Immersive Forest of Light for Closing Ceremony of Sochi Winter Games

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The closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics wrapped up the most expensive games yet with an exquisite cocktail of Russian music, ballet, art, design and literature - plus a witty and inspired sprinkling of self-deprecation. Much of the action took place amongst a dynamic forest of light, which was created and built by set and stage designer, TAIT Technologies, and programmed by creative UK collective, Immersive.

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Throughout, the 'Forest of Light' provided the stage architecture that gave scale and perspective for much of the action that unfolded on the huge Fisht Stadium floor. It also provided the perfect TV-picture framing vehicle for the stunning aerial and stadium TV pictures, broadcast worldwide on 23rd February 2014.

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The impressive Olympics Closing Ceremony design was by Danielle Finzi Pasca. The Forest of Light comprised a custom LED product, designed and built by TAIT Technologies, which was flown from a complex flying system rigged above the field of play.
 
"Our part in this spectacular event comprised programming and pixel mapping the 240 individual LED rods, each of which is 12m high and 25cm in diameter," explains Immersive project manager Mark Calvert. "Known as the 'LED Forest', each rod boasts an impressive 360 degree-viewing angle, which enabled all 46,000 of the audience members and the global broadcast audience to see the same effect."
 
Hans Cromheecke of TAIT Technologies led the LED product development team; Immersive has a long history working with Hans and his team, having first collaborated on the Pan Arab Games in Doha followed by the award winning London Olympics Ceremonies.

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"Immersive's role on the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony embraced software programming, dynamic tracking, sampling of content over a range of 36 vertical meters, using the position of column data to interpolate models sets, managing the creative workflow and pre-visualisation," continues Immersive's Ai Server architect, Dave Green. "We also provided the Ai Media Server technicians, operators and project management, including Ai developer and site operator, Ciaran Abrams, and Ai technicians Martin Harvey and Joe Dunkley."
 
Calvert continues: "Another project challenge Immersive faced was the Artnet Control from 3 different sources... Lighting Desk for Camera Balance, Lighting Desk for Operations and Motion Data also having access to 1836 models in the system in real time and pixel mapping based on interpolated UV data. One of the main advantages to the Ai Media Server is the Operation Flexibility, allowing the operator to timecode tracks, busk, or control from a remote source - this design flexibility proves why Ai has quickly become the Media Server platform for shows of this scale, and imagination."
 
Immersive also supplied TAIT Technologies with x2 Avolites Media S6 Servers for the installation mapping and playback of the effect. One system took care of the 'live' show, while the second provided a seamless backup.

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"The installation was visualised using the Ai 3D stage interface, which enabled the show designers, content houses, programmers and technicians to work remotely on the project and still see the installation within the same 3D model of the stadium," continues Calvert. "This helps in a number of ways with workflow and ongoing problem solving.
 
"In fact for many of Immersive's large-scale projects the 3D Visualiser has been a mission critical part of the design process. It enables ideas to evolve in a real-time 3D space and in a number of cases has helped visualise and deliver some world-first achievements. The visualiser makes realising a design a tactile, easy to navigate, real-time experience."
 
Immersive's association with TAIT and its portfolio of groundbreaking projects (including the BMW/Mini Countryman UK Launch; Bon Jovi's 'Because We Can' USA Tour; the X-Factor Finals with Rhianna; and the 2012 London Olympics) has enabled the company to develop an offering that ensures it is globally recognised as the number one turn key firm for the delivery of ambitious technical projects.

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"At Immersive we strive to work at the forefront of project design alongside clients that not only have the vision to see the idea but also the technical know-how to deliver them," concludes Calvert. "TAIT Technologies has consistently proven why they lead the market. I believe they chose to work with us because we share the same passion: To make creative dreams a reality and because we all thrive as part of a team committed to making all creative visions work."

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