On 7 February 2011, the German city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen - the product of two former geographic foes - celebrated the grand opening of the 2011 Ski World Championship with an exceptional opening gala that focused on such friendly rivalries to highlight the event's sporting spirit. With more than 3.5 million viewers glued to TV screens across Germany, despite the event's pre-primetime slot, the broadcast achieved a 30 per cent market share in Bavaria alone - beating all of the day's other programmes!
Also on location more than 11.000 spectators attended the sold-out ceremony - including German chancellor Angela Merkel and international stars of the Alpine sporting scene - the one-hour show dazzled the masses with plenty of show, snow, excitement and dance. And, lest we forget, a giant video projection on the town's famous Olympic ski jump designed by flora&faunavisions (in collaboration with lead agency dreinull and performance specialists battleRoyal).
A clever blend of traditional, modern, impressive and emotional, this grand overture threw a fast-paced and dramatic spotlight on seminal ski moments, contemporary live acts, classical orchestral pieces, interactive performances and our own team's pioneering projections.
After all, flora&faunavisions' bespoke concept and content raised the bar ski high - or at least to the peak of the area's highest mountain, the Alpine Alpspitze. Framed by light strip and search lights, the town's steep slope morphed into a stage and interactive projection surface for the night's perfect synergy of sport and style, technology and nature.
To this end, ffv concepted, created and supplied all video content for the one-hour opening gala, synched all the way to the event's soundtrack and a live performance by the Bavarian Radio's Symphony Orchestra. And if you thought this was the tricky bit, think again: in line with the superlatives expected of a World Championship, our visual wizards also had to tackle a naturally curved and tapering projection surface. Beating our own record, these projections reached a portrait format of 29m x 130m - without distortion or bleeding edges - supported by six exceptionally powerful and weather-resistant beamers.
Separated into different 'acts' on the skiing community's sporting spirit, global stars and the highlights of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, most scenes were synched to interactive performances by participating actors, celebrities and pro skiers. And in their playful exploration of regional traditions, people and characteristics, huge enchanting - and interactive - illustrations spirited the collective audience away to Michael Ende's Momo and a fairy tale landscape in the child actor's on stage pop-up book and on the outsize open-air 'screen'.
While the arrival of participating teams was accompanied by archive material of 30 current and all-time greats from Alpine sporting history, the subsequent Rose Cavalier interlude saw two seminal skiers - dressed as noble suitors in top hat and tails - shoot down a giant mapped staircase adorned with slowly tumbling rose petals. Carried by an air of elegant romance, this ornate sequence segued into an operatic scene dominated by ruby-red fabric. Dressed in an ostentatious gown, the leading soprano rose from the stage during her aria while the slope around her slowly drowned in a synchronised curtain of luscious red fabric.
Building up to the grand finale, a set of stunning projections then turned the slope into a precarious craggy summit. In this interactive blend of video and performance, an agile actor 'scaled' the projected peak: an extremely dramatic and convincing routine aided by the precise choreography between projection and performance - and an equally nerve-wracking tightrope walk for our experts behind the scenes. After all, this was our largest projection surface to date. And our first ever large-scale sporting event!
Quotes' Selection from Press and Guests
AFP/ Süddeutsche Zeitung
"The opening ceremony hit Olympic standard, yet retained a remarkable sense of lightness, cheerfulness and restraint."
"Garmisch-Partenkirchen set a shining example with the launch of its 'Festival of Snow' - a truly superlative opening event. For the ceremony's galactic lighting extravaganza, eclipsing all previous world championship openings, dreinull hired the creative projection specialists of flora&faunavisions."
Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel
"No doubt, this World Cup opening ceremony is a good calling card for Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Germany."
The opening ceremony was "milestone in the history of alpine skiing" according to the head of OK, Peter Fischer.
"Poetic imagery wowed the crowds throughout the spectacular opening show."
"Smart people put together an ideal composition"
"A ski world championship opening as we have never seen it before. Here, the ski slope's jump became a show and projection surface for some spectacular video animations."
"It was the biggest ever opening event of any World Championship to date. What a great calling card for 2018. Olympics, here we come!" (treble Olympic medal winner Katja Seizinger)
Annette Siebenbürger, Head of Programming, Bavaria and Entertainment
"In many respects, this production was a huge effort and balancing act. It was only through the combination of a great measure of professionalism, creativity, perseverance, patience, team work and not least steadfast vision, that this was able to succeed."
"The opening gala was simply stirring. With its blend of technological finesse and folkloristic elements, it mastered the deliberate balancing act between tradition and contemporary culture" according to ARD expert Markus Wasmeier.
Client: Deutscher Ski Verband VeranstaltungsGmbH
Lead Agency: dreinull Agentur für Mediatainment
Video Concept and Production: flora&faunavisions
Music: Martin Lingnau
Light: Chris Moylan
c) Photo by Ralf Rühmeier