Around the Olympic Stadium

Now that the big night has arrived, they seem to have lowered their guard on “No Photography” during the times of rehearsals for the Opening Ceremony. And now that the event is over when I post this, it’s safe to show things!

It is a 50,000 seat outdoor stadium, mostly a temporary structure. I’m told much of this will be dismantled when all is said and done. Some pics from around the grounds:

The pic above is of our main truck, NCP 8. NBC’s control room for the opening. That large tower structure is one of 4 around the stadium that suspends a large circular lighting array which is responsible for the fantastic projections you saw on the stage and an amazing circular lighting effect done after the parade of nations.

This photo is from dress rehearsal, taken off a monitor in the truck. You can see the suspended ring above. I believe the lights above the ring handled much of the projection onto the stage. The ring itself did its own spectacular lighting: a circular ring of lights, which was accomplished by “rope lights” lowering from the ring. The pic below was a capture of show night from a Twitter user.

Now to reveal how those lighting effects around the seats were created. These “LED light boxes” were between each seat.

You can see from here that they are merely small boxes of LED lights, about a foot square. Varying brightness and color of each made each of these boxes like a pixel on a screen. When you combine all the “pixels” and look from further away—you get the dazzling images you saw over the seats. When I went on the tour, it looked like one box in between every seat. 50,000 seats—yikes! Simply amazing.

View from the back of the “LED boxes”

The sequence where the Olympic Rings were formed in the air was actually done in December on a ski slope. The rings in the air are not CGI: they were formed by 1,200 drones! Flying in formation thanks to Intel technology. I heard rumors about drones, and really wished this was live—but all it would take would be a bad weather night to scrap it.

My last pic shows where the fireworks were launched. From blue barges sitting on the frozen little river outside the stadium.

The show was amazing. Only odd moment was the appearance of a stage crasher. Not once but TWICE during two of the performances. An Asian man wearing a red coat and red headphones. Didn’t say anything, just stood there or walked around until security found him. Seemed more of a mentality ill situation to us than that of some protest.

My next blog will give you a tour inside the NBC Production trucks during the opening.

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