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New York Times's London correspondent, Sarah Lyall, returns home and writes a nice article on London, the UK and the US and mention the London2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

"Ta-Ta, London. Hello, Awesome."

http://t.co/d2lfiQkVo0

Nice article (shame she mentioned Loyd Grossman though).

Athens? Is that somewhere near Atlanta?

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  • 4 weeks later...

From the Coordination Commissions final report:

Some athletes found the 9 p.m. start for the Opening
Ceremony too late and many would make a strong case
for being seated in the Stadium from the start rather
than joining the Ceremony only in time for the parade,
future OCOGs should consider this in the future.

LOCOG’s strategy was to recruit the best British artistic

and creative talent, who had never worked on the Games
before, and surround them with a highly experienced
production team who had. Hiring renowned talent,
such as the Oscar-winning film directors Danny Boyle
and Stephen Daldry, brought a fresh perspective to
the creative elements of the shows. It guaranteed that
there would be a true British feel to the ceremonies.
It also brought a sense of reassurance to the public
and stakeholders alike.

The iconic Cauldron design (by Thomas Heatherwick)

aimed to bring the Olympic flame as close as possible
to athletes. Indeed it was symbolically built by the
teams as they paraded into the Stadium, and after the
Games was dismantled and individual “petal” burners
distributed to NOCs (and NP Cs) around the world.
The trade-off for the cauldron’s modest size, environmental
sustainability and proximity to athletes in the
main stadium was that it was not visible from all areas
of the Olympic Park or beyond, therefore not allowing
all spectators and visitors to take photos.

RECOMMENDATIONS

–– The cauldron should be placed in a way that allows most visitors and
fans to take photos.
–– Future OCOGs to optimise the experience of athletes at the Opening
Ceremony in consultation with the Athletes’ Commission.
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From the Coordination Commissions final report:

Hiring renowned talent,
such as the Oscar-winning film directors Danny Boyle
and Stephen Daldry, brought a fresh perspective to
the creative elements of the shows. It guaranteed that
there would be a true British feel to the ceremonies.
It also brought a sense of reassurance to the public
and stakeholders alike.

Hmmmmm. But not the best result. LOCOG making excuses for untried talents like Boyle who, I think, only delivered 50-50. A Ric Birch or Jack Morton I think would've really delivered a better show. LOCOG didn't learn from Athens that you don't use the OGs to experiment with "new" talent.

As for seating 9,500 bodies, that alone will TAKE FOREVER.* And you won't have that sea of color on the infield PLUS when the artistic parts are done...what's going to be in the infield? *Or just seat them there already -- and just march in the flags and a placard-bearer. That should do it.

Cauldron was fine by me -- what it was; where it was. Hope nobody tries to copy the idea.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Hmmmmm. But not the best result. LOCOG making excuses for untried talents like Boyle who, I think, only delivered 50-50. A Ric Birch or Jack Morton I think would've really delivered a better show. LOCOG didn't learn from Athens that you don't use the OGs to experiment with "new" talent.

As for seating 9,500 bodies, that alone will TAKE FOREVER.* And you won't have that sea of color on the infield PLUS when the artistic parts are done...what's going to be in the infield? *Or just seat them there already -- and just march in the flags and a placard-bearer. That should do it.

Cauldron was fine by me -- what it was; where it was. Hope nobody tries to copy the idea.

Baron, you must quit acting like Athens' OC was substandard. For MANY posters on these boards it rivaled or eclipsed Beijing. Just because it wasn't to your personal taste certainly does not mean it was a failure. The lion's share of the success can be credited to DP.

The issue with bringing in a creative professional to helm the planning is that it really depends on the abilities and vision of the professional in question. Dmitris Pappaioannou and Zhang Yimou both hit home-runs (in most of our opinions). Danny Boyle pleased the Brits enormously, but didn't seem to earn the international praise that his two predecessors did.

I am glad the commission recommended A.) a visible cauldron (duh!) B.) an earlier start time (though this was always going to be a challenge due to London's northerly location) and C.) athlete presence for more of the ceremonies.

The problem with "C" is that there are so darn many athletes and they take up so much space. I understand Tokyo has promised to accommodate them for the entertainment portion of the OC, but won't this just foster the development of more white elephant giant stadiums whose capacity won't be reached even for athletics sessions, much less non-Olympic events? It's a problem.

