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Olympic fireworks digitally faked.
August 11, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Olympic fireworks digitally faked. Giant, stomping footsteps were created by digital trickery.

The opening to the Bejing Olympics featured a staggering fireworks display, but those watching at home were tricked into thinking what they saw was real. Some of it was actually CGI.

The fakery was unearthed by a local Chinese newspaper, The Beijing Times, which revealed that a 55-second sequence was created by a visual effects team, which included a series of giant footsteps made by fireworks.

Confusingly, this actually took place in the real ceremony, but the organisers felt that the sequence of 28 footprints would not be accurately captured live, so they faked it.
posted by Dave Faris (112 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have lost my faith in you, China!
posted by Mister_A at 12:09 PM on August 11, 2008


So is the world going to end, like, immediately, or do I have time to eat some supper yet?
posted by Wolfdog at 12:09 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Confusingly, this actually took place in the real ceremony, but the organisers felt that the sequence of 28 footprints would not be accurately captured live, so they faked it.

File this under "so what", for me.
posted by jokeefe at 12:10 PM on August 11, 2008


China? Lying?

I'm shocked.

No, actually, I'm not. The whole point of the Bejing Olympics is image projection. Do you think they're going to miss any trick to control that?
posted by eriko at 12:10 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I gotta say, that sequence looked a bit too good to be true when I first saw it live.
posted by reformedjerk at 12:10 PM on August 11, 2008


I don't understand why people are so mad at China for selling war planes to Sudan, when the United States sells fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on Earth.

Oh, wait, this is about fireworks.
posted by plexi at 12:11 PM on August 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'm fairly certain Bob Costas mentioned this during the broadcast. If so, I'm thinking this is a non-story.
posted by nushustu at 12:11 PM on August 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


I could swear that either Costas, Lauer or the other guy mentioned this when I was watching the opening ceremonies on NBC. I could be wrong. Anyone else remember this?

Either way, the whole thing was unbelievable. The whole people-inside-blocks thing was just staggering.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Things On TV Not as They Seem! Film at 11.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wasn't this mentioned during the NBC broadcast? I really think it was. Maybe it wasn't in other countries' broadcasts?

On preview, seconding nushustu...
posted by Perplexity at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


...the organisers felt that the sequence of 28 footprints would not be accurately captured live...

Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the recent pollution story.
posted by DU at 12:13 PM on August 11, 2008


This is a non-issue. Do you see any conspiracy beyond the organizers wanting TV viewers to experience the spectacle as intended?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:13 PM on August 11, 2008


Next they're going to tell us those fight scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon weren't real.
posted by Knappster at 12:14 PM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Interesting that a Chinese paper revealed this. In US journalism, photoshopping and other forms of image manipulation are seriously frowned upon, but they happen -- witness the recent instance of Fox news distorting the faces of two NY Times reporters. Before this principle got pretty firmly established over here, there were some interesting violations -- for example the National Geographic moved two pyramids closer together digitally so the shot would fit better on the cover.
posted by beagle at 12:15 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


By the way, how did David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty vanish? That shit was awesome!
posted by plexi at 12:16 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I only allowed myself to watch the last ten minutes of the opening ceremony--I am easily manipulated; more than ten minutes and I would have ended up a Chinese nationalist--and I came away thinking, "Are fireworks still the best we can do? We invented them a million years ago and they look basically the same as they always did. Why haven't they evolved to be even more spectacular? Why is it still impossible to describe Dürer's bunny on the night, every bunny hair separate, distinct and on fire?" I have to say, this story gives me hope.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:16 PM on August 11, 2008


Olympic spirit digitally faked? Surely some mistake.
posted by specialbrew at 12:16 PM on August 11, 2008


I became suspicious when the 10m Air Pistol was won by Shadow the Hedgehog
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


Do you see any conspiracy beyond the organizers wanting TV viewers to experience the spectacle as intended?

