Rehearsal for Opening Ceremonies

This is going to be a BIG show, the Opening Ceremonies on 8/8/08. A cast of thousands, including these performers, who were preparing for the rehearsal, outside of the Bird's Nest.

On this particualr evening, the rehearsal was done before a ticketed audience. Here are some of the spectators on their way through the park to the stadium.

Meanwhile nearby, a crew was setting up the TODAY show's travelling studio, near the Olympic tower.

Part of the cast for the ceremonies are 2008 percussionists.

Here is one of the floats that will be carried onto the field during the ceremonies. Those are dragon heads on the end of the handles coming towards you.

Youngsters here are anxiuos to pose for pictures, and often ask us to have our picture taken with them. These girls make the peace sign, a popular gesture in photos here, as they pose in front of the float.

Inside the stadium now, a series of pictures before the rehearsal starts.

I moved up a little higher in the stands, and from here you see the percussionists' drums lighting up, doing a countdown.

These soldiers, who will be in uniforms for the actual ceremonies, prepare to raise the flag of the People's Republic of China. At the end of the evening, the Olympic flag will be raised on an adjacent pole. Because the stadium's enclosed, there's a blower built into each pole, to make the flags billow.

Much of the cermony features a giant scroll. That's what the rolls are at either end of the field. They use a special effect to project pictures onto the floor, making it appear as if the scroll is really scrolling. Pictured below are those small props I saw a couple of weeks ago, but as you see now in the second picture, they telescope up about two dozen feet in the air.

Below, what looks like a star in the upper left is actually a kite. Watch for it on TV.

A couple shots of the large lantern that rises up from the floor of the stadium. Watch for the performers on its sides, and the aerialists suspended from the roof of the stadium.

The entrance of the Olympic atheletes, who were replaced by volunteers for this rehearsal follows the performance part of the ceremonies.

Be sure not to miss the broadcast on August 8th! I watched another rehearsal on closed circuit TV on Tueday night (8/5), and it's a great show.

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