Penang Illuminated: Making Magic in Malaysia with Simon Bond and Pete DeMarco

Photographers Simon Bond and Pete DeMarco have put together a short film shot around Malaysia’s George Town in Penang. Watching the one-minute clip, you might think the pair are a couple of CGI masterminds, but actually the tech is relatively simple. The results, however, are not.

It’s a beautiful piece of art.


Bond and DeMarco first met years ago in South Korea. As fate would have it, their paths also led them both to Malaysia. After a year using Malaysia as a base, Bond decided to pull up his stake for the next destination.

Before his departure, he partnered with DeMarco for the “Penang Illuminated” project –a photo team, their cameras, a PixelStick and Penang. (If you wanna know more about the PixelStick, go here).

Branding in Asia recently caught up with the two for some insight on the making of the short film that serves as a great brand piece for George Town –a place Virtualtourist once referred to as an “irresistable urban cocktail”.


What inspired the project?

Simon: Having bought the pixelstick several months ago I was initially interested in it purely from a still photos perspective, and I’m still very motivated to produce good still photos with the pixelstick now. The pixelstick is a very powerful tool when it comes to creating an animated sequence as well, and the more I used the light stick in this way the more possibilities formed in my mind.

I was inspired by that to see how far I could push the creativity of this. The fact I was leaving Georgetown soon also motivated me, it seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to the place I lived for a year.

What were some challenges?

Pete: The biggest challenge was time. We only had about 10 days to complete the project before Simon left Malaysia. It took a while to figure out the technical side of things like proper exposure time, how to turn the still images into a video, and at times work in the rain.

Simon: As the pixelstick is a new tool that’s not been on the market for that long we had a fairly steep learning curve to make the best use of this device. There are several technical difficulties with this such as balancing the light of the stick against the scene we were shooting.

Any plans to do more locations?

Simon: I’m now back in South Korea so my next projects will likely be ones based here. I might focus on an individual city for example Seoul or Suncheon. Once I have visited enough places and have the footage in place creating something that showcases the whole of S.Korea would be nice.

Busan, South Korea - Simon Bond

Seoul, South Korea – Simon Bond

Seoul, South Korea - Simon Bond

Seoul, South Korea – Simon Bond

You can check our more of Pete’s work at and Simon’s at

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