OK, now seriously. They've already proven they are willing to lie about what they did. Why not also lie about why they did it? Is it really that hard to understand that China may not have your quality entertainment as the #1 priority on its list?

Not that I'm saying there is a story here. Just that "well, we called the the guy and he says he didn't do it, it's a frame-up and besides he's a pillar of the community...so case closed!" is no way to run a world.
posted by DU at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2008


This is what the real footprints looked like.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


All of the Olympic competitors will be required to pinch themselves really hard to determine if they a re real.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm just happy to have learned that the athletes must wear special breathing masks while in Beijing! I'm so happy. :P
posted by jeffburdges at 12:19 PM on August 11, 2008


This is worse than those 10 year olds they pass off as 16 on their gymnastics team.
posted by puke & cry at 12:19 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just watched the replay last night. Costas definitely said something like "some part of the ceremony are cinematic, and this part is just cinema".
posted by smackfu at 12:20 PM on August 11, 2008


This was mentioned by one of the commentators while the ceremony was going on...there was no attempt to obfuscate this.
posted by schyler523 at 12:21 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


So long as the guy creating the CGI was not blood doping, I guess I'm OK with it...
posted by ElvisJesus at 12:21 PM on August 11, 2008


There's a better version of this story at MSNBC (ironically). Some choice quotes:
Even those at the city’s new Bird’s Nest National Stadium, where the Olympics are being held, viewed the computer-generated footage from their seats as they watched on the stadium’s giant television screens, said Britain’s Sky News in a story.

Because the only organization in control of all Olympics footage is Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, the feed went out to everyone broadcasting the event, including NBC
That event a billion people all over the world enjoyed watching two days ago? It truly happened, particularly the plustrue parts manufactured by the Ministry.
posted by Nelson at 12:21 PM on August 11, 2008


Also, I'm not sure if you could do that helicopter shot they used with real fireworks.
posted by smackfu at 12:22 PM on August 11, 2008


I hear they use soft lighting and fuzzy-cam on Barbara Walters in an effort to reflect to home-viewers how young and beautiful she still is after 105 years in broadcasting.

But enhancing footage of intricate fireworks display that are notoriously difficult to capture on camera at night??? Outrageous!
posted by jabberjaw at 12:22 PM on August 11, 2008


The UK government (allegedly) considered faking fireworks over London for New Year's Eve 2001 to conceal the fact that the authorities had been too hopelessly disorganised to put together an official show. They didn't want London to look dark and pathetic in the usual line-up of world capitals. The plan foundered on the fact that the millions of people living in London, and all the global media organisations based here, would spot the deliberate mistake.
posted by WPW at 12:24 PM on August 11, 2008


"This is what the real footprints looked like."

Cocks. Giant flaming cocks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:25 PM on August 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Are you kidding? Bob Costas wouldn't SHUT THE FUCK UP during the broadcast. I tuned him out as best I could, so who knows what he said.

Why do broadcasters feel the need to step in and provide incredibly stupid commentary to major cultural performances? Do they just feel uncomfortable sitting there, castrated from commentary?

I have this vision of Bob Costas hosting the broadcast of the movie Casablanca:

Rick: I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.

Ilsa: Yes. I put that dress away. When the Germans march out, I'll wear it again.

Bob: A coy commentary on love in a time of termoil. Rick, moving for the comeback, unsure whether his wounds have healed, tries to move on. Ilsa, not to be outdone, rises to the competition. Stunning, absolutely stunning. Let's hope the Americans can hang on for another run for the gold!

...

Rick: Where I'm going you can't follow. What I've got to do you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now. Here's looking at you, kid!

