Tech Perspective: The Olympic Opening Ceremony

Whether you thought the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony was a triumph of Britishness or an embarrassing compilation of the country’s history it was, without doubt, a feat of technical brilliance. Nick Jones was the lighting designer and overall technical manager and was responsible for all of the effects on show. It was an incredible display of some of the most cutting edge tech available. Probably the most impressive part was the LED tablets and wristbands the spectators were given to hold, all 100,000 of which were controlled from the central lighting desk. These were used to create lighting effects, text and video using each audience member as a single pixel. The change from green, rolling hills in the first “act” to the industrial second act was also very impressive – hundreds of well-coordinated volunteers pulling up turf whilst Brunel paced up and down. Perhaps my personal favourite moment was the joining of the 5 Olympic rings from the centre ring of fire, all of which was created with lighting: wireless controlled lights inside giant rings being pulled together in mid-air. Not bad. Then there was the NHS scene with glowing sheets (I still don’t know fully how on Earth they managed that) before progressing to flying bicycles and fantastically choreographed dance scenes, all lit with a few thousand moving lights from around the stadium. All I can say is that their technical rehearsal must have been epic.

PHOTO/ Maykal