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I am glad the commission recommended A.) a visible cauldron (duh!) B.) an earlier start time (though this was always going to be a challenge due to London's northerly location) and C.) athlete presence for more of the ceremonies.

A) Yes, I await Rio's solution to the conflicting priorities with great interest

B) Startling trivia- London is 10 degrees further from the Equator than any other Summer venue since Moscow (including 2016 and 2020)

C) I wonder if Rio will start really early, do the National Anthem and Athletes' Parade first (even before the display of the Rings), and then really go for it with the artistic section.

Oh. So a B followed by a closing parenthesis turns into a smiley. Hey ho.

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I am glad the commission recommended A.) a visible cauldron (duh!) B.) an earlier start time (though this was always going to be a challenge due to London's northerly location) and C.) athlete presence for more of the ceremonies.

A) two cauldron solution might like the one in doha

B) they start late because they want to be dark. i great suggestion is to place the OC in a cover area like Vancouver. TBH, a day OC a bit ****. l

C) this is quite difficult to do. i don't have any ideas for this

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You gotta love people calling for others to open their mind to the facts, then go on to ignore that very advice

London 2012: World's Press Heaps Praise On The Olympic Opening Ceremony

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/28/london-2012-worlds-press-heaps-praise_n_1712665.html

Scroll through for opinions across the globe, good ones and bad ones. What ceremony has ever been perfect. Like Ive said before, if you want a bad review of the London ceremony you come to this website, if you want good ones you look at the rest of the web.

Edited by daveypodmore
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Yesterday was the ceremony for the "Creative Arts Emmy Awards" (i.e. the ones which don't go to stars, with the notable exception of the mighty Bob Newhart). The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony won half an Emmy.
Wooo.

What's mildly interesting is that it half-won (tied with Saturday Night Live- does that mean SNL is half-an-Emmy behind Frasier in the all-time rankings?) the only one for which Danny Boyle himself was a nominee, "Outstanding Art Direction For Variety Or Nonfiction Programming". His co-nominees were designers Mark Tildesley and Suttirat Anne Larlarb. None of them was present at the award ceremony, prompting a laboured quip about Olympic wife Kris Jenner's probably-defunct chat show.

The OC's other nominations were:
Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special (won by the Kennedy Center Honors- also winner of "Outstanding Variety Special", for which the OC was not nominated)

Outstanding Special Class Programs (won by the Tony Awards- also winner of several other awards) The specified nominees for the OC in this category were the NBC producers, i.e. the nomination was for the opening night show as presented on NBC, rather than the OC itself.

Outstanding Picture Editing For Short-Form Segments And Variety Specials (won by The Daily Show, yay)

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special (won by the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show). Although I'm inclined to agree with this verdict, I'd say it was achieved partly by recognising that the stadium spectators hadn't really come to see Beyoncé, and therefore employing tricks (such as the Beijing-style floor animations) which only made their full impact on TV.

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You gotta love people calling for others to open their mind to the facts, then go on to ignore that very advice

London 2012: World's Press Heaps Praise On The Olympic Opening Ceremony

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/28/london-2012-worlds-press-heaps-praise_n_1712665.html

Scroll through for opinions across the globe, good ones and bad ones. What ceremony has ever been perfect. Like Ive said before, if you want a bad review of the London ceremony you come to this website, if you want good ones you look at the rest of the web.

Honestly, man, believe what you want to believe. All I can report is what I heard from literally EVERYONE I talked to about it.

We may disagree on the quality of the ceremony, but your signature is still stunning.

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The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony won half an Emmy.

Wooo.

What's mildly interesting is that it half-won (tied with Saturday Night Live- does that mean SNL is half-an-Emmy behind Frasier in the all-time rankings?) the only one for which Danny Boyle himself was a nominee, "Outstanding Art Direction For Variety Or Nonfiction Programming".

In case anybody's wondering why Danny Boyle wasn't nominated in "Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special"- that was specifically for TV direction (the OC nominees being Hamish Hamilton and NBC's Bucky Gunts).

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In case anybody's wondering why Danny Boyle wasn't nominated in "Outstanding Directing For A Variety Special"- that was specifically for TV direction (the OC nominees being Hamish Hamilton and NBC's Bucky Gunts).