Ilsa: (eyes welling up with tears)

Bob: A coy commentary on love in a time of termoil. Rick, moving for the comeback, unsure whether his wounds have healed, tries to move on. Ilsa, not to be outdone, rises to the competition. Stunning, absolutely stunning. Let's hope the Americans can hang on for another run for the gold!
posted by Muddler at 12:26 PM on August 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


I can't believe that the fireworks got someone's attention, and not the big fat BSOD in the opening ceremony.
posted by mullingitover at 12:27 PM on August 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


I could swear that either Costas, Lauer or the other guy mentioned this when I was watching the opening ceremonies on NBC. I could be wrong. Anyone else remember this?

Yes. I was about to mention this. I specifically recall the NBC guys mentioning that the footprints in the sky were some combination of real fireworks and cinema effects. It was not a direct "you're gonna see a bunch of cgi" comment. It was more like an allusion to the fact that what you're going to see on the screen isn't entirely real. However they said it, it certainly left it in my mind that there was going to be some sfx trickery involved.

No foul.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:28 PM on August 11, 2008


I'm outraged that the Chinese would so shamelessly manipulate our enjoyment of the Olympics. Really petty nationalism at work there.

In other news, the US swim team just bitch-slapped the French and leads in the overall medal count.

U-S-A!
U-S-A!
U-S-A!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:28 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember thinking 'wow, this looks almost too good to be live' when I was watching it. It looked like something from Planet Earth, but they've got thousands of hours of footage to get the good stuff. To do a steady, in-focus high-def copter shot over exploding fireworks all the way across Beijing in one take on queue? That's a pretty tall order.
posted by jeffkramer at 12:29 PM on August 11, 2008


Despite this I thought it was pretty amazing. I am surprised that the Official 2008 Olympics Song did not get more exposure.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:31 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with the trickery. If you're going to watch something prone to editing, expect to be tricked.
posted by rthgreen at 12:32 PM on August 11, 2008


fireworks digitally faked

Han shot first!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:33 PM on August 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Bob Costas wouldn't SHUT THE FUCK UP during the broadcast.

Well there was the other guy whose comments were all in the vein of "any chinese viewer watching this totally understood that, but I need to explain that to you simpletons".
posted by smackfu at 12:33 PM on August 11, 2008


Dude, I saw the footsteps, and I didn't even know the Opening Ceremonies were happening! And I'm in Boston!

*** turning up the Pink Floyd ***
posted by not_on_display at 12:34 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of all the things China has done this is surely the worst. You have no idea how loudly I am tsk-tsking right now.
posted by lysistrata at 12:35 PM on August 11, 2008


In a related story, Jesus has claimed the footprints were his, and he wearily explained that even though he always walks beside us, there was only one set because he was carrying someone. Again.
posted by optovox at 12:41 PM on August 11, 2008 [9 favorites]


This is some serious Criss Angel Mindfreak type shit, right here.
posted by The Straightener at 12:43 PM on August 11, 2008


Reality is not "accurate" enough, we must rely on digital manipulation to show us the TRUTH.


Little known fact: Those weren't fireworks, they were Tibetan monks lighting themselves on fire and exploding. It's a win-win for everyone!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:53 PM on August 11, 2008


If only Spielberg hadn't pulled out, we might have seen a giant CGI dinosaur flying over Beijing as well.
posted by tapeguy at 12:56 PM on August 11, 2008


I heard they tried to get the 50-Foot Michael Jackson Laser-Eyed Robot to stomp through the city, but he was booked in Vegas that night. I guess CGI is second best.
posted by grateful at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2008


Conrad 'Connie' Brean: What's the thing people remember about the Gulf War? A bomb falling down a chimney. Let me tell you something: I was in the building where we filmed that with a 10-inch model made out of Legos.
Stanley Motss: Is that true?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Who the hell's to say?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:04 PM on August 11, 2008


Also, the footprint shapes looked a lot like the shape of a T-Bone steak.
posted by mattbucher at 1:06 PM on August 11, 2008


Wait wait wait. TV lied to me?
posted by dirtdirt at 1:09 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


So did we really land on the moon?
posted by ddaavviidd at 1:11 PM on August 11, 2008


Paging asavage!
posted by grateful at 1:15 PM on August 11, 2008


Are you kidding? Bob Costas wouldn't SHUT THE FUCK UP during the broadcast. I tuned him out as best I could, so who knows what he said.

