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Photographer's Note

Hot from the camera is this photograph of what is possibly the greatest show ever produced on earth.

The opening ceremony of the 15th Asian Games held tonight in Doha, Qatar, was a mind-blowing three-hour long show that surpassed both the Sydney and Athens Olympics opening ceremonies in creativity and technical sophistication.

The organisers won’t say how much it cost, but someone who claimed to be ‘in the know’ told me it was US$160 million – whilst someone else said it was US$190 million. Whatever it was, it was surely the most expensive three-hour show ever produced anywhere in the world.

Some may say Qatar has been extravagant spending that sort of money on one show that will never be repeated, but here in Asia it has put Qatar on the map with a live broadcast of the show to 43 countries. If you didn’t have the chance to see it live, try and watch a repeat – you won’t be disappointed.

Apart from star performers like Jose Carreras, it featured three of Asia’s top singers – Jacky Cheung, Sunidhi Chauhan and Magida El Roumi – and was produced and directed by David Atkins and Ignatius Jones, who produced and directed the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony. They set out to produce something greater than Sydney, and tonight they achieved that.

In the background of this shot you will see the largest LED screen ever constructed. The screen is 157 metres wide and 38 metres high, and is about four times larger than the screens built for the U2 and Rolling Stones concerts. It is made up of over 20,000 LED pixel tubes attached 148 spine units. The steel structure supporting the screen weighs 2,500 tonnes and is anchored by 16 base plates, each weighing 16 tonnes. Each of the pixel tubes expands 7mm between the heat of the day and the cool of the night.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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