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At the finishing line: grandMA says goodbye to the Olympics Games in Beijing and welcomes London as well as the Paralympics

At the finishing line: grandMA says goodbye to the Olympics Games in Beijing and welcomes London as well as the Paralympics

OlympicsAfter 17 days of athletic highlights the Summer Olympics 2008 recently ended with another stunning show in the Beijing National Stadium. Similar to the Opening Ceremony more than 2,300 DMX controlled fixtures were used to create a worthy finish for the Olympics. Again 3 x grandMA full-size plus 3 x grandMA full-size as backup, 2 x grandMA light as well as 46 x MA NSPs proved their power by controlling the gigantic lighting rig flawlessly.

Paul Collison, who was responsible for the control system and broadcast lighting, reported: “It always amazes me that the first time people really focus on the Closing Ceremony is two days after the opening. Beijing was no different. What made things very hard was we only had three nights with the stadium lights off. In total this amounts to only 18 hours of programming. Compare this to the six months of programming and thought that goes in to an opening and you start to see my point. For that reason most of the closing show was busked. It's not everyday you get a show with 2,000 plus fixtures that is busked. However essentially that's exactly what we had. Mr. Sha, lighting designer for the ceremony, was calling colours and levels and the operators worked hard to facilitate his requests. It was a true example of just how versatile, fast accessible and absolutely reliable the grandMA control system is. To go from something so meticulously planned as the Opening Ceremony to the free flow of ideas that was the closing was amazing to see.“

“For the closing we dropped one of the grandMA light consoles into the pit so the LEDs in the tower could be checked properly before it was erected,” Collison continued, “This worked well. We knew beforehand the operators would be busy during the show so utilising the multi-user aspect of the grandMA was the perfect option for us.”

“A grandMA system was also used in the London's stunning handover show, when a red London bus drove around the stadium and transformed an English lawn into a performance stage,” reported programmer Tim Routlegde, “The bus and stage were lit by a variety of LED products, designed by renowned lighting designer Durham Marenghi and were controlled from laptops running grandMA onPC sending data to an MA NSP and a MA 2Port Node onPC.“ The final lighting elements were 26 specially created LED umbrellas that formed two big screens on either side of the bus. These were fed by a grandMA video media server with content created by Routledge.

“To be inside the bus on its journey was the most exhilarating experience of my life, it was both the shortest and longest eight minutes of performance I have ever done and the MA Lighting products were perfect for the show,” says Routledge. The showfile was uploaded to laptops inside the bus for the show performance because space was very tight inside – I also never thought I would be controlling headlights and indicators of a bus from a lighting console!”.

The handover show during the Closing Ceremony included performances by British singer Leona Lewis, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and football star David Beckham, representing the change from Beijing to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Instead of relying on the host to offer a stage, the London team used the “double-decker” red bus, a typical vehicle of public transport in London, for their show. Following this, Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing, handed over the Olympic flag to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Zhang Yimou was the artistic director of the Closing Ceremony, Sha Xiao Lan the lighting designer. Paul Collision was in charge of the control system and the broadcast lighting. Feng Bin, Wu Guoquing and Huang Tao worked as grandMA programmers. Lighting assistants were Quan Xiaojie, Zhang Wei, Wang Zhiyi, Ma Jiebo and Wang Tong. The lighting production company was CCTV – Central China Television, in conjunction with Quan Jiang, Shang Hai Televison, Gong Ti, Bei Ao, and Feng Shang Shi Ji. ACE (Advanced Communication Equipment Co Ltd.) was responsible for the technical realisation. ACE is MA Lighting's distributor in China.

After the vast success of the two Olympic ceremonies the grandMA system will also be used at the Opening and Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games that will commence on September 6th.

A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive North American distributor for the grandMA. A.C.T Lighting can be reached at 818-707-0884 or

Further information: , Tel.: +49 5251 688865-10

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