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Even Better than Team Fortress 2
July 7, 2012 10:34 AM   Subscribe

The BBC's new Olympics 2012 ad (full 2m40s version; SLYT) is a CGI masterpiece for the video gamer era. (best viewed with YouTube HD resolution settings on)

I'm not even going to link to the predictably idiotic Daily Mail criticism of this ad.
posted by Bwithh (74 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh, and the music is the specially commissioned "First Steps" by Elbow. Available for digital download (presumably free, possibly internationally free) from the BBC on July 27
posted by Bwithh at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2012


(presumably free, possibly internationally free)
or for purchase, but with all proceeds going to charity, it seems. fair enough
posted by Bwithh at 10:43 AM on July 7, 2012


The commercial is definitely well animated and has high production values, but it seems like a shame that they're advertising something that is supposed to show the potential of raw human ability using something so synthetic.
posted by cornmander at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2012 [16 favorites]


These Olympics are going to be a disaster, aren't they?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was slightly, mildly, temporarily squicked by the juxtaposed shots of the gymnast traveling to the left and the javelin traveling to the right. No big deal but I would have separated those elements somehow.

I'm not even going to link to the predictably idiotic Daily Mail criticism [...]

This could be appended to every FPP. Let's just not link to the Daily Mail on general principle, and only bring it up when someone does.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The last Team Fortress video was funnier.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Usain Bolt is going to break a world record. That doesn't sound like a disaster to me.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2012


ENTIRE TEAM IS BABIES
posted by exlotuseater at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2012 [7 favorites]



Usain Bolt is going to break a world record. That doesn't sound like a disaster to me.


Clearly, you are unfamiliar with the Speed Force.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2012


I have had a really bad feeling about this Olympics. Not letting spectators in wearing off-brand clothing or bringing their own drinks. Missile emplacements on top of apartment buildings.

It's like the Olympics as imagined by Terry Gilliam and it frightens and horrifies me.
posted by absalom at 10:56 AM on July 7, 2012 [22 favorites]


These Olympics are going to be a disaster, aren't they?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:49 AM on July 7 [+] [!]


well, if we all keep our expectations super low, there's no way we can be disappointed then.

anyway, I think this ad is a cunning ploy to shake jaded gamer generation Brits out of their apathetic stupor, probably not targeting the aging punk generation so much
posted by Bwithh at 10:59 AM on July 7, 2012


Am I the only young jaded gamer generation person that killed the video a little before a minute in? It was clearly modeled after the introductory cinematic that plays before the menu, the cinematic that gives you zero plot information and fails to reflect the atmosphere of the game as it is played, you know, the cinematic you pound the buttons to skip.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:04 AM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Golly, that new SimCity keeps looking better and better.
posted by cvp at 11:06 AM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was expecting more more surface-to-air missiles.
posted by oulipian at 11:06 AM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


How tempted would you have been to sneak in the TF Scout as one of the boxers?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:06 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only (non-young jaded gamer generation person) to find herself digging her heels in there at the rim of the Uncanny Valley? Man, I have watched decades of improving game animation over the spouse's shoulder and have never had such a visceral reaction. I did watch the whole thing, but it was a challenge for me. It's something about the darting, jerky, insectoid movements. Ugh. Not a fan.
posted by miss patrish at 11:11 AM on July 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


How tempted would you have been to sneak in the TF Scout as one of the boxers?

I was just going to comment on the Heavy winning a spot on the weightlifting team.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:13 AM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Not letting spectators in wearing off-brand clothing
off-brand clothing is fine, its clothing with promotional messages/ highly visible branding they're restricting (I agree this is over the top and the Olympics organization demands too much power)
posted by Bwithh at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed that. But then, I am looking forward to the Olympic Games.
posted by Petrot at 11:16 AM on July 7, 2012


"How tempted would you have been to sneak in the TF Scout as one of the boxers?"

I'm a freakin' blur!
posted by exlotuseater at 11:16 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uncanny valley all the way. Disturbingly ugly. No, a thousand times no.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:17 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alright, as much as I'm against (what I've been calling as) Spectacle Sports in general on principle, and as much as I resent the fact that they're essentially closing down huge parts of central and East London (1), I think there's a bit of the British self-deprecation thing going on here. Im not saying the Olympics will necessarily be fine, I'm just saying it won't cause dehabiltating chaos, merely _focussed_ chaos.

