China built world’s biggest ground LED screen for 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Flag bearers carry the Olympic flag between the words of the Olympic motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together" into the National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022. /Xinhua
Flag bearers carry the Olympic flag between the words of the Olympic motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” into the National Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022. /Xinhua

Spectacular, glittering and dazzling, those were among the words used by international media outlets and social media users to describe the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics held in Beijing on Friday night.

The main stage of the simplified yet beautifully realized ceremony in the National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird’s Nest, is the world’s largest ground LED screen.

The screen, with a size of 10,552 square meters, was actually composed of some 42,000 small LED modules. It featured an ultra-high resolution of 16K, Wang Zhi’ou, visual effects supervisor of the opening ceremony, told China Media Group.

The supersized ground screen, together with a 10-meter-high vertical screen, presented many memorable moments during the ceremony through the comprehensive application of AI (artificial intelligence), 5G, AR (augmented reality) and naked-eye 3D technologies.

The most exciting moment was probably when the Olympic Rings were “carved out” of a three-dimensional cube shaped like a block of ice.

At another point in the ceremony, children sang as they danced across the arena, while stars appeared on the LED screen beneath their feet.

Children perform during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, February 4, 2022. /Xinhua

A screen and a stage 

To build such a big LED screen on the ground of the stadium was not an easy task, according to its developer – China Academy of Launch Vehicle (CALT), the country’s largest contractor of carrier rockets.

Since it also served as the main stage, on which the entire performance and the Parade of Nations took place, it had to be wear-resistant, water-proof, electrically safe and able to sustain heavy weights.

What was more challenging, as the stadium is open-air, the ground screen had to be able to withstand the freezing temperature of Beijing’s winter, as well as weather like rain and snow.

In order to address all the challenges, technicians from CALT built a special protective layer for the ground screen.

Thanks to the screen, as well as all the innovative ideas and high technologies, the two-hour ceremony featured only around 3,000 performers, compared with 15,000 during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony.