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Universal

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  1. Hi All,

    A bit unrelated to the upcoming closing ceremony but relevant to the conversation a few pages ago about the sydney 'glitch'. I have recut the Sydney lighting without the glitch as an attempt to understand the how it may have looked. There are two versions, but both show the 'be careful what you wish for' mantra, it may not work perfectly after all. Anyway interesting all the same. I hope you all enjoy the last hours of sochi.

    Thanks Juso, I liked your recut and the resulting timings of the cauldron's ascent.

    I suspect that on the night the fireworks were given an early launch order, ie the fireworks began launching before the delayed cauldron had reached the top of the stadium tracks. I wonder if there is a technical/theatrical schedule of the cauldron's ascent that someone who actually worked behind the scenes may have posted somewhere since 2000 (?).

    It would be very interesting to hear more about the behind the scenes story from the technicians and directors involved on the night, and hear or read exactly how the planned technical schedule was amended 'on-the-run'. I've heard interviews with Ric Birch, David Atkins but not seen or heard any interviews with other players.

    • Like 1
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  3. Fair enough, I still wish they never separated the mast from the saucer when they made the cauldron fountain, but I guess there was alot of temporary gas hardware to remove and that main burner, while having that elegant tall frame would be alot less efficient to relight on occasional events.

    I agree, a crying shame they beheaded the Cauldron from the pedestal after the Games.

  4. I often wonder and have wanted to recut the sydney lighting sequence with the correct "Te Deum" music, but I have a feeling that the 2nd stage of travel up the stand was accelerated/faster on the real night than planned.

    Universal, can you confirm/deny this?

    Ultimately I think the finish with announcers could not be more perfect, even though I concede when you think about it logically, the music may hav simply ran out. Perhaps it was ric birch's experience and creative sensibility that made make this call on the fly, but either way it was an epic save.

    I also recall someone close to the ceremony explaining there was some concern at the overall gas left in the cauldron saucer was eating into the contigency reserve after becoming stuck, which may have been a reason for an accelerated ascent.

    Not sure if anyone knows any more on this.

    Rich Birch said in an ABC Australia radio interview about a week or so after the OC that the temporary gas bottles within Sydney's cauldron had 35 minutes of gas in them. I recall him saying that, even with the stall, the cauldron was at the top of its pedestal from it's base starting point in 6 to 7 minutes. They had planned for unforeseen stoppages of the Cauldron along its way with this portable gas supply as there was still plenty in reserve so no need to accelerate it.

    I'll try and find the link & post it. I have not seen or read anything anywhere in the last 12 years about the Cauldron being 'accelerated' and I doubt that they would try such a risky move to, even if it were technically possible, to speed up that giant flaming cauldron due to the risks so close to the stadium audience either side of the tracks.

    I agree it was a good save overall and a happy ending to a great Opening Ceremony.

    • Like 1
  5. Apart from the Cauldron, Sydney also had a couple of other glitches, one also involving Olympic Rings, although not as stark as Sochi's rings malfunction.

    Once the huge sheet of material was passed over the athletes heads on the stadium floor, the Olympic Rings were projected on to the material and one of the rings clearly was missing a 'chunk'.

    Another glitch was when one section of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the huge hanging 'Eternity' banner failed to fire when the pyrotechnics ignited the rest of it.

  6. And the moment when that fireworks music had it's final crescendo right when the cauldron dish had connected to its stem on top of the grandstand seemed well timed. I wouldn't have noticed at all that that was actually only designed as fireworks music and that by the original plans, the cauldron should have been connected already during the playing of "Te Deum". I think the fireworks music was even the more fitting musical accompaniment for that moment.

    The planned synchronisation with music of the cauldron's upward journey went out the window once the cauldron stalled at the start of phase 2 being it's journey up the stadium track.

    "Te Deum", as majestic as it was (I loved the music), actually finished just after the Cauldron re-commenced it's journey and it was barely one-eighth up the stadium tracks.

    Once the "Te Deum" music finished, there was a slight pause and then the fireworks symphony began, which should have been when the Cauldron was already at the top of the grandstand.

    The actual fireworks began just before the delayed Cauldron reached the top of the track. But then the fireworks symphony then also finished while the Cauldron was sitting still on top of the silver pedestal for a minute or two and before it was raised.

    The PA announcements pronouncing the end of the Opening Ceremony in French, then English, were done but the Cauldron was still rising on the silver pedestal. TV footage clearly shows this but the slow upward movement on it's silver pedestal may not have been as noticeable by the stadium audience, unless someone had binoculars.