As for this video, it's pretty neat actually! Liked it much; nice counterpoint to, say, a Reifenstahl-ian worship of the Greek ideal. (And that's not a snark)
--
[1] - Here's my Olympics nuttery tale; they've actually shortened the terms at some of the University of London's constituent colleges and are about to hand over most of Bloomsbury over to the Olympics folks, libraries and hostels and all. The not-so-subtle message they've been sending students is that they'd best write their dissertations from the comfort of their homes and confer with their supervisors over Skype. Some of the best libraries in the world are about to be shuttered and handed over to a bunch of raving, Kurosawan tribute-collecting overlords. Imagine that.
posted by the cydonian at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2012


Don't get me wrong, love the Olympics, was fortunate to have them in my home town in the summer (Montreal 1976) and in the winter (Vancouver 2010) but this video reeks. This one on the other hand, I've played over and over and over and over.... Different tastes, I s'pose.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


Love the final shot of London encircled by what appear to be the walls of a concentration camp. Oh well, at least the grass is green.
posted by klanawa at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ugh. What seasallrunner said: Apparently the 2012 games are being held in the uncanny valley.
posted by gallois at 11:24 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This one on the other hand, I've played over and over and over and over.... Different tastes, I s'pose.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:21 AM on July 7 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!


That Olypmics 2012 video is extremely good - I came across it before and stopped watching after the opening segment because I thought the font was bizarrely horrible and I didnt enjoy or understand the backwards stuff - was the whole thing going to be like this ? But it gets a lot lot better now that I've watched the whole thing.
posted by Bwithh at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2012


...not the comment thread I was expecting.

The models were all cartoonified, so I'm very surprised people are falling into valleys about it. And the encircling structure at the end was obviously crowded bleachers? I thought it was a well-done animation and the conceit of using the English landscape as the locale of competition was a clever one.

Unfortunately the only events I really care about are the fencing events, and I'm not sure how to get good HD footage of those. =(
posted by kavasa at 11:31 AM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, being the masochist that I am, I watched it through a second time. Everything is fine--pretty scenery, people going about their jobs as the day awakes, nice build-up, the male gymnast stepping up to the rings (limbs just a bit freakish, but hey, I'm with you so far), The Heavy without his giant gun is cool, the runner and then OH MY FREAKING GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT SWIMMER? SHE'S HAVING A SEIZURE! MEDIC . . . oh, wait, no, that's just horrifically done animation. Jibbly. Jibblyjibblyjibbly. And the facial expressions on the female gymnast? DUDE! I thought the facial animation in Fallout was lame. And the attenuated limbs all flailing wildly in mid-air and . . . No.
posted by miss patrish at 11:33 AM on July 7, 2012


kavasa: "The models were all cartoonified, so I'm very surprised people are falling into valleys about it."

I actually thought it was pretty good. The bleachers are badly rendered though. It looks like a wall with spotlights around the rim.
posted by klanawa at 11:35 AM on July 7, 2012


My nephew the animator, who's worked on movies you've heard of and probably seen, was thoroughly unimpressed.
posted by ambient2 at 11:39 AM on July 7, 2012


I'm looking forward to the dive- rowing. I guess they added the 20m dive into a rowing fours as an exhibition event.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:41 AM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


So...wait...That wasn't the trailer for the next Dreamworks cartoon? You know...overcoming your limitations and bravely succeeding against all odds, to a loud John Williams orchestral dirgechorus. That wasn't it?

I guess what I mean is, yeah, it's pretty and all but I don't get what was so a "CGI masterpiece" about it. It's about the same quality of just about every other commercial I see on tv now...And not just the game ads.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:46 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


My nephew the animator, who's worked on movies you've heard of and probably seen, was thoroughly unimpressed.

Well MY NEPHEW thought this was awesome. Of course, that's probably because he's four.

Shit.

Your nephew totally wins.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do we need freakishly exaggerated caricatures of the human physique to promote the games? You could make the point a lot better by filming real humans performing their actual feats of unbelievable athleticism. They're amazing enough as it is, you don't need to make a silly cartoon out of it.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was _really_ expecting the athletes to magically break through the huge concrete walls of their jail — sorry, gaol — through the Magical Power of Sportsmanship and CGI Explosions.
posted by erniepan at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2012


So even in the completely ideal, anything goes world of CGI, summertime England is still glum, rundown, and overcast?

Way to sell the fantasy.
posted by Davenhill at 11:49 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do we need freakishly exaggerated caricatures of the human physique to promote the games?

