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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

LD, u're just going to have 2 wait for the next one in 2062 or whenever, to get this in.

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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.

it's like complaining that water is wet. of course it was chaotic, the segment was called 'pandemonium'. do you want then to remove the turf in an organize manner ala bejing......no!

also the callers are there to let the working men and women know if there are problem that the can fix on the stage of play, like helping clear some turf in the middle of the stage that's not their county.

also if your re-watch the video again. the caller is announcing the jersey country still need clearing up in a assertive manner.

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the segment was called 'pandemonium'. do you want then to remove the turf in an organize manner ala bejing......no!

.

Calling it "Pandemonium" was an excellent ploy to stage a chaotic number, even if there were NO rehearsals at all. After all, it would be in keeping with the theme to have an UNREHEARSED number. :lol: I guess that'll set the bar for future Ceremonies. Never mind rehearsals. Let's call them CHAOS, DISORDER, PANIC, etc., and hopefully, that'll pass for a global show! :wacko:

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Calling it "Pandemonium" was an excellent ploy to stage a chaotic number, even if there were NO rehearsals at all. After all, it would be in keeping with the theme to have an UNREHEARSED number. :lol: I guess that'll set the bar for future Ceremonies. Never mind rehearsals. Let's call them CHAOS, DISORDER, PANIC, etc., and hopefully, that'll pass for a global show! :wacko:

you always know what to say :-S

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it's like complaining that water is wet. of course it was chaotic, the segment was called 'pandemonium'. do you want then to remove the turf in an organize manner ala bejing......no!

also the callers are there to let the working men and women know if there are problem that the can fix on the stage of play, like helping clear some turf in the middle of the stage that's not their county.

also if your re-watch the video again. the caller is announcing the jersey country still need clearing up in a assertive manner.

But here's the thing, the Industrial Revolution was a change -- it wasn't the disintegration of order. Even if "Pandemonium" was the aesthetic, there's artful chaos and then there's just a mess. In my opinion, a lot of this was the latter.

Yes, I did hear the bit about "Jersey" needing to pick up the pace. I'm not sure what your point is there. If anything that reinforces the idea that the segment was insufficiently choreographed and rehearsed -- which is exactly the way it looked.

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@Athensfan: "the Industrial Revolution was a change -- it wasn't the disintegration of order."

No, the Industrial Revolution was a huge number of small changes, implemented separately in different parts of the country without Government control- which was pretty much exactly what we saw in "Pandemonium" (and specifically contrasting with what we saw in Beijing). As I noted yesterday, the need for extra help in some areas would be due to the effect on the live turf (specifically mentioned in the radio requests) of the rain just before the spectacle went live.

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My very first impression was that the tv direction didn't do justice to "Pandemonium". Watching videos like the above made me realise that the tv directors did the best they could and actually managed to create a (sort of) cohesion out of this mess... There is nothing wrong with a spectacle which is conceptualized to be chaotic. But this panoramic view doesn't exactly convey a sense of an "organized chaos" or a "charmingly chaotic" scene.

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My very first impression was that the tv direction didn't do justice to "Pandemonium". Watching videos like the above made me realise that the tv directors did the best they could and actually managed to create a (sort of) cohesion out of this mess... There is nothing wrong with a spectacle which is conceptualized to be chaotic. But this panoramic view doesn't exactly convey a sense of an "organized chaos" or a "charmingly chaotic" scene.

Or maybe Danny Boyle's vision of "ordered chaos" wasn't SUITED to the TV medium. Boyle is a movie-maker (not that I always liked his films anyway)...but there is a difference when you can do post-production editing to shooting a "live" spectacle. And somebody told me it was Seb Coe who pushed for Danny Boyle because Coe, has an Indian grandparent (or something like that), was so impressed by SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, and told his minions to go after Danny Boyle. And that's where it all started to go wrong...

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@Athensfan: "the Industrial Revolution was a change -- it wasn't the disintegration of order."

No, the Industrial Revolution was a huge number of small changes, implemented separately in different parts of the country without Government control- which was pretty much exactly what we saw in "Pandemonium" (and specifically contrasting with what we saw in Beijing). As I noted yesterday, the need for extra help in some areas would be due to the effect on the live turf (specifically mentioned in the radio requests) of the rain just before the spectacle went live.

I'm not writing a historical dissertation, I'm talking about theatrical choices. There was confusion over who was removing which pieces of turf and the performers didn't even know which exits to use. You can pretend this is a historically faithful artistic choice, but the truth is that it was simply under-choreographed and under-rehearsed -- which is why it looked sloppy. You can argue "Sloppy is good! That's what we were going for!" But it doesn't impress me at all.

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I' You can argue "Sloppy is good! That's what we were going for!" But it doesn't impress me at all.

And it's NO EXCUSE...especially if you are charging $3,000/ticket. You owe these buyers a UNIQUE, well-crafted show that they came expecting to see. @JMarkSnow -- be glad no one demanded their ducats back!

