Syfy, Philips team up to put Sharknado in a new light

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Sequels rarely live up the original. But when Sharknado 2 twirls its way across your television screen next week, at least you’ll know the lighting will be better.

To enhance the July 30 premiere of what is sure to be an instant B-movie classic, the Syfy cable network and lighting maker Philips have devised a revolutionary way to sync up a viewer’s home lighting system to match Sharknado 2’s groundbreaking sharks-attacking-New-York-from-tornadoes effects.

We just celebrated the 45th anniversary of the moon landing. Somehow, this achievement feels bigger.


You know what would improve this Sharknado 2 scene? Mood lighting.

There’s a catch, of course. To harness what can only be termed as “Light-O-Vision,” you’ll need to run the Syfy Sync app for iOS and have the Philips Hue connected home lighting system. The devil is always in the details, even as the sharks are swirling about in the sky.

Here’s how it will work: Syfy’s app will detect audio cues from the Sharknado movie playing on your TV and use them to send wireless commands to the Hue lighting system to alter illumination levels and colors. Is the weather getting stormy and foreboding onscreen? The Hue bulbs will dim to match the murky mood. Is there blood spraying everywhere from chainsaws ripping falling sharks apart? No problem; Hue can keep up by projecting a lurid bloody tone.

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Syfy’s Sync app will detect if you have Philips Hue lights in your home. The app will then listen for audio cues in the Sharknado movies and adjust your lighting accordingly.

In announcing the tie-in, both Syfy and Philips executives touted the immersive viewing experience of tying a second-screen app into your home’s lighting. “We can work through third-party apps like Syfy Sync, and allow the lighting to react to Sharknado content, taking a further bite out of the audience’s imagination,” Arif Quraishi, Philips’ vice president of marketing, sales and strategy, said in a press release announcing the partnership. Indeed not since the dawn of Smell-O-Vision—which emitted 30 different scents from moviegoers’ seats during screenings of 1960’s Scent of Mystery—have audiences been graced with such an immersive experience—and without having to leave home.

And just to prove that the Philips Hue-Syfy Sync collaboration isn’t a one-trick pony, the effects will also work with the original Sharknado, which will air right before Sharknado 2 debuts. The made-for-cable movies air Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET, respectively, on Syfy.

Philips on Thursday also announced its second annual Philips Innovation Fellows competition, which promises mentoring and $100,000 in prizes to inspire big ideas in health and well-being. Just don’t propose syncing up the lightbulbs in your home to match the action in a movie about man-eating sharks stuck in a tornado—that box has been ticked.

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