The 2022 Spring Festival Gala blends real and virtual to be a joyful party

The opening set of the 2022 Spring Festival Gala. /China Media Group

The 2022 Spring Festival Gala, China’s most-watched live TV show, was a spectacular four-hour extravaganza celebrating the Year of the Tiger.

On the gala stage, a 720-degree dome was built with 4,306 square meters of LED screens to create a more intimate space for the audience and connect the stage and the spectator area.

The opening set of the 2022 Spring Festival Gala. /China Media Group

The sound system has been improved to provide accurate sound effects by controlling volume and audio delay at different locations.

Around 130 4K cameras were equipped on set to process the captured video content in real time.

The show was broadcast live on the CCTV-8K UHD channel, offering the highest resolution currently available.

The gala showcased stunning visual effects using technologies such as Extended Reality (XR), Augmented Reality (AR), holographic scanning and 8K naked eye 3D rendering.

In a performance with the theme “2022 Beijing Winter Olympics”, XR technology created an immersive visual effect for the audience.

Virtual images of the two Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games mascots, Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, can be seen popping into the air as a conductor swings his baton. Two figures then flew over several official sites of the Winter Olympics.

The technology behind the mascots was an AI-powered motion capture system. The system consisted of sensors, voice technologies, cameras, etc. to capture the motion of a human, then transfer the motion to a virtual character with real-time rendering for stunning visual effect, according to ST Daily.

In another performance, the 720-degree screen created the illusion of a starry sky with planets, creating a vivid backdrop for the child performers to convey the concept of space exploration.

The gala also combined technology with Chinese culture. In a performance involving ancient poetry and chanting, performers dressed up as characters from ancient dynasties, whose movements were embedded in a virtual scenic landscape.

The landscape was designed in accordance with the legendary Chinese landscape painting Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, created by the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) painter Huang Gongwang. The seamless combination brought the audience a taste of ancient Chinese aesthetics.

Greetings from space

Another highlight of the gala was when the Chinese astronauts sent New Year’s greetings to the public via video at midnight. The Shenzhou-13 crew is halfway through its six-month mission and it’s the first time Chinese people have celebrated the Spring Festival on the Chinese space station, 400 kilometers above Earth.

Zhai Zhigang, commander of the Shenzhou-13 mission, wished everyone good health and good luck. Another crew member, Wang Yaping, sent hope that all children would “grow up strong and healthy like a tiger.”

Astronauts had dumplings with three different fillings on New Year’s Eve, a long-standing tradition in China.

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