My favorite aspect of the Olympics Opening Ceremony 2010 was the video projections. David Atkins, the executive producer of the show, used 70 video projectors and 38 still picture projectors to create vivid images on the floor of BC Place stadium, on hanging fabric used with the images to create the appearance of objects and structures, and on the audience themselves, who were clothed in white ponchos to make them part of the electronic canvas.
One of the notable uses of the video displayed on the floor was a segment within the “Landscape of Dreams” showcase of the regions and people of Canada. It was the salute to the prairie areas, and it featured National Circus School (Ècole nationale de cirque) student and aerialist Thomas Saulgrain (above) flying over projected images of fields of wheat. It was inspired by W.O. Mitchell’s “Who Has Seen The Wind”, from which Donald Sutherland spoke the introductory narrative.
During Saulgrain’s performance, the music that was played was Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, which is a song I really like. The expressiveness of the melody and the emotion of the lyrics were a great fit for this particular aerial ballet.
As much I liked the projections, which I must say I liked as well as the floor screen used in Beijing, I think its usage was too restrained during this segment. It didn’t need a lot more, but just a little more oomph would have been nice. Of course, with the TV coverage focused mainly on Thomas Saulgrain flying overhead, there might have been more that was seen by the audience at the stadium that was not seen by the TV audience. An instance of where the full potential of the system was shown was when the entire floor became one huge field of wheat (or was it prairie grass?)
Another noteworthy example of the technology was a displayed image of whales swimming across the floor. It added some 3-D to the 2-D image with real spouting up in the air from the whales (below).