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Impressive Olympic Opening Ceremony Visuals Include Intel’s Record-Setting Drone Light Show

by PLSN Staff • in
  • Featured
  • International News
• Created: February 12, 2018

Credit: Intel Corporation

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Intel’s Shooting Star drones, performing in a pre-taped segment, were seen around the world by those watching coverage of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. A total of 1,218 drones were used, setting a new Guinness World Record for the most drones flown simultaneously.

Intel designed and developed custom animations for the opening ceremony and nightly victory ceremony performances, which include animations of different sports, including a giant snowboarder, and various Olympic-related logos including the formation of the five Olympic rings.

Intel had also planned to feature a live drone show as part of the live ceremonies as well but had to abandon those plans due to unspecified logistical challenges, according to reports.

Spectacular Designs

The prerecorded drone visuals were just part of a spectacular parade of visual designs seen by spectators within the Olympic stadium venue and broadcast via TV and internet to millions of viewers around the globe on Feb. 9. The games continue until the Closing Ceremony, set for Feb. 25.

Setting the stage for close to 2,900 athletes from 92 countries who carried their nation’s flags within the pentagon-shaped stadium — with Russian athletes parading behind the Olympic flag itself — the opening ceremonies started off with a large-scale production with a narrative flow linking innocence with experience, the past with the future and elements from Korean folklore and South Korea’s flag, the Taegeukgi, which incorporates the symbol of universal harmony, the yin and yang, at its center.

The creative collaborators on the project included artistic director Yang Jung-woong and executive director/creative, Song Seung-whan, with other key designers including Koo Yun-young (lighting), Mok-Jin-yo and Kim Kyo-seong (video), Son Mu-yeul (pyro), Lim Chung-il (scenery) and Kim Sang-taek andPark Dong-woo overseeing the production and art direction for the show.

The production included elaborate projections from video director Patrice Bouqueniaux and the team from ETC Audiovisuel SA using Panasonic projectors mounted on five towers surrounding the stage, which allowed for the elaborately costumed dancers to be bathed in vivid, high-res imagery. These began with the countdown to the ceremony, including the ringing of the Bell of Peace, modeled on the copper Bell of Sangwongsa, which dates from the year 725 and is kept in a temple located about 12 miles away.

The narrative starts a series of adventures adventures experienced by five children – the same number as the Olympic rings – who also represent  five elements: fire, water, wood, metal, and earth as they explore cave artwork that serves as a link to the past. Some of the artworks magically come to life, including a larger-than-life white tiger, a symbol of good fortune, who guards a snowy realm along with a dragon, giant bird and turtle.

The children encounter a variety of lavishly lit wonderlands from the past to the present, joined by Korean folkloric characters and performers, with the action on stage morphing from fantastic animals and plants to the South Korean flag with its red-and-blue yin-and-yang symbol at its center to a river journey that takes the children on a river trip as the weather turns stormy.

The tempest calms as the children make their way into a futuristic scene with high-tech robots and the Gate of the Future, made from 120 LED-emblazoned frames, with more dramatic visuals to follow with the Media Link segment, with close to 60 LED strands linking floor visuals upward to a circular ring above the stage, creating a huge, dynamic cylinder of light.

More than 1,200 people then entered the stage, standing in dove formation, to the music of “Imagine” by the Beatles, with their hand-held LED candles wirelessly synched to the LEDs given to the spectators so that the light from within the dove radiates outward to the crowd in the 35,000-capacity stadium.

Moving on to the lighting of the Olympic torch, the ceremony followed the progress of the Olympic Torch, which had completed a 101-day relay across South Korea. On its final journey up to the Olympic Cauldron, the torch was carried jointly by two members of the combined North and South Korea hockey team – one from each side.

As the two torch bearers carried the torch up the steps – lit up in white, and resembling a Nordic ski jump – the lighting highlighting their progress as they made their way to the top. There, Korean gold-medal winning figure skater Yuna Kim did the final honors, lighting the white ceramic tunnel sculpture leading up to the cauldron itself. Once the cauldron was ignited, a massive fireworks display also lit up the winter sky, and the Games officially began.

More About the Drones

“The Olympics are a time when the sports and entertainment industries are buzzing with record-setting performances, so it was the perfect stage for Intel Shooting Star drones and our team to set their own kind of record,” said Natalie Cheung, general manager of Intel’s drone light show team.

“It’s been exciting for us to partner with Intel on the Winter Olympics, as they continue to push the limits with their advanced drone light show technologies,” said Sam Prosser, commercial director EMEA APAC Guinness World Records. “From flying 100 drones simultaneously in 2015, to 500 drones in 2016, and now more than 1,000 drones — the sky is the limit with entertaining through Intel drone light shows.”

The Intel Shooting Star drones are a type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specifically designed for entertainment purposes, equipped with LED lights that can create countless color combinations and easily be programmed for any animation. The fleet of drones is controlled by one pilot.

“We are honored to have Intel drones playing several roles at the Olympic Games,” said Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager, Intel Drone Group. “Not unlike the athletes competing in the events, we continue to push to innovate and develop the drone technologies that inspire people all over the world.”

As impressive as this year’s lit drone spectacle was, you can be sure they’ll be back to set new records to come. Intel’s contract to provide drone shows for the Olympic Games continues through 2024.

For a look at the Olympics Opening Ceremonies as seen by viewers of NBC, go to http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/opening-ceremony.


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