Why do broadcasters feel the need to step in and provide incredibly stupid commentary to major cultural performances? Do they just feel uncomfortable sitting there, castrated from commentary?


Amen brutha! Bob Costas is the inverse of profound. No one else on TV says so many words while conveying so little useful information as Bob Costas. I won't watch anything he comments on.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:35 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


They clearly said that it was a "cinematic effect" (or something like that) during the NBC broadcast, so I didn't realize anyone thought different.

That's right. Because everyone watched NBC all over the world.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 1:43 PM on August 11, 2008


I like how the US comentary on the female Chinese gymnasts focused pretty much exclusively on their age.

(Though my 2 year old, who was watching, did enthusiastically shout "kids! kids!" whenever they came on.)
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did they digitally fake all the human rights violations too? 'Cause that would be wrong.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:49 PM on August 11, 2008


Fuzzy,

Yeah, but if Bob Costas knew about it in time to cover it as it was happening, then I'm betting it wasn't exactly a secret. Most likely, it was mentioned in press releases. So to post this as OMGFAKE is a little disingenuous, or at the very least uninformed.
posted by nushustu at 1:59 PM on August 11, 2008


The giant sphincter of fire effect was not faked however, thanks to the sponsorship of Preparation H.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:00 PM on August 11, 2008


schyler523 has got it right....they explicitly said it was CG while it was being showed.
posted by gnutron at 2:04 PM on August 11, 2008


Daddy-o:

Have you ever heard John Madden speak? That guy is made out of obvious bullshit. I'm convinced that they only have him doing commentary because he makes everyone listening feel less dumb.

Bob Costas on the other hand usually doesn't sound like he's trying to teach a 2 year-old how to play whatever game he's commenting on. His voice is less annoying than Maddens as well.
posted by schyler523 at 2:08 PM on August 11, 2008


"Amen brutha! Bob Costas is the inverse of profound. No one else on TV says so many words while conveying so little useful information as Bob Costas. I won't watch anything he comments on."

And yet, on his HBO show, and in print interviews, he's really pretty sharp. It's like any time they have him on in the Olympics, his body has been taken over by some sort of similac beast that is hoping to brain-numb viewers into capitulation.

Maybe it's just that he holds regular audiences in such contempt that he can't even manage the energy required to convey it.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on August 11, 2008


Here's what they said:
Lauer: "You're looking at a cinematic device employed by Zhang Yimou here. This is actually almost animation. A footstep a second, 29 in all, to signify the 29 Olympiads."

Costas: "We said earlier that aspects of this Opening Ceremony are almost like cinema in real time. Well this is quite literally cinematic."
posted by Knappster at 2:18 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


SIMILAC BEAST
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 2:19 PM on August 11, 2008


I loved the smiley face fireworks. Please tell me those weren't faked.

Also, I'm starting to think that there should be a corollary to Godwin's Law for conversations involving China that elicit unrelated knee-jerk comments about Tibet. may I humbly suggest "Lama's Law" or perhaps "The Karma Korollary"
posted by captaincrouton at 2:22 PM on August 11, 2008


"Well this is quite literally cinematic."

Aha! Any system that depends on people knowing the proper meaning of "literally" was doomed to confusion.
posted by smackfu at 2:25 PM on August 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


"Cinematic" doesn't scream "computer-generated" to me. When I heard the announcers saying that, I thought they were commenting on how great it looked, and how amazing the fireworks were. Apparently, many of you are hip to all of the subtle euphemisms for digital trickery.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:26 PM on August 11, 2008


Here's what they said. Thanks for that. I remember hearing them say this, but I didn't think what they were really saying was "this live video we're showing you of fireworks is actually not live video, it's a movie". I just thought it was more blathering hyperbole.