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@Athensfan: There was confusion over who was removing which pieces of turf and the performers didn't even know which exits to use.

Please stop knocking down straw men. As I have explained, neither of the above statements properly describes the situations seen. And do not ever dare to use any base trick like the following again:
@Athensfan: You can argue "Sloppy is good! That's what we were going for!"
I have never described the performance as "sloppy", and never would. In case you hadn't noticed, the radio team have very little to do throughout this whole section, and spend most of the time silent. That is because everything was thoroughly rehearsed, and because there was enough leeway allowed for changing circumstances like rain.

Which brings me to:
@baron-pierreIV: @JMarkSnow -- be glad no one demanded their ducats back!

Don't you get it? The reason why none of the stadium audience demanded their money back was because, judging from published accounts, they had, almost without exception, one of the best nights of their lives!

You are, however, at least partly right in your earlier statement:
@baron-pierreIV: ...there is a difference when you can do post-production editing to shooting a "live" spectacle.

There certainly is, as the BBC DVD version clearly illustrates. Yet for many many TV viewers, despite the mistakes, this bold experiment worked. Future presentations on a similar scale may well learn from both the good and the bad in the London Opening, and say goodbye to the old "tableaux vivants" which ended up, in Beijing, emphasising synchronised movement over anything else at all.

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Mark, there were far more than two people on headset giving instruction. The video only recorded two.

You were the one who said the haphazard approach was intentional because the segment was titled "Pandemonium."

I can appreciate your pride in London's Games, but I did feel the OC often looked sloppy and I think the video sheds some light on what contributed to that impression.

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I rewatched the video today and even when fully in the know about the "turf trouble", I as spectator in the stadium wouldn't have noticed the problems on the field at all. There was simply going on so many other things with so many other performers on the field that that slab of turf in the middle of the field wasn't very noticeable. The only embarrassing thing would have been if that piece of turf would have been still there at the time the Olympic Rings joined and "exploded". That wasn't the case, so the stage managers' "crisis management" was very successful and neat.

And referring to what you said about the lack of panic in the stage manager's voice, Athensfan: I think he sounded pretty assertive (and also surprised) but yet as calm as I would expect of a professional stage manager in such a situation. If he had shouted: "Oh my God!!! Get your asses up NOW and take out that piece of turf in the middle of the stage QUICKLY!!!!", he would have created real chaos and disorder because that panic would have transferred to the performers as well.

I agree that the "many performers left through the same aisle" flub gives a certain amateurish impression. But 1) we don't even know whether the exit wasn't rehearsed at all - it could have well been that the performers simply were so relieved and elated after the end of their segment that they didn't care a lot about their original instructions anymore; and 2) that shouldn't diminish the success of the actual performance, since the performers' exit is not really a part of the cultural display. And in the end, the fantastic, atmospheric and haunting soundtrack by Underworld for that very segment made up for all (actual or assumed) flubs in that segment. So for me, the Pandemonium segment remains one of the best ceremonial segments in Olympic history and definitely the best one of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

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And one more thing, adding to what I said about the "turf flub" and the "aisle flub": If you ever performed on a stage in front of even only a few dozen or hundreds of people, you will probably know how nervous you can be as performer. Even if you rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, it can happen that you flub or at least do something differently as originally rehearsed. I sang in a choir of my school for a couple of years and we did two concerts there. Based on that experience, I can tell you that I committed mistakes of which I had actually thought (or hoped) that I had "rehearsed them away". Such things happen, it's only human. And please show me one opening ceremony in the whole wide world where absolutely no mistakes happen.

Even your favourite opening ceremony in Athens had flubs and human weaknesses, even severe ones: Bjork not being lifted above the athletes, one ribbon tearing already before the "modern Summer Olympic history" runner had crossed it, Ioannis Melissanidis almost stumbling about his own feet with the torch in his hand (just because he thought it would be appropriate to dance and cheer and try to milk the attention for him till the last drop), you name it. And I won't forget what happened to a poor female dancer at the "Love Is in the Air/Strictly Ballroom" segment at Sydney's closing ceremony: While she was swung through the air by her partner, one of her feet hit smack-bang against a camera which had gotten "slightly" too close.

Such things happen. Olympic ceremonies would probably be boring if there wasn't a goof once in a while which shows that even if it's a ceremony for the mythical, "divine" Olympic Games, it's actually a purely humane show.

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@

Don't you get it? The reason why none of the stadium audience demanded their money back was because, judging from published accounts, they had, almost without exception, one of the best nights of their lives!

What makes you think I missed it? Of course, when you pay $3000 and under...and pretty much of the same nationality as the host nation, you would be predisposed to have a good time. After all, u paid that much money. But that doesn't make it above an objective judgment of one who is NOT of the nation hosting it, and makes a judgment based on the cumulative experience of seeing all Ceremonies before it, and seeing how this one (and each one) stands in the context of its time...and against the overall development of the genre.

