Dazzling show of light - from stage and stands

Like a scene from a science fiction movie, 20 aerialists from the SAF Music and Drama Company spin in midair while 720 performers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz dance to the tune of the future, cla
Like a scene from a science fiction movie, 20 aerialists from the SAF Music and Drama Company spin in midair while 720 performers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz dance to the tune of the future, clad in LED costumes and accompanied by drones. Dancers clad in LED-studded vests move in harmony as they create visual patterns with different colours, in the Ingenuity segment of Act 4. The lights were controlled through a wireless system. This young girl was among the 55,000 spectators who received LED wristbands that glow in the dark. The wristbands were programmed to flash different colours in tandem with different parts of the show. This allowed the audience to contribute to the show's atmosphere. As 200 "bamboo warriors" from wushu academy Martial House and dance troupe Dance Inspiration take on folklore hero Badang in an intense battle, the crowd's wristbands light up in a sea of white and orange.
Like a scene from a science fiction movie, 20 aerialists from the SAF Music and Drama Company spin in midair while 720 performers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz dance to the tune of the future, cla
Dancers clad in LED-studded vests move in harmony as they create visual patterns with different colours, in the Ingenuity segment of Act 4. The lights were controlled through a wireless system
Like a scene from a science fiction movie, 20 aerialists from the SAF Music and Drama Company spin in midair while 720 performers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz dance to the tune of the future, cla
As 200 "bamboo warriors" from wushu academy Martial House and dance troupe Dance Inspiration take on folklore hero Badang in an intense battle, the crowd's wristbands light up in a sea of white and orange.
Like a scene from a science fiction movie, 20 aerialists from the SAF Music and Drama Company spin in midair while 720 performers from Commonwealth Secondary School, Kranji Secondary School and the Academy of Nutz dance to the tune of the future, cla
This young girl was among the 55,000 spectators who received LED wristbands that glow in the dark. The wristbands were programmed to flash different colours in tandem with different parts of the show. This allowed the audience to contribute to the show’s atmosphere

As the stadium went dark during a segment of the show, the spectator stands lit up with lights from 55,000 LED wristbands.

Dazzling light displays featured prominently in this year's parade, but much of the technology that electrified the show was not noticed by the audience.

For instance, some 20 infrared transmitters dotted the roof of the stadium, broadcasting signals that made spectators' LED wristbands flash and change colours in synchrony.

The light-up extended past the parade - organisers activated the wristbands' "impact mode" after last night's show so that they would continue to glow whenever they are shaken, until the batteries go flat.

In Act 4, spectators were treated to the visual spectacle of dancers clad in vests studded with hundreds of LEDs.

Each dancer had a unique "address" controlled by a wireless system, which was programmed to create visual patterns on stage by assigning different colours to different dancers.

  • Previous National Day Parades have been held at familiar spots such as the Padang, the old National Stadium and the Marina Bay. Floating Platform. It is not yet clear where next year’s festivities will take place.

  • 55,000
    Wristband LEDs given to spectators

  • 20
    Infrared transmitters on stadium roof, broadcasting signals that make spectators' LED wristbands flash and change colours in synchrony

  • AT THE PARADE

    I Really hope that in the future, the younger generation will be able to speak not just english but more of their mother tongues, especially dialects. I’M cantonese but, unfortunately, my grandchildren can’t speak my dialect.

    RETIREE YONG CHUHAY, 80.

  • Singapore is the best place to be. In future, I want to be a doctor and take care of Mummy and Daddy when they fall sick.

    PUPIL YADA CHUA, six, with (from left) her aunt, grandmother and mother

  • I want her to grow up in a united and secure Singapore. She’s very interested in science and, sometimes, she does her own little experiments, like growing plants.May be that’s something she can explore in the future.

    IT CONSULTANT BUDDHA SANJEEVA APPALA NAIDU, 37, with his daughter Buddha Lakshya Sousilya, seven

Another 14,000 LEDs were used on the show-stealing unicorn - 3m long and almost as tall - floating dreamily around the stadium interior.

There were also radio-controlled drones twinkling with mysterious LEDs levitating magically in midair, undulating in a sine wave to the beat of the music.

Yet LEDs were only part of the story, with more powerful technology used to project animated images on the Sky City and other giant props.

An army of cameras tracked the precise three-dimensional positions of the props and fed the data into powerful computers, which computed the coordinates and re-projected the 3D images in real time to follow the props accurately as they swayed and rotated.

The room where all of this was orchestrated was nestled behind panoramic windows on the upper levels of the stadium.

Here, scores of engineers and designers closely monitored rows of computer screens and the stage itself, ensuring that NDP 2016 would be a night to remember.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2016, with the headline 'Dazzling show of light - from stage and stands'. Print Edition | Subscribe