The opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, July – August 2012, United Kingdom, saw the main Olympic stadium transformed into a huge array of LED video pixels, mapped to the space inhabited by the entire audience.

Developed by TAIT, over 70,500 pixel tablets were produced for each seat in the stadium, and video emerged from its two dimensional world to become 3D; the audience members integrated into the show itself.  The pixel tablet is a 3x3 RGB unit, 135mm x 135mm, weighing less than half a kilogram. Each of the nine LED pixels could be individually programed and viewed at angles of 180 degrees, horizontally and vertically.

The units were to be placed outdoors with installation starting in May and the final show not until September. All units were required to be CE-complaint and IP65-rated. Ensuring the units were fully EMC-compliant was imperative as the canvas was 50,000sq-m with the majority of the 10,000 volunteer cast wearing in-ear monitors.

The initial brief from London 2012 was to design a system that could be removed during sport and reinstalled in the seventeen hour window between the end of the athletics and the Closing Ceremony. The tablets were delivered to the stadium in labelled boxes containing strings custom made for each individual row.

The stadium was divided into 52 sections and each box systematically labelled by tier, section number and row to ensure fast and efficient delivery to the correct section in the stadium. With a crew of 12 technicians and 40 local labourers the entire system could be installed and removed in 17 hours.

Overnight, video went from being a two dimensional screen to becoming interactive and three dimensional, changing the face of the industry by creating the world’s largest video screen to date.

TAIT collected a coveted PLASA 2012 Award for Innovation for the pixel tablets, as well as Guinness World Record title for the world’s largest landscape video display.

Sustainability was a key element in the design of the pixel tablet system both in the sourcing of the components and ensuring the product had an afterlife. The system was therefore designed to be adaptable to increase potential use for future live productions and architectural installations.

Landscape video opens unlimited opportunities for the use of this type of technology in live events and architectural environments. Communication of any message on a large scale can be achieved without limits.

Equipment List:

  • 60 flx control racks each containing:
  • 8 Barco flx hubs
  • 1 Barco flx NNI controller
  • 1 32A Power distribution unit
  • 1 NNI Fiber transmitter unit
  • 1 NNI Fiber receiving unit
  • 2 x processing racks, each containing:
  • 1 Barco DX-700 processor
  • 1 NNI output card
  • 1 Universal Input card
  • 1 UPS
  • 350 km of data and power cabling
  • 75,000 TAIT pixel tablets

 

Design Team:

  • Michael Tait, Founder/Partner, TAIT
  • James ‘Winky’ Fairorth, President & CEO, TAIT
  • Adam Davis, Vice President, TAIT
  • Carol Scott, Director of Sales and Marketing, TAIT
  • Frederic Ospomer, TAIT – CEO, Europe
  • Olivier Clybouw, TAIT – Project Manager
  • Hans Cromheecke, TAIT – Product Manager
  • Ed Van Der Heijden, TAIT – Operations Manager
  • Dirk Dhulster, TAIT – Production Manager, Manufacturing
  • Hendrik Claerhout, TAIT – CAD Designer
  • Stef Vanbesien – TAIT, Audience Pixel Crew Chief
  • Frederic Goemaere – TAIT – LED Show Operator/Video Mapping
  • Pascal Casselman, TAIT – Electronic Engineer
  • Piers Shepperd, London 2012 Ceremonies – Technical Director
  • Nick Jones, London 2012 Ceremonies – Technical Manager, Lighting, AV & Power
  • Dave Bartlett, London 2012 Ceremonies – Production Manager, Audience Pixels
  • Mike Dawes, London 2012 Ceremonies – Deputy Production Manager, Audience Pixels
  • Dave Green, Immersive/Avolites – AI Software Architect
  • Trey Harrison, Immersive/Avolites – AI Software Architect
  • Martin Harvey, Immersive/Avolites – AI Operator

 

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