No. I wasn't wondering becuz I don't think he deserved to be in the category -- plus he directed the content of the show...NOT the actual telecast of it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys. Very interesting comments here. I was one of the performers in the Pandemonium segment as one of the workers. I've actually written a book about my experiences at the Olympics and in it I talk in great detail about how the Pandemonium segment came together, describing what we did at every rehearsal (24 in total). I think people who read it will understand better the problems we encountered and why. Very early on it became clear that perfection was never going to be achieved and there was always going to be an element of improvisation and thinking on our feet, even on show night. There were good reasons for this. What you hear on the in ear track is everything we heard. There were no secondary instructions. The drummers, for example, had their own instructions.

I've always thought about what it would be like (and this will never, ever be possible), if you took that entire set as it was presented to us before our performance, inside the Stadium, and then got 1,000 people and told them to clear the set. Never mind the drummers, a lot of whom ended up on the Tor and around the perimeter of the set i.e. within our working space. Never mind the History Parade performers. And never mind the entire final third of the segment when the ring was being forged and the workers were doing choreography. We are just talking about removing the set, which we managed in around 10 minutes. I can guarantee that the ensuing scene would be exponentially more chaotic than what the world saw on the night. Those 1,000 people would then have an idea of why we had 24 rehearsals over 3 months in order to clear that entire set in around 10 minutes!

If you want to find out more about my book, take a look at this link:

http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2498

I am hoping it will be available within the next month or so. Thank you for reading this - I enjoyed reading all of your comments. :-)

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Parts of the opening ceremony with new audio - namely the commands the performers got via their earpiece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TvQUZmX-Mw

Wow. That video was fascinating. By far the most fun I've had watching that segment of the OC. They must have had a whole army of stage managers calling cues (including many voices not heard on that video).

I was shocked that so many things had been left undefined. For example, "Anybody who is available, help clear turf in the middle and do your choreography later." They hadn't determined exactly which group was responsible for which pieces of turf?! That blows my mind.

Another example was, "Everybody doesn't need to use aisle eleven. You can find other ways out." They hadn't determined exactly which group would use which vomitorium?! Really surprising.

I guess that helps explain why this part of the show seemed a bit haphazard and under-choreographed: it was.

Also, I have to say, this is the first I saw of the inflatable yellow submarines. What was Danny Boyle thinking? The Seargeant Peppers were bad enough, but the submarines just seemed totally at odds with the atmosphere of the Industrial Revolution. It's puzzling to me that Boyle would go to such great lengths to create highly detailed, consistent worlds (Green and Pleasant, Pandemonium) and then randomly throw the Beatles into the mix. I really don't get it.

Very cool video though. Thanks a lot for posting.

Sadly, Adrianme doesn't seem to post here anymore - but he was one of the performers in the Pandemonium segment and he could probably tell you how often they rehearsed that segment in fact. It sounded like quite a lot of rehearsals back then, though.

And just because they needed some help clearing the turf in the middle, that doesn't mean necessarily that they hadn't determined which group is responsible for which part of turf. That command rather sounds to me as if something went wrong in the proceedings, maybe the group for the centre turf had unprecedented trouble removing the turf (it got stuck or something). Just like quite many things can go wrong in a rehearsal, it can also go wrong on the "night of the nights".

What's the big deal, anyway? Did we TV viewers or the spectators in the stadium notice? Probably not. I sure didn't - and you yourself seem to have noticed it only now via that video, too. There were so many performers on the stage at that time that you wouldn't have noticed that some had to stop their choreography and help out.

Regarding the Beatles reference in the Pandemonium segment: The Pandemonium segment wasn't about industrialisation only, but about how Great Britain developed from a agricultural country to the industrialised nation we know today. And to that industrialised nation, there belong not only the economical aspects, but also social (hence the suffragettes' march or the Windrush, for example) or cultural (hence the Beatles etc.) aspects. I think that was a great idea actually, even if it wasn't very well-executed (since, especially as TV viewer, one hardly noticed the cultural references which were displayed in the running track area only).

Anyway. What I find nice about those "commanders" is that they are so encouraging - and when the Olympic Rings are finally "welded" together and erupt in fireworks, they say "Look at what you did!". No wonder that (according to the global TV picture) one of the Brunel "look-a-likes" seemed to fight back the tears when he looked towards the rings with his top hat pressed against his heart. That personal and encouraging touch is very much Danny Boyle, according to all what I read from ceremony performers who described him as very chummy and motivating. And that pretty much reconciles me with the flaws in the ceremony. It shows what a humane ceremony it was: Not perfect (as we all are), but charming and pretty authentic.