I still find this an astonishing example of the blurring between the truth and the plustruth.
posted by Nelson at 2:28 PM on August 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was there (on a rooftop not far from Shichahai) to watch the fireworks and can attest that they happened for real. (At least, lights from the fireworks at/around Yongdingmen and Tian'anmen were visible, as were the fireworks at Shichahai and whatever the northern point was.) Perhaps that is what is inoculating me against the shock and outrage that a helicopter was not actually used to traverse a dozen-odd north-south stretch of land and maintain perfect focus in frankly crappy atmospheric conditions, while flying above a bunch of exploding things, in the space of seconds.
posted by bokane at 2:32 PM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I don't believe the CCTV 5 coverage here said at the time that it was CG - I'm not sure, what with not having been in front of a TV at all - but the story is definitely out on the Chinese-language web, and you would be absolutely staggered by the degree to which nobody cares because it's a non-story.
posted by bokane at 2:33 PM on August 11, 2008


may I humbly suggest "Lama's Law" or perhaps "The Karma Korollary"

Dalai's Dictum
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:14 PM on August 11, 2008


Oh Yeah China? Well I buttraped the pope!
posted by einer at 3:31 PM on August 11, 2008


Fuzzy,

Yeah, but if Bob Costas knew about it in time to cover it as it was happening, then I'm betting it wasn't exactly a secret. Most likely, it was mentioned in press releases. So to post this as OMGFAKE is a little disingenuous, or at the very least uninformed.
posted by nushustu

Totally agree. The story should have said: The fakery was unearthed by a local Chinese newspaper, by reading readily available press kits.

Also: NBC responds to Olympic fakery accusations

It honestly never occurred to me than anyone watching his on NBC would think it was real. Oh well. The whole thing was so unbelievably kickass incredible anyway.

But as far as this story... nothing to see here... move along with your giant, GCI firework feet...
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:31 PM on August 11, 2008


The fakery was unearthed by a local Chinese newspaper, by reading readily available press kits.

So, the fakery was undone by the giant footprints they left behind, creating a clear trail for anyone who wanted to follow?
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:41 PM on August 11, 2008


That's how Watergate came apart. "Follow the giant CGI footprints!"
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:59 PM on August 11, 2008


Everybody in this thread is looking at this from the wrong angle. It's not what we know. It's what we don't know.

If they would waste the resources on faking parts of the fireworks, what else did they CGI that we didn't catch them doing? That, we may never know. Maybe they purposefully were so obvious about CGI in the opening ceremonies, so if they CGI something else better, no one will look for it. This way they can hide in plain sight.

What I don't get is why would they bother? Why waste the time and manpower and energy that was necessary to fake part of the fireworks? Unless there was something else going on.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:25 PM on August 11, 2008


You're on to something. I knew Phelps could actually be that big.
posted by smackfu at 6:35 PM on August 11, 2008


The Beijing Olympics: Are They A Trap?
posted by homunculus at 6:52 PM on August 11, 2008


what, no pyrotechnic boot heels stomping faces?
posted by quonsar at 7:09 PM on August 11, 2008


I loved the smiley face fireworks. Please tell me those weren't faked.

I saw the same smiley face fireworks in Boston on July 4th; then again, you can't really trust them Americans neither, eh?
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 7:10 PM on August 11, 2008


I became suspicious when the 10m Air Pistol was won by Shadow the Hedgehog

Er, don't you mean Sonic the Hedgehog?
posted by gen at 7:22 PM on August 11, 2008


No sir, Shadow. He's like Sonic, only he's Black, and he has a Gun.

No, he was not commercially advisable.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:28 PM on August 11, 2008


?!?!! This is the worst news I've heard since last Christmas when I discovered Santa doesn't exist! Ignorance is bliss, surely.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:12 PM on August 11, 2008


Yeah I heard about this on the way to work today. I guess I'm supposed to feel outrage or something, but I honestly never got the memo that the particular sequence in question was anything but CGI.

