• Kyodo


It may not have been as obvious as Japanese athletes grabbing gold, silver and bronze for their performances at last month’s Rio Olympics, but Japanese companies had their share of time to shine during the event.

Viewers oohed and aahed as images of buildings and apartments projected on the field shrank and expanded while performers jumped on the rooftops during the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, thanks to Panasonic Corp.’s projection mapping technology.

Panasonic, one of 12 companies worldwide granted sponsorship rights by the International Olympic Committee, used 110 projectors for the event at the Maracana Stadium, four times the number used in the 2012 London Olympics. To prevent the performers’ shadows from appearing, it projected the images from four directions, making sure all images fit perfectly together.

The Panasonic team consisted of about 30 experts from Britain, France and Brazil, overseen by Atsushi Yamamoto and Yoshihisa Omaru of the company’s visual systems division.

Staying in Brazil since July, they worked to achieve a performance in which details were fine-tuned every day.

Panasonic also provided 72 large LED screens used at various stadiums. In the track and field stadium, the company offered two 135 sq.-meter screens, which it touted as the “biggest ever” for the Olympics.

For sports, replaying performances on a big screen has become the norm, and viewers want even better quality.

“The Olympics experience will become a legacy within our company, leading to greater trust in our products from business partners and consumers,” said Takumasa Kosugi, Panasonic’s official in charge of the Olympics and Paralympics.

During the event, Japanese companies offered equipment and services, mainly provided by Japanese companies, for thousands of journalists from around the globe.

Canon Inc., the official sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, set up a 250 sq.-meter support center at the Rio Olympics press center, with 63 staff members from across the world to respond to requests from photographers and camera crews in various languages.

It offered 900 state-of-the-art cameras and 1,600 camera lenses for rent. Canon has offered equipment rental services as well as repairs and maintenance services at World Cups for soccer and rugby in the past.

“To take a photo of that moment, that emotional scene, you need good equipment without worrying about trouble,” said Masaaki Nakano, an official at Canon Marketing Japan’s professional services department.

Nissan Motor Corp., which helped sponsor the Rio Organizing Committee, offered about 4,200 vehicles, including SUVs, to transport committee members and athletes during the international event.

Ajinomoto Co., a flavors and food ingredients maker, provided Japanese casual food such as rice, miso soup and natto (fermented beans) for Japanese athletes near the Olympic Village.

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