Olympian, the thing is I did notice. The Pandemonium segment was, as others have described it in this thread, "chaotic." The transition did seem to take a long time and it did not look well-organized. This video just validated my pre-existing view.

When I hear the stage manager saying not once but twice "Any available working men and women help remove turf in the center" it isn't reassuring. There's nothing in the stage manager's directions that would lead one to believe that anything had gone wrong. He was speaking as if it was par for the course. It didn't sound like an unusual request made in an emergency situation. Even if something did go wrong, that is exactly the sort of thing that should have been ironed out in rehearsals. Obviously the removal of turf from the stage was key.

Even if there were some kind of accidental hold up with the turf, that doesn't explain why the stage manager was saying that too many people were exiting up aisle 11. The exits should have been clearly assigned and there shouldn't have been any confusion about who was going where. The fact that the stage manager gave that instruction multiple times just proves that the segment looked disorganized because it was disorganized.

I do agree with your comment about the tone of the stage managers. Both of them were very warm and affirming throughout. I'm sure that tone did translate on the faces of the volunteers and that is a very good thing.

The tricky thing with "Pandemonium" was that some of the stuff they were moving was the real deal- actual living turf for the animals to feed on, and actual corn- and it had rained about half-an-hour earlier. That meant the turf, in particular, was both heavier and slippier. Although each section (or "county") of the performing area had an assigned team, the system was designed to be flexible to cope with such basic physical changes (which would not greatly affect those who only had to shift astroturf).

On the "Aisle eleven" thing; noteworthy that that was right at the end. It looks as though, faced with a 2km trek back to the performers' centre at Eton Manor, people naturally tried to sneak down the aisle which gave them the shortest walk, instead of using the proper one for their position in the stadium. Naughty, but understandable, and not interfering with the actual performance (for which they do seem to have had fairly strict routes).

@Athensfan: "The transition did seem to take a long time"

In perceptual terms, I guess so if you weren't carried along by the music and the unexpected appearances of smokestacks, Suffragettes etc., but in absolute terms, it was about ten minutes (remember, everybody stood still for a whole minute of the quarter-hour performance, and just before the Rings joined, some of the machines which had been installed and set in motion were actually removed again).

@Athensfan: "They must have had a whole army of stage managers calling cues (including many voices not heard on that video). "

My understanding is that there were five radio instruction channels, so quite a small army. You can tell from the video that this channel was giving instructions to all the Working Men and Women (with specialists such as Forgers and Smelters) in "Pandemonium", but there would be separate channels for musicians etc.

I love that 'Look what you did!' bit too

I was welling up watching, I cant imagine how amazing that felt after actually being part of it.

That was a lovely post Olympian2004, I couldn't have put it half as well as your description.

Still think it was an alright ceremony, certainly would have run the Mr Bean gag a little longer.

Perhaps after the Chariots of Fire bit and the new Mini pops out. We have a disgruntled Mr Bean in his iconic Mini beeping at the back. Annoyed at how the family just parks on the road and such. We see the inside of the vehicle and Mr Beans reactions, claiming he's gotta return his rental suit. Then he speeds off, only to drive erratically heading towards cast members, volunteers, support staff etc, one of which lands on the windshield and asks for an autograph. Along the way it could have easily bumped that sky blue three wheeled car out of the way too.

Just another way to add to this comedic segment, whilst transitioning to the next.

Hi guys. Very interesting comments here. I was one of the performers in the Pandemonium segment as one of the workers. I've actually written a book about my experiences at the Olympics and in it I talk in great detail about how the Pandemonium segment came together, describing what we did at every rehearsal (24 in total). I think people who read it will understand better the problems we encountered and why. Very early on it became clear that perfection was never going to be achieved and there was always going to be an element of improvisation and thinking on our feet, even on show night. There were good reasons for this. What you hear on the in ear track is everything we heard. There were no secondary instructions. The drummers, for example, had their own instructions.

I've always thought about what it would be like (and this will never, ever be possible), if you took that entire set as it was presented to us before our performance, inside the Stadium, and then got 1,000 people and told them to clear the set. Never mind the drummers, a lot of whom ended up on the Tor and around the perimeter of the set, and never mind the entire History Parade performers. And never mind the entire final third of the segment when the ring was being forged and the workers were doing choreography. We are just talking about removing the set, which we managed in around 10 minutes. I can guarantee that the ensuing scene would be exponentially more chaotic than what the world saw on the night. Those 1,000 people would then have an idea of why we had 24 rehearsals over 3 months in order to clear that entire set in around 10 minutes!

