London 2012 Ceremonies

1 september 2012

CT secured some of the most impressive contracts in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London

Games in Edinburgh, Manchester and Delhi, not to mention the Asian / Arab Games most recently held in Doha, provided Creative Technology (CT) with the resumé that secured some of the most impressive contracts for this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

The spectacular Olympics Opening Ceremony in July marked the culmination of eight years of relationship building and customer development. CT achieved a virtual clean sweep, winning almost every contract they went after, monopolising the Audio Visual delivery across the Games and employing around 300 CT and Dimension Crew over the six weeks of events.

From providing screens, audio equipment, full sports presentation systems, consultation on design and procurement of equipment to delivering some of the most stunning LED design and projection sequences ever seen on a world stage,
CT certainly positioned themselves on one of the top spots on CT’s scope for all four Ceremonies fell into four main areas; screens, projection, content delivery and a spectacular audience effect.

Four 150m2 LED screens were installed into the main Olympic Stadium and flown from stadium lighting gantries. Each Spider 30 screen measured a massive 19.2m x 7.7m high (63’ x 25.2’). The modules were built into a purpose built
steel frame and were wind tunnel tested in readiness for siting in the exposed location. The frames incorporated access ladders and gantries for servicing along with a black fabric rear cover to improve contrast and to provide a degree of weather protection that could be retracted in excessive wind conditions to reduce the wind load on the screens and lighting towers. The LED crew all completed high level rope access and rescue courses as part of the Health and Safety program. The screens were used in all four Ceremonies and throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Various segments of the Ceremonies’ shows utilised video projection. CT installed a total of 26 new Panasonic DZ21 and DZ20 projectors. These were the first units of this new product to be delivered worldwide. The projectors are considerably
smaller and lighter than any equivalent 20k projector and going forward will become CT London’s primary large-scale projection product. 20 projectors were installed on the 2nd tier balcony rail (most in portrait configuration) with six on the roof of the Stadium. Projectors were re-configured for the various shows, each of which presented its own set of challenges. The Opening Ceremony featured a 60’ high inflatable house which swayed and wobbled in the wind, while the Closing saw 30’ high portrait screens driven into position on tipper trucks with projectors mounted into custom built gimbals to allow the projectionists to manually shift the projectors like a follow spot. For the Paralympic Opening Ceremony two projectors were built inside a 3m diameter moon, this was only achieved due to the low weight
and heat generation of the new Panasonic units.

CT delivered content to all of the video display technology in the shows. A total of 32 servers were employed. For the first time CT employed Mac Pro’s throughout and re-configured these to run Catalyst, Immersive or Watchout software as required. The system incorporated 100% redundancy via dual 144 x 72 HD-SDI routers and CT also controlled all other signal distribution and fibre cabling/conversion. All were managed with Medialon control.

In addition, CT’s system triggered the various VT/EVS rolls in the main broadcast production and provided extensive Stage Management and multi-viewer monitoring for show and production control. LED screen content was controlled via a 2ME
Kayak PPU system that had three dedicated cameras and multiple ISO and TX feeds from TV.

The final Ceremonies element CT were involved in was a spectacular audience effect utilising hand held LED pixel tablets that each of the audience members were provided with. This created the stunning Stadium wide LED display in all four Ceremonies that integrated the entire venue and all the spectators into the show itself. CT were involved in the consultation, design, testing and procurement of these LED pads – of which over 70,000 were produced for the entire seating grid – and were instrumental in controlling all the content delivery.

“This has been an incredible journey for CT.” said Dave Crump, CEO CT Europe & Middle East. “It started around eight years ago, before London had won the Games where we were involved in events for “Back the Bid” and “Make London Proud.” Since then we have launched logos and mascots and did the handover concert outside Buckingham Palace. The team involved has grown like a snowball and in the end included almost the entire Company, all our freelancers and lots of new faces, many of who have become firm friends of CT.

“The Olympic Games has been an incredible success for Britain and everyone at CT should be justifiably proud of the part we have played in that success. We must also remember the other events that went on whilst this was happening and our team who looked after our clients and all the other things we do every year that will continue long after the Games have gone.

“We can buy all the equipment in the world but it’s useless without our people. When the time came, our people, they did it right.”