I wasn't satisfied with all the movements but I thought the shapes of the bodies were pretty accurate representations. Real extraordinary human athletes are often freakishly exaggerated versions of average athletes
posted by Bwithh at 11:54 AM on July 7, 2012


WOW, seawallrunner; I had not seen that. Thank you. Helped wash the other weirdness out of the brain. Think I'll go watch it again just for good measure . . .
posted by miss patrish at 11:57 AM on July 7, 2012


That Muse video was pretty fantastic.

Not something I imagined myself typing.
posted by maryr at 11:57 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where are the cliffs/canyons near London?
posted by desjardins at 12:06 PM on July 7, 2012


I can't help feeling that after the (absolutely fascinating) wretched excess of the Beijing Opening Ceremonies, the UK is probably going for a little more human scale on this one, even if they are Homo-CGIpiens in the video. I liked that the woman who mounted the start platform for the swim competition has a skint knee, and the look on the face of the boxer who takes the right upper-cut was mashed potatoes, just like IRL.

I thought the light booms in the backgrounds were supposed to correlate with the light booms around the London Olympic Stadium, and this was an attempt to incorporate all aspects of the UK (Scottish trawlers laying nets in the loch become lane separators in the pool, Lake District/Welsh fells become X-treme bike trials, construction booms become high dive towers, etc).

Or maybe I read too much into it. I tend to romanticize the Olympics anyway.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:11 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


the White Cliffs of Dover near London are famous; some of the video is also apparently set in Scotland
posted by Bwithh at 12:14 PM on July 7, 2012


If this was done in real life, even if a lot of it was special effects, it'd be one of the more epic viral videos you'd ever seen ... but as it stands, the animation renders it meh.
posted by WCityMike at 12:24 PM on July 7, 2012


Love the final shot of London encircled by what appear to be the walls of a concentration camp. Oh well, at least the grass is green.

Those are keep things out. Winter is coming.
posted by Damienmce at 12:24 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Needs moar huminz.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:28 PM on July 7, 2012


I actually thought it was pretty good. The bleachers are badly rendered though. It looks like a wall with spotlights around the rim.

That's pretty much what the stadium looks like in reality.
posted by grahamparks at 12:31 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's pretty much what the stadium looks like in reality.
English Dystopian Tudor
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on July 7, 2012


Needs more dragons.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:07 PM on July 7, 2012


My favourite bit was the IOC official snorting coke off a hooker's breasts as a dancing Coke, Big Mac and Dairy Milk bar dance in the background and bribe money rains down on him. It needed more missiles based on apartment blocks and lanes reserved for IOC officials, though.
posted by alasdair at 1:12 PM on July 7, 2012


An impressive advertisement: The London 2012 Olympic Games | FOXTEL commercial featuring morphing Australian athletes.
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can totally tell this is faked because the sun is shining, the countryside is not flooded and the white athletes are not nearly pasty enough.
posted by srboisvert at 1:16 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we just have Pixar do the Olympics? Do we even need athletes anymore? Computer simulations can decide who wins, heck throw in the random upset to keep people tuned in.
posted by Grumpy old geek at 2:56 PM on July 7, 2012


Needs more Carmageddon, I mean GTA:London. Just imagine all the Routemaster mayhem.
posted by zippy at 3:06 PM on July 7, 2012


I love BMXing around strip mines in the London area but you constantly crash into BBC film crews taping episodes of Doctor Who.
posted by XMLicious at 3:25 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do we need freakishly exaggerated caricatures of the human physique to promote the games?

It's actually not promoting the games as such, it's promoting the BBC's coverage of the games. Which is also why they show the shots of Scotland and Brighton and the cliffs of Dover -- the point isn't "yay Olympics," the point is "even if you can't get anywhere near London, you can still watch all the coverage here with us, so yay BBC."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:28 PM on July 7, 2012


Why do we need freakishly exaggerated caricatures of the human physique to promote the games?

We don't need it, but this animation in no way says that we do any more than say a Pixar film says we need talking toys to bring joy to the world or an Anime says we need intelligent cyborgs to run the future.

This type of animation is not my cup of tea but that doesn't mean it's awful of course. I quite liked the BBC's Beijing Olympics Promotional Animation.
posted by juiceCake at 3:37 PM on July 7, 2012


seawallrunner: "Uncanny valley all the way. Disturbingly ugly. No, a thousand times no."

They clearly weren't going for ultra-realism in the characters. They have little anime faces and are otherwise not-really-human-proportioned. I believe the idea behind that is to make your brain less likely to reject the images, but mine didn't appreciate them that much anyway.

