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Working at Crystal CG on the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies

As you may be aware, I have been a little quiet over the past few months! During this time I was fortunate enough to be part of an amazing team at Crystal CG working on the Audience Pixels for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies. My position there was as their Pre Visualizer and Senior Animator. During the 7 months I worked on the project I was responsible for setting up all the pixel maps to enable the animators to produce the work for the audience pixels. This involved many challenges including creating After Effects templates that helped correct the distortions that the bowl like shape of the stadium naturally made. Another challenge was to create a process so we could work as if the image was being projected down onto the stadium, instead of working as if we were standing in the stadium, this was seen in the Opening ceremony with the Union Flag slowly rippling during the Queen and James Bonds parachute jump. These were just a few of the technical aspects that had to be figured out to make best use of the Audience Pixels.

The union flag was created using a series of nested compositions in after effects to then give 56 individual maps that were animated in C4D and then re-composited to give the impression the flag was projected from above the stadium.

As well as this I was working on sequences across all four ceremonies ranging from parts of the protocol segments for both opening ceremonies, 2D and 3D elements that were used in all Ceremonies including the finale of the Olympic Closing Ceremony.

2012 Closing Ceremony Finale was My Generation. Two huge Union Flags were raining confetti down on the party.

All the performers joined The Who on stage.

One moment that I feel worked particularly well was the Underground section in the Olympic

Opening Ceremony where I created a loop of an underground tunnel from the viewpoint of a tube train driver. I rendered out the elements using a 360-degree camera so the final composited piece gave the impression the whole stadium was travelling down the tunnel.

London Underground sequence used a 360 degree camera to give the illusion of the whole stadium travelling down the tunnel.

Dancers become the tube train as the whole stadium is taken on the ride.

After a small break I returned to Crystal CG to spend the last 2 weeks working on a couple of tracks for the Paralympics Closing Ceremony.

The British Paraorchestra give a beautiful intro into Strawberry Swing.

Flags flying in during Strawberry Swing to celebrate the British festival scene.

The climax of the British festival section was Viva La Vida

Flags and banners dance in time to the music.

Ribbons fly to the drum beat.

These past few months have been amazing and being able to work on such a large canvas was incredible. My thanks to all at Crystal CG and the OOC, OCC, POC and PCC teams for the last 7 months, it was a blast and hope to work with you all soon.

One of the unforgettable images, fireworks over the Olympic Closing Ceremony party as the union flags continue to rain down confetti.

Olympic Ceremony images from BBC and Paralympic Ceremony images from Channel 4.

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