    A final illustration of how far out of sync the Sydney Cauldron now was with the planned sequence was that it was still rising in musical silence on the silver pedestal after the end of these announcements, with fireworks still exploding in the background and final cheers from the audience.

  7. You do know Sydney nearly botched it with the cauldron lighting? The huge disc jammed just above poor old Cathy Freeman's head and she graciously stood there slowly being soaked in her white bodysuit...A good save though, they used the music piece as cover to reprogram the squence and got it going fine when the music finished.

    When the Cauldron had risen up initially in the first sequence, Cathy did not remain under the cascading water but stepped out of the pool and walked to the dry spot at the top of the stairs and turned back toward the Cauldron.

    It was at the start of the 2nd Cauldron sequence that there was indeed a technical glitch caused by a computer switch which malfunctioned, causing the sequence to shut down by giving a false reading. This meant that the Olympic flame was suspended in mid-air for about 3.5 minutes, rather than immediately rising up a water-covered ramp to the top of the stadium. When it was discovered what the problem was, the computer program was overridden and the cauldron continued up the ramp, where it rested on a rising silver pedestal at the end of the 3rd & final sequence.

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  8. Umm, the flame (and cauldron) is supposed to be visible outside the stadium. The fact that they opted to make the stadium indoor prevented this. Rather than making 2 cauldrons, they went with one.

    Is that a requirement in the Olympic Charter or Host City Contract ?

    London's stadium floor cauldron was not visible to anyone outside the stadium unless they were watching it on tv.

  9. Peter brought up a few times the number of empty seats in the stadium. It's too bad these games probably won't have the same level of street atmosphere as Vancouver did.

    The empty seats were for the athletes but it was a band camera angle that gave the impression of a half empty stadium - until the seats were taken up after the athletes parade. The stadium's capacity is only 40,000 so it's on the smaller side.

  10. Okay, my top five glitches of the more recent games.

    5. Bjork's wardrobe malfunction in Torino.

    4. Cathy Freeman left standing under a cold shower when Sydney's cauldron stalled.

    3. Gretsky getting to experience the same feeling when he couldn't get a rise from the cauldron in Vancouver.

    2. The Russkis inability to count rings - first six in the fountain and now four in the ceremony.

    1. Korean barbeque in Seoul! Taste's just like chicken! Yum!

    Wasn't it at Athens 2004 when Bjork's dress unfurling malfunctioned?

    In Sydney, Cathy stepped out from under the streaming water beneath the cauldron above her as planned very quickly after lighting it at water level.

    It was after she was out of the drop zone and after the scheduled pause in the cauldron's journey, now suspended above the pool, that the Cauldron stalled for 3.5 minutes on stage 2 of its journey up the stadium tracks that Cathy eventually was told to go down the stairs and join the other Final torchbearers that a jacket was put around her by one of the girls.

  11. From skynews.com.au:

    "Five stars on cables drifted together above the stadium, and four of them turned into Olympic rings - but the fifth did not unfurled and they all failed to erupt into white flames as planned, marring what's traditionally a key moment in the ceremony."

    According to this story, the 5 rings were meant to ignite into white flames once they transformed from snow flakes

  12. When the final torch bearers pair finally emerged outside, and as they ran 100 metres or so over to the Cauldron base, it was like they stepped on to the moon, or somewhere which had closed for the night, desolate, empty and disconnected from the usual surrounding crowds and atmosphere at the ignition podium. The whole setting was picturesque and very pretty lighting even though devoid of people.

    Has anyone heard any reaction from stadium audience bloggers about what they felt about being disconnected from the pivotal moment of the OC?

  13. Just finished watching myself now too. After having read your comment beforehand I saw the lighting, I agree - when you're talking about their walk outside the stadium, but at least that wasn't as long as I feared. On the other hand, I did like just before that as the final were going through the ranks of the performers in the hangars, who were all obviously hyped and happy and proud, It added that human element and spontaneous touch that wasn't much there before in the ceremony, IMO.

    Yes, true. When the final pair finally got there, it was like they stepped on to the moon, or somewhere which had closed for the night, desolate, empty and disconnected from the usual surrounding crowds and atmosphere at the ignition podium.

    Has anyone heard any reaction from stadium audience bloggers about what they felt about being disconnected from the pivotal moment of the OC?

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