If you want to find out more about my book, take a look at this link:

http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2498

I am hoping it will be available within the next month or so. Thank you for reading this - I enjoyed reading all of your comments. :-)

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Hi guys. Very interesting comments here. I was one of the performers in the Pandemonium segment as one of the workers. I've actually written a book about my experiences at the Olympics and in it I talk in great detail about how the Pandemonium segment came together, describing what we did at every rehearsal (24 in total). I think people who read it will understand better the problems we encountered and why. Very early on it became clear that perfection was never going to be achieved and there was always going to be an element of improvisation and thinking on our feet, even on show night. There were good reasons for this. What you hear on the in ear track is everything we heard. There were no secondary instructions. The drummers, for example, had their own instructions.

I've always thought about what it would be like (and this will never, ever be possible), if you took that entire set as it was presented to us before our performance, inside the Stadium, and then got 1,000 people and told them to clear the set. Never mind the drummers, a lot of whom ended up on the Tor and around the perimeter of the set, and never mind the entire History Parade performers. And never mind the entire final third of the segment when the ring was being forged and the workers were doing choreography. We are just talking about removing the set, which we managed in around 10 minutes. I can guarantee that the ensuing scene would be exponentially more chaotic than what the world saw on the night. Those 1,000 people would then have an idea of why we had 24 rehearsals over 3 months in order to clear that entire set in around 10 minutes!

If you want to find out more about my book, take a look at this link:

http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2498

I am hoping it will be available within the next month or so. Thank you for reading this - I enjoyed reading all of your comments. :-)

it's out of stock

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it's out of stock

Sold out nearly 3 months before publication date- now that's what I call a best-seller!

Seriously though, I hope nadster's estimate "I am hoping it will be available within the next month or so" is correct. The publication date given on http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2498 (02/01/2014) is crazy.

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Hi guys. Very interesting comments here. I was one of the performers in the Pandemonium segment as one of the workers. I've actually written a book about my experiences at the Olympics and in it I talk in great detail about how the Pandemonium segment came together, describing what we did at every rehearsal (24 in total). I think people who read it will understand better the problems we encountered and why. Very early on it became clear that perfection was never going to be achieved and there was always going to be an element of improvisation and thinking on our feet, even on show night. There were good reasons for this. What you hear on the in ear track is everything we heard. There were no secondary instructions. The drummers, for example, had their own instructions.

I've always thought about what it would be like (and this will never, ever be possible), if you took that entire set as it was presented to us before our performance, inside the Stadium, and then got 1,000 people and told them to clear the set. Never mind the drummers, a lot of whom ended up on the Tor and around the perimeter of the set, and never mind the entire History Parade performers. And never mind the entire final third of the segment when the ring was being forged and the workers were doing choreography. We are just talking about removing the set, which we managed in around 10 minutes. I can guarantee that the ensuing scene would be exponentially more chaotic than what the world saw on the night. Those 1,000 people would then have an idea of why we had 24 rehearsals over 3 months in order to clear that entire set in around 10 minutes!

If you want to find out more about my book, take a look at this link:

http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2498

I am hoping it will be available within the next month or so. Thank you for reading this - I enjoyed reading all of your comments. :-)

Hi, nadster.

Congrats on having the opportunity to participate in such an incredible experience.

I want to clarify, that my objections not just to Pandemonium but to the whole OC had to do with the overall conceptualization -- not the performers per se. There was a phenomenal amount of "stuff" to move and it was bound to take an incredible amount of time and (short of 48 rehearsals) was probably always going to look a bit unkempt and haphazard. This is more a problem with the overarching CONCEPT rather than the performers. In my opinion, t would have been better to devise a totally different way of telling the story that was more feasible, less messy and less time-consuming. That's just my personal feeling.

That said, the Green and Pleasant set was quite lovely on its own. I wish they'd showed more of it on tv.

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He's put out all the pre- announcements; but in reality it's not available yet.

The link also confirms "02/01/2014" as being the availability date.

Indeed it does, but just think about that particular date. It's a British publisher, so we're looking at 2 January, which is both too late for Christmas and too early for the late-winter niche-publishing slot. Utterly crazy.

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