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it will be the most boring opening ceremony after atlanta :S

Fly over for a visit. There were some wonderful moments, but also quite a few disorganized looking head-scratchers. It wasn't terrible, but I have yet to speak to anyone on this side of the pond who

I will always see Beijings as a celebration that the Chinese beat their drums to the same beat and Londons a celebration that we each beat our drums to very different beats. Im certainly not trying

There's a duplicate beginning in volshy's link to the Stephen Daldry article; if it freaks out your computer, try clicking here.

The article is quite intriguing on the topic of the relationship between the ceremonies team and the government; thanks volshy (thanks too for the Boyce Telegraph link- I like the puppet Lough Monster idea).

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/\/\ Is that Hamish on crack or what? Seems like the supreme Danny Boyle-a$$licker. Didn't he have his own mind? It's great that they were able to plan the best variety of shots and camera angles way in advance, so what was Boyle blowing his top over having an OBS guy take over at the last minute and obfuscate his "vision"? I thought they had everybody on board from the get-go. (I always liked the storyboard visualizations.)

And of course, if Boyle's team were all like this Hamish guy, I mean literally kissing the ground Boyle walked on, then that would've been no good because it appeared like if you disagreed with Boyle, you would be dismissed -- so it seemed like a total, unquestionable one-man production. It made them forget that basic content of the show, regardless of the most dizzying & dazzling camera angles, still mattered. And no matter how cute they thought the "Frankie & June" segment was from the start, it still really was corny and hackneyed in execution. Whatever cinematic techniques Boyle brought to bear on the Opening would only matter if the basic material at hand was top-notch, which it wasn't always. The Voldemort and Cruella de Ville images (around 6:25-30 of the viedo) in the rough were great, but didn't they take into account that the darkness in the final version, would've washed out the stronger images in the earlier run-through version?

I hope future Ceremonies have less blinded adulation towards the 'visionary' and instead 'pool' all their resources together and bring out a more thoroughly battle-tested show. Anyway, again, as I said, I think LOCOG batted 65% for its Opening Ceremony. Not bad.

The above is IMHO. U don't have 2 agree. ;)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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I respect your opinion but Im all for one man one vision, any other way I think things get watered down. Pick a person and go with their interpretation thats where I stand.

What would you give previous ceremonies as a % just out of interest

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I respect your opinion but Im all for one man one vision, any other way I think things get watered down. Pick a person and go with their interpretation thats where I stand.

What would you give previous ceremonies as a % just out of interest

Thanks for your comments above.

OK, since you asked Davey...and again, Let's take the last 6 Games, and just my own figures in what I think they achieved from what they set out to do:

London Closing* - 90-95%

(London Paralympic Opening - 80%)

RFA World Cup 2010 Opening - 85%

Closing in Johannesburg - 95%

Vancouver Opening - 90%

Vancouver Closing* - 90%

Beijing Opening - 85-90%

Beijing Closing* - 70%

Torino Opening - 65%

Athens Opening - 45%

Athens Closing* - 75%

Salt Lake Opening - 85%

SLC losing - 70% (and Torino's handover was quite impressive - 95%)

(*The incoming hosts' Handover segments should be graded separately. since they were conceived by producers other than those doing the main Closing ceremony. We'll leave that for another day. It is barely 5:00am my time & will go back to bed now.)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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It is weird, and probably as it should be that we all feel differently, but the London closing for me was everything I dreaded the Opening would be, and was very glad it wasn't.

I'd completely swap those scores. For me the Opening was a good 90-95%, the closing 60% and most of that score probably goes to the spice girls.

I did love both the Para ceremonies too.

Im very excited for what Rio will show, Unfortunately I wont be there to experience it.

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Good find illustrado!

@baron-pierreIV: "It's great that they were able to plan the best variety of shots and camera angles way in advance, so what was Boyle blowing his top over having an OBS guy take over at the last minute and obfuscate his "vision"?"

My understanding was that with two separate units covering different parts of the Opening (plus a bunch of 3-D cameras etc.) they sometimes both wanted to place their cameras in the same positions, and OBS was technically in charge.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/18/olympic-opening-ceremony-drama


@baron-pierreIV: "And of course, if Boyle's team were all like this Hamish guy, I mean literally kissing the ground Boyle walked on, then that would've been no good because it appeared like if you disagreed with Boyle, you would be dismissed-- so it seemed like a total, unquestionable one-man production."

From the interviews we've been seeing posted here over the past few days, I'd have to say you're seriously missing the point there. Danny Boyle appears to be a very effective and well-respected leader, taking due notice of what team members contribute, but never losing sight of his ultimate aim. Where did you pick up the bit about possible dismissal for disagreement?


@baron-pierreIV: "And no matter how cute they thought the "Frankie & June" segment was from the start, it still really was corny and hackneyed in execution."

Corny, yes; hackneyed, I'd say not (except in the sense that it featured a 400-year-old plotline). The combination of different elements was unique, and if anything, ahead of its time; what it probably needed was a multi-screen approach with online elements complementing the TV broadcast.


@daveypodmore: "the London closing for me was everything I dreaded the Opening would be"

Seconded. I skimmed through the Closing again a few days ago when commenting on the Rio handover, and the best thing about it was the way they used the Union Flag design for the staging. Most of the performance was, well, hackneyed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was confused about the Independent Olympic Athletes during the opening ceremony:

- three of the athletes were from Curacao, which is a Dutch territory. So why did they not represent the Netherlands? When the Antilles dissolved, Curacao's top athlete Churandy Martina switched to the Netherlands and yet those three did not.

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Personal choice?

Isn't it true that if anybody had the means to train themselves, regardless of their nationality, and qualify for the Olympic Games, they can actually elect to compete as a member of the Independent team?

Edited by runningrings
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Personal choice?

Isn't it true that if anybody had the means to train themselves, regardless of their nationality, and qualify for the Olympic Games, they can actually elect to compete as a member of the Independent team?

The three athletes from Curacao are going to have to become Dutch if they want to compete for world championships though. Example, Liemarvin Bonecavia cannot compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow later this year unless he competes for the Netherlands.

I think we could see Independent athletes again in Rio 2016, depending on the validity of independence referendums in Scotland, Catalonia and New Caledonia in 2014.

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I don't know where else to stick this...but yesterday in the Library, I happened to pick up the July 2012 issue of the U.S. magazine Smithsonian. No surprise that the issue was dedicated to London 2012. There's a very, very excellent lead article which reveals many heretofore unknown background stories of Wenlock and de Coubertin; and of the 1908 and 1948 Games. Must read article for those interested in Olympic history...

OK, found a digital link: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/The-Little-Known-History-of-How-the-Modern-Olympics-Got-Their-Start-160282505.html

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For the Smithsonian piece, try this version of the link


And yes, it is a splendid, even moving article- thanks for the find, Baron.


Incidentally, on the topic of links, I've given up on Google Docs and my "By Strange Conveyance" 2012 London Opening Ceremony notes (yet again revised and expanded) are now being kindly hosted in PastPresented's webspace:
http://www.pastpresented.ukart.com/marksnow

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  • 2 weeks later...

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.

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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.

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