Design and Artwork

The vibrant visuals accompanying the technical production of the event were designed by XiteLabs using Unreal Engine 5 and manipulated with custom blueprints. Xite curated different looks for each part of the presentation, then worked with the lighting team to match those looks with the physical fixtures and colors in the room. Waves of ever-arranging orbs, soft washes of color and abstract motion sequences became part of the mood in the theater – subtle enough not to distract the audience, but interesting and dynamic enough to have its presence felt. The looks were developed with ultimate versatility in mind, allowing us to program different arrangements, transformations, and other modifications on the fly. With a mix of real-time playback and pre-rendered content from Unreal, Xite was able to inject various types of media into the presentation environments they designed, while maintaining a high level of control over timing and placement on the LED wall. It was crucial that the content all felt unified with the branding style of PacBio.

Mark Van Oene - Accuracy Visualization Sequence

The Grand Finale

Throughout the event, Christian and Mark used gesture controls to swipe through their on-screen slides, videos, and trigger the orb array configurations. You could tell they were having a blast interacting with the audience while premiering their newest offerings to the genomics community. At the end of the presentation, Christian signed off and welcomed Maroon 5 to the stage for a full set in the intimate venue. XiteLabs / Lightswitch Amber Robertson lent her talents on the GrandMA3 console running in Mode3 to assist with lighting and kinetic orb support during specials moments of the performance. Soon after the presentation concluded came a DJ set, with open bar reaching its 3rd hour and attendees dancing the night away while Amber and XiteLabs creative director and partner Vello Virkhaus teamed up on live-programmed visuals using a combination of DMX-driven Unreal Engine and Resolume

Putting on an event of this magnitude is no easy task, but VOLO Events formed an incredible team of partners to make it happen and make it special.