P.S. I am ALWAYS right..not just partly right. ;) U are quite pedantic, responding to every comment on the show, whether good, bad or neutral, as if every comment needed a response. :rolleyes:

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In the end, Baron, EVERY judgment is subjective. There does not exist a purely objective judgment, even not in jurisdiction. Ask 10 people from all walks of life about London's opening ceremony and you could get 10 different opinions. I think that's what we forget time and again on this board. And that's actually what makes such a board so interesting: We will never have a uniform opinion on ceremonies and all the other things involving the Olympics or other topics. Otherwise, Rob could as well close this board.

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Of course mistakes happen. That is not what I'm talking about. An isolated problem (such as Bjork not being elevated or Sydney's or Vancouver's cauldron trouble) does not create an overall impression for an OC. It was London's big picture I found disappointing -- not a small flub here or there.

The overall impression of most of London's OC was a bit helter-skelter. I have no personal concerns over who removed which piece of turf or who used which exit. I am disappointed by the general sloppiness that dogged the show and I think those two particular moments as highlighted in the video offer some insight into what happened throughout.

For those who loved London's OC, good for you. Sincerely. I hope you continue to enjoy it for years to come. I'm simply offering my analysis and opinion.

Incidentally, most people, including myself, had no idea Bjork was supposed to rise in Athens. Sure it would've been more dramatic if she had risen, but it didn't feel like something was "wrong" in the moment. The rest of Athens OC was seamlessly timed and exquisitely staged. I was shocked at how smooth and clean every transition was. The striking of the "Green and Pleasant" set during "Pandemonium" was the antithesis of that for me.

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In the end, Baron, EVERY judgment is subjective. There does not exist a purely objective judgment, even not in jurisdiction. Ask 10 people from all walks of life about London's opening ceremony and you could get 10 different opinions. I think that's what we forget time and again on this board. And that's actually what makes such a board so interesting: We will never have a uniform opinion on ceremonies and all the other things involving the Olympics or other topics. Otherwise, Rob could as well close this board.

Don't you think I know that? Really, I find this post of yours a little unnecessary and a little insulting.

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Of course mistakes happen. That is not what I'm talking about. An isolated problem (such as Bjork not being elevated or Sydney's or Vancouver's cauldron trouble) does not create an overall impression for an OC. It was London's big picture I found disappointing -- not a small flub here or there.

I vividly remember watching the lighting of the cauldron at Sydney 2000 live and not even noticing that anything was wrong. It just felt like a long-winded "moment", that we were supposed to stop and reflect upon. As an Australian too, I don't think anybody in the country that night minded the 2 minute pause... not a bad moment in history to have held onto for a bit longer. It was not until a few days later that it surfaced that there had been a machinery malfunction that delayed the cauldron rising.

I thought Vancouvers malfunction was far, far worse. One of the more awkward moments in Olympic history, I think.

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@Athensfan: " there were far more than two people on headset giving instruction."

No, I told you just a couple of days ago that there were only five radio channels on that system, and it turns out one of those was kept in reserve anyway (and if you think they could have had numerous different controllers sharing channels, try to imagine what would happen if two or more controllers needed to give urgent commands at the same moment).

Lighting & Sound International, Aug-Sep 2012, special supplement "Isles of Wonder"

( http://www.theatrecrafts.com/files/LSI_Isles_of_Wonder.pdf ), page 78 column 3.
"... the ‘Mass Cast’ system - a large, five-channel FM-based IEM system for the massed performers - some 14,500 users in total. Four channels are used for cast, stage managers and choreographers; the fifth channel is a spare."


@Athensfan: "You were the one who said the haphazard approach was intentional"

No, I was the one who said it was meant to appear chaotic. "Haphazard" is a fair, if slightly biased, synonym for "chaotic" (and you missed the "appear" bit), but "sloppy" is not a proper synonym for "chaotic" except in very specific circumstances which did not apply in this case.


@baron-pierreIV: "Of course, when you pay $3000 and under... and pretty much of the same nationality as the host nation, you would be predisposed to have a good time."

That doesn't explain why most international journalists who saw the event live also had a good time, It's most noticeable for America, where many positive newspaper reviews were followed by large numbers of negative comments from readers back home.



@baron-pierreIV: "U are quite pedantic, responding to every comment on the show, whether good, bad or neutral, as if every comment needed a response."

Don't forget that what I am trying to do is learn about the London Opening, both the good aspects and the bad (such as the mess with announcing the names of the final torchbearers, which turned out, on close examination, to be even more complicated than I reported to you the other week: details now incorporated in "By Strange Conveyance"). Exploring the truth behind people's comments on this forum helps me to do that (for example I wouldn't have thought about the spare radio channel if I hadn't been trying to get the truth about those calm instructing voices into Athensfan's skull- if you read that LSI supplement you'll find there was, very properly, a great deal of back-up capacity in key systems).


@Athensfan: "The rest of Athens OC was seamlessly timed and exquisitely staged"

Yes, and I remember it, apart from the lake, as "the Summer OC between Sydney and Beijing".

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