Now, if only they were faking Russia's bombing the shit out of Georgia (I hope they spared Atlanta!) then maybe I'd have something stronger to say...
posted by agress at 10:12 PM on August 11, 2008


Man, I spent all day today faking stuff digitally and no one gave me any press coverage.

Oh, right. When I do that for a massively well-funded Hollywood director to cover up his possible cinematic weaknesses and increase the audience's suspension of disbelief, it's just called "work."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:40 PM on August 11, 2008


They made a specific point of saying it was digitally generated. This is a non-story.

What I don't understand is, why couldn't they have just used real fireworks? I mean, they built a giant stadium and had fireworks coming out of the roof and had the world's largest LED display and people running sideways on a giant globe and 1008 perfectly-synchronized Tai Chi masters and 15,000+ participants with special costumes... they had all that shit and couldn't do a few footstep fireworks? Strange.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:45 PM on August 11, 2008


Civil_Disobedient -- No, they really did do the fireworks. What was faked was the helicopter shot, because it was judged ultimately to be an impossible shot to get. The fireworks were real, and totally awesome. The stretch of land they covered (a good dozen kilometers or so) was simply judged not to be coverable by an actual copter shot in the amount of time necessary, in addition to concerns like lousy air quality and the potential for turbulence caused by the blasts.
posted by bokane at 1:39 AM on August 12, 2008


Olympics: Child singer revealed as fake

Olympic organisers admitted today that they are using volunteers to fill swathes of empty seats at competition venues
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:27 AM on August 12, 2008


mullingitover writes "I can't believe that the fireworks got someone's attention, and not the big fat BSOD in the opening ceremony."

It happens so often it isn't news anymore.
posted by Mitheral at 6:12 AM on August 12, 2008


Olympics: Child singer revealed as fake

Saw that this morning, and it really ticked me off. I thought it was obvious the girl was lip-syncing, which didn't really bother me. But for it to be a totally different girl, who is hidden away for her "buck teeth"?! ::sigh::
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:12 AM on August 12, 2008


Olympic organisers admitted today that they are using volunteers to fill swathes of empty seats at competition venues

Wait, people are volunteering to see sporting events? Jesus Christ China, to what levels won't you stoop?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:48 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, I get the point that they are drafting in people to fill empty stadiums because not enough people are buying tickets, but the article is kind of funny to read.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:49 AM on August 12, 2008


Well, they're official olympic volunteers, not just Joe China off the streets. They're wearing the outfits. I think the iffy part was that the China officials said they were just watching the obscure sports because they wanted to rather than as a "fill the seats" move.
posted by smackfu at 8:22 AM on August 12, 2008


Stay classy, Australia.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on August 12, 2008


Not just the fireworks were faked: Olympic Balladeer’s Voice Was Dubbed
posted by inigo2 at 9:35 AM on August 12, 2008


Which I would've seen if I had scrolled up to fearfulsymmetry's comment...Oops.
posted by inigo2 at 9:37 AM on August 12, 2008


I hear the gold medals are made of chocolate and the silver of lead. Don't even want to speculate about the lowly bronze....
posted by gman at 9:47 AM on August 12, 2008


I also heard the commentary about the fake footprints, no outrage their. It's the singing girl who was set aside for a "prettier" model that pissed me off. It was clearly being lip-synced, but I didn't think they would swap in a different little girl.

Sadly, by trying too hard to put their best image forward, they showed an ugliness that really turns me off of their olympic vision.
posted by JBennett at 11:00 AM on August 12, 2008


Gman, the Bronze metals are smelted out of broken dreams, crushed hopes, and torn up endorsement contracts.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:05 AM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm not exactly going to go burn down the NBC building over this, but I do find it distasteful that there were people who want to pretend to be journalists of a sort narrating this in a tone that implies it was real. Personally I'm under no illusion that Costas or Lauer are anything other than entertainers, but they are represented as news sources. While a close parsing of their words as they natter on could just barely be seen as acknowledging the fakery I think that's a pretty slim line.

