Beijing Opening Ceremonies Clearly Used A Lot Of LED, But Nothing Clear About The Supplier!
February 7, 2022 by Dave Haynes
The giant display that covered the full floor of the stadium hosting the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics was definitely LED technology, but what’s not at all definite – it seems – is the supplier of all those LED tiles.
In various reports and social media posts from companies, the 10,000-plus square meters of LED tiles that provided a dynamic floor at the Bird’s Nest stadium were from one of the big Chinese LED companies, or the biggest display manufacturer in the world, or China’s primary aerospace contractor.
Confused? Me, too!
For those who have not seen even video highlights of the opening Friday, almost the entire floor surface of the stadium – the same one used for the summer games in 2008 – was covered in LED floor tiles and tied into a huge vertical, monolithic LED tower. I watched the first 15 minutes or so of the ceremonies and realized gradually I was not looking at projection mapping, but a vast sync’d and reactive LED floor.
Along with who made the displays, the reports I have read are varied on the specs, but the dimension the floor is north of 10,000 sq. meters, there are 40,000 LED modules and the overall resolution was greater than 8K. One thing I read says 29,900×15,096.
I couldn’t find anything online about it that morning, but got notes and comments pointing me to material from Chinese media that Google kinda sorta translates to English.
At the beautiful Opening Ceremony, a giant snowflake-shaped cauldron and a never-before-seen 8K ultra high definition (UHD) display on the stage of the stadium attracted the world’s attention; Unilumin and BOE Technology were jointly involved in creating these magical displays.
Before the official start, Zhang Yimou, who was the director of the Opening Ceremony, had already dropped hints that this year the Winter Olympics would be totally different. The stage floor of the Opening Ceremony was illuminated by the largest 8K UHD ground display system in existence, with an overall area of 10,393 square meters. Not only was it the largest in the world, but it also used cutting edge technology.
And I was told it was Leyard, one of Unilumin’s main business rivals.
Then I saw a story explaining how this was the work of BOE, the Chinese firm that has taken over as the largest LCD manufacturer on the planet (but doesn’t make LED?).
Also, and this was auto-translated …
At the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics tonight, LED screens of various designs have made a great contribution, showing the perfect combination of Chinese unique culture and technology under the leadership of director Zhang Yimou. According to @BOE BOE official Wechat news, the luminous stage for the opening ceremony was provided by BOE. It is currently the world’s largest ultra-high-definition ground display system, with an overall area of 10,393 square meters.
Not only is the area very large, but also the technology Can be called international first-class. BOE adopts multiple 8K+ resolution image fusion technologies, and the ultra-large-scale optical correction algorithm can perform pixel-level optical correction on each display screen, which can present 100,000:1 ultra-high contrast ratio, 3840Hz ultra-high refresh rate, and 29,900×15,096 ultra-high-resolution ultra-high-definition gorgeous picture.
At the same time, through the super-large display module control and synchronization system independently developed by BOE, the actor’s trajectory can be captured in real time, and the seamless interaction between the screen and the actor can be realized. In addition, the giant “snowflake” surrounded by olive branches at the opening ceremony was also provided by BOE. This snowflake is composed of 96 small snowflake shapes and 6 LED double-sided screens in the shape of olive branches.
And then there was another story that said the thing was all put together by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, or CASC, the country’s leading space contractor.
The space guys may have done a cube thingie that was transformed into the Olympic rings and then hoisted.
But then China Daily says: “Another visual marvel－a ground-based display screen covering 10,100 square meters－was built by engineers from the Beijing Aerospace Automatic Control Institute. They used industrial internet technologies to connect more than 40,000 screens and monitor their working conditions. To ensure no malfunctions during the opening and closing ceremonies, engineers placed four signal transmission lines for the colossal screen to prepare sufficient backup capacity.”
So I think it would take a team of codebreakers a couple of months to sort this all out. My mildly-educated case is that BOE was lead with the aerospace people, and that Unilumin and Leyard were/are named supplier/partners who did different elements of all this.
Whatever the case, and perhaps the bigger points here, are the creative achievements and the technical marvel of a displays surfaces that big being used and, by the looks of it, being somewhat live in reacting to the motion of performers.