Point being, this is not the state of the art in animating humans. The Final Flight of the Osiris (part of the Animatrix) was released almost a decade ago and had disturbingly excellent animation of the humans. To the point I wasn't (initially) sure if they'd composited real actors into the scene or what.

Also, CGI may kiss my ass. Even though there are better examples, good model work (which isn't done any more, sadly) still looks a lot better than most CGI.
posted by wierdo at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2012


The wretched excess, the rampant corruption, the corporate meddling, the creeping in of 'professional' athletics -- I have begun to loathe the Olympics, no less because apparently there's some need to advertise them now, a need of which I was previously unaware.

I think it may be time to reboot the Olympics somehow into something closer to their ideal, or just stop.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:51 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in my day (1984) it was pure and uncommercialized ... oh.
posted by desjardins at 4:56 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The 2012 Olympics logo blows in more ways than one."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2012


I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one plotzing over this if it was 8-bit.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:18 PM on July 7, 2012


Oh admittedly, the modern Olympics have been a shitshow for decades. It's probably me that has changed, and the idealism of it isn't enough to paper over the poop any more.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:23 PM on July 7, 2012


The CGI in that BBC animation looks amateurish compared to what's currently on offer in the game industry, say the Assassin's Creed Revelations trailer from 2011.

Not sure how it could be called a "masterpiece".
posted by xdvesper at 10:53 PM on July 7, 2012


It's a good job the BBC has money to spare on glossy advertising for the Olympics, no one would know about them otherwise. meanwhile...
posted by devon at 11:10 PM on July 7, 2012


To me it suggests that they're holding the events in the streets, in the quarries, in the docks and down the traintracks because we can't afford to build them a proper stadium.
posted by talitha_kumi at 2:21 AM on July 8, 2012


I can't help feeling that after the (absolutely fascinating) wretched excess of the Beijing Opening Ceremonies, the UK is probably going for a little more human scale on this one

They're already more expensive than the Beijing Olympics.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:33 AM on July 8, 2012


They're already more expensive than the Beijing Olympics.

The weird thing is, even though the Games haven't really been profitable since 1984, each Games still spends more than the last one.
posted by FJT at 6:52 AM on July 8, 2012


They clearly weren't going for ultra-realism in the characters. They have little anime faces and are otherwise not-really-human-proportioned.

Yes and no. It's illustrative of this particular style of CGI where the forms of the characters are obviously unreal and cartoonish, yet the environment and surfaces of the characters and their surroundings are rendered quite realistically. In the case of the characters, this includes pasty white skin and blemishes and moles. It's like if they had cartoons in uncanny valley. It's often more off-putting than the usual uncanny valley stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the opening ceremony. Music provided by Underworld!

I remember Barcelona '92 being the first Games with extravagant opening and closing ceremonies. I think it was during the closing ceremony there, during an enormous fireworks display, the BBC commentator said, in awe, "Magnificent!" whereas the Dutch public television channel's talker almost moaned "So expensive." at pretty much the exact moment of fireworkial crescendo.
posted by LanTao at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember Barcelona '92 being the first Games with extravagant opening and closing ceremonies. I think it was during the closing ceremony there, during an enormous fireworks display, the BBC commentator said, in awe, "Magnificent!" whereas the Dutch public television channel's talker almost moaned "So expensive." at pretty much the exact moment of fireworkial crescendo.

Barcelona did summer and Albertville (in Paris) did winter in 1992, and they were both equally astonishing opening ceremonies at the time. They set the bar very high, and poor Lillehammer tried to do something next that was appropriate and personal and Nordic and got ripped to shreds for it.

However, as long as London doesn't try to incorporate chrome-plated pickup trucks in the opening ceremony, I think they will be OK.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:17 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed to not see any of the 5 Ridiculous Sports You Won't Believe Were Olympic Events.
posted by unliteral at 9:03 PM on July 8, 2012


The weird thing is, even though the Games haven't really been profitable since 1984, each Games still spends more than the last one.

Oh, let's be clear - the games continue to generate TONS of revenue for corporations, media conglomerates, and the IOC. It's just the host cities and their residents that get ever more fucked over.
posted by absalom at 10:11 AM on July 9, 2012


London tower block residents lose bid to challenge Olympic missiles: Judge rules against review of government decision to place high-velocity missiles on flats near Olympic Park
posted by homunculus at 2:05 PM on July 10, 2012


Chip-hungry Olympic workers celebrate freedom from McDonald's monopoly: Staff working on opening and closing ceremonies allowed to eat chips served outside branches of fast food chain
posted by homunculus at 11:05 AM on July 12, 2012


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