I suppose if I was going to be honest about it I would have to say I don't find this too much more disgusting than the TODAY show in general, which similarly blends fakery and product shilling with supposed news.
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on August 12, 2008


I knew it was totally CG. I'm glad I saw this post though so I could see that they still did shoot off the fireworks. It explains the final shot of the footprint from inside of the stadium. That youtube video of the footprints shows how awesome it would've been to see those in person... well a small bit of how awesome.

re: swapping girls.

FOR SHAME CHINA FOR SHAME!!!
posted by Phantomx at 3:10 PM on August 12, 2008


The more I think about the fake-singing-girl story, the more it annoys me. I mean, the whole message of the Olympics is "If you have the talent and you do the work, you can attain the highest things." What kind of message is this sending to the present generation of 9-year-olds? "If you have the talent and you do the work, you will still be screwed over for being insufficiently cute."
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:16 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


It was actually only about one thousand and ninety-some-odd drummers but they wanted it to look like a full two thousand and eight so the Chinese government just copypasted a half dozen or so here and there and no one was the wiser.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:36 PM on August 12, 2008


No, they really did do the fireworks

Ah, OK, that makes sense then. I mean, you could see some of the "footprints" when they switched to the camera inside the stadium, so I wasn't quite sure what the technological hurdle was. Thanks for the clarification.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:15 PM on August 13, 2008


The latest from the snake oil salesmen thread. Begin. Waits for no one to show up.
posted by gman at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2008


Olympic organisers admitted today that they are using volunteers to fill swathes of empty seats at competition venues

Is that shocking? We do that in the United States, too- New York City has several seat-filling organziations that offer members tickets to events that need to get some butts in seats. I've been to Broadway openings, sporting events, concerts, plays, musicals.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember being slightly scandalized when I recently listened to a podcast of WNYC's Radio Lab episode about laughter, and learned that they replaced the normal studio audience for a sitcom with a hired one, made up of actors chosen specifically for they're ability to laugh convincingly on cue. But then I remembered trying to watch the sitcom, and remember how unfunny it was, and how a fake audience of paid laughers was the only logical explanation.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2008


Olympic artists angry: The Kung Fu pupils in the opening ceremony of the Olympics have spent the last year cooped up in a military camp outside Beijing. Conditions have been bad. "They weren't even given enough food," says their trainer. This news adds to the criticism of the Beijing Organizing Committee.
posted by homunculus at 3:24 PM on August 15, 2008


China’s iron Olympic grip starts to slip: Internet critics, made bold by their uncensored criticism of the Games’ opening ceremony, are seeking new targets
posted by homunculus at 8:18 PM on August 16, 2008


The footsteps in the sky leading up to the stadium were CGI.

The little girl singing the song was lipsynching, because the actual girl wasn't as pretty.

The other ethnic kids were really not all that diverse.

The kung fu guys were captive for a year in a military installation, so they're really not all that kickass.

Audiences consist of volunteers because they couldn't sell the seats.

Michael Phelps is only a fast swimmer cuz he has a good tailor.

The lady gymnasts are not old enough to drive.

The chinese didn't really invent paper.

...

Is that everything? Did we cover all the bases? Can we declare the Olympics officially unreal now? Or is there still more?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:54 PM on August 18, 2008


Let it go dude.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 PM on August 18, 2008


Is that everything? Did we cover all the bases? Can we declare the Olympics officially unreal now? Or is there still more?

Thanks to China, we have a blueprint for 2012 - virtual athletes and exciting made-up CGI sports
posted by Artw at 12:07 AM on August 19, 2008


Two elderly Chinese women could face a year in a labour camp after repeated attempts to hold a public protest, a close relative has said.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 PM on August 20, 2008


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