Pixel animations at London 2012 Olympic
closing ceremony by Crystal CG

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Pixel animations at London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony by Crystal CG

Digital graphics company Crystal CG created animations on a 360 degree screen comprising 70,500 paddles held by the audience at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics last night.

Pixel animations at London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony by Crystal CG

As with the opening ceremony, boards of nine coloured LEDs by each seat in the stadium made up images for 27 sequences, including sound waves reverberating around the arena to accompany Queen and the swirling backdrop to a psychedelic 1960s disco.

Pixel animations at London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony by Crystal CG

The ceremony was a showcase of British music and ended with the extinguishing of Thomas Heatherwick's Olympic Cauldron, the petals of which will be taken home by participating countries. It was directed by Kim Gavin with a set designed by Es Devlin - see our slideshow of her previous stage designs here, including arena tours for Kanye West and Take That.

Pixel animations at London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony by Crystal CG

Crystal CG also created fly-through animations of London used by TV stations to link between venues and the animated video to accompany the Chemical Brothers’ specially commissioned song played in the Velodrome before each event.

See all our stories about the London 2012 Olympics »

Here's some more information from Crystal CG:


‘Pixels’ to transform Closing Ceremony

Crystal CG creates larger-than-life animations to immerse live and television audiences in a spectacular rock concert, bidding farewell to the London 2012 Olympic Games

Following their debut in the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, the now-famous ‘pixels’ and Crystal’s animations immerse the audience in a celebration of British Music at the Closing Ceremony.

Danny Boyle said, "Every Olympic Ceremony aims for a major technical breakthrough. Our remarkable audience pixels have opened up amazing new images, effects and spectacle, but most of all they have enabled our live stadium audience to be part of the ceremony in a way that's never been possible before."

Directed by Kim Gavin, one of the UK's leading musical creative directors, the Closing Ceremony assembles stars of the British music scene from 1967 to 2012 performing their biggest hits. Working closely with Kim’s creative team, Crystal has created 27 animated sequences, totalling the length of a feature length film to accompany the songs that bring Britain’s musical heritage to life.

The diversity of music has translated into the creation of a wide array of digital visual experiences that audiences at home and in the stadium can enjoy – ranging from turning the stadium into a giant disco and bringing to life psychedelic animations from the 1960s, to creating beat-matched visuals to accompany a superstar DJ, who will be revealed at this evening’s ceremony.

"We are going to witness one of the most extraordinary visual experiences ever seen on this scale – one that will surely herald the beginning of a new breed of stadium show,” said Crystal’s creative director, Will Case.

Over 10,000 pixels wide, the animations have required huge amounts of computer rendering and 24 hour IT support. To make it all happen, Crystal assembled an experienced creative and production team of local talent. The animator skill sets had to be extremely versatile and include complex 3D design and programming, as well as character and stop frame animation. As each act and song was confirmed, Crystal assigned a small team to create test animations and then executed full production. This included shooting catwalk models in high-end fashions, filming drifting clouds over London and flicking paint onto rooftop canvases.

Unlike the Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony has had no Stadium rehearsal time. Since the sporting events finished on Saturday, the Closing Ceremony team has been working hard to transform the Olympic Stadium’s field of play into an arena stage show with multiple stages and screens.