Last week, Alexander Stadium was brought to life for the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. A spectacular show of light and colour, marking the start of 10 days of world class sport in Birmingham, bringing together people in a region that is celebrated for its cultural diversity.

With a long tradition in delivering opening and closing ceremonies for major sporting events, it was a huge honour for Creative Technology (CT) to be working on a major project of this type, once again in the UK.

Engaged by Birmingham Ceremonies (a Joint venture between Gary Beestone Associates and Done and Dusted), CT provided LED display technology and playback services for the show, working closely with Total Fabrications for the structural elements and BAFTA award winning artist and Creative Director, Tal Rosner, for the content.

Centre stage on the stadium floor, the ‘Bullring’ was made from a specialist outdoor and waterproof LED, created measuring over 260m in circumference, incorporating ramps for vehicle access in several locations and a seamless removeable section allowing larger scenic access, including the massive mechanical bull.

At one end of the stadium, a massive telescopic LED tower incorporating 250m2 of CT’s flagship BQ4 LED (reaching 12m high when fully extended) was another spectacular centrepiece of the overall production.

In addition to these custom elements built specifically for the show, CT also supplied the four main LED screens within the stadium which will remain in place throughout the games. These were upgraded both in size and resolution following a recent test event now measuring 125m2 each and utilising the same BQ4 product as the tower screen. 

Delivering content to all these displays CT deployed their custom G1 server platform running Pixera software. The G1 hardware is configurable to run multiple software options increasing flexibility, utilisation and consequently making it a more flexible and cost-effective solution.

Ross Howard, veteran of several major ceremonies including London in 2012 and now CT’s Project Manager for Birmingham 2022, comments “managing a project on this scale is both a huge challenge and a great honour. The ambition and attention to detail from the creative team means we are pushing technology to the limit and constantly innovating to achieve visual perfection. It is a great experience to be working alongside so many industry leaders and showing once again that we Brits really know how to put on a show!”

Nick Joyce, Technical Manager (Systems) for Birmingham ceremonies, says “whilst we were very familiar with CT’s LED capabilities around LED and Servers, the Pixera solution is new to us. As promised, it has delivered excellent functionality and flawless operation from fewer servers and at lower cost than alternative systems. The ROE BQ system deployed in the towers looked stunning and the fact that it perfectly matched the main stadium screens added to the overall impact.”

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