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Opening Ceremony Details

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Foreign allocations and successful applications will not be confirmed until the end of September - thats according to CoSport - who are the overseas sales agents for the USA, UK, most of Europe and Australia... Exciting days ahead. Then again I've just asked my contacts at BOCOG who reckon they may have a spare hundred or two tickets! HA!

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Careful what you wish for. They did rehearse the Athletes Parade during Athens dress rehearsal. If you think the actual parade is boring, try this: a volunteer carrying the American flag then... nothing for 6 minutes, then the next flag, nothing for 2 minutes and so on.

Oh, so they are timing those segments now. In Atlanta, they just marched in the flag- and placard bearers one after another, just allocating 2+ hours for the real thing. But of course, the final torch hand-offs and lighting sequence were NOT reheared in front of a full audience.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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I thought that the parade of nations in Atlanta was good from the viewers viewing. The runner running up to the ramp and then the emmergence of the greek flag and the parade was very very good and the view for the athletes coming into the stadium must have been fantastic

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Careful what you wish for. They did rehearse the Athletes Parade during Athens dress rehearsal. If you think the actual parade is boring, try this: a volunteer carrying the American flag then... nothing for 6 minutes, then the next flag, nothing for 2 minutes and so on.

OMG, I can't believe that they actually do that.

Edited by mallaka

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OMG, I can't believe that they actually do that.

Yeah. I don't know what that actually accomplished -- other than feel stupid and probably hate the whole sequence.

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I do hate over-rehearsing. I remember the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and the crowd was rehearsed so much on what to do. It ended up coming across as really insincere. Some things just should not be rehearsed.

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Probably 8 in the foreground and 2 in the background? :unsure:

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Yeah. I don't know what that actually accomplished -- other than feel stupid and probably hate the whole sequence.

I think they did that in order to check also the natural lighting as the ceremony proceeded. (Simulate the original conditions...)

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I think they did that in order to check also the natural lighting as the ceremony proceeded. (Simulate the original conditions...)

But for over 2 hours? I mean if they are real professionals -- they should have that down in a few minutes. And you'd be dealing with over 200 outfits and national costumes, so that's very difficult. But hey, if they want to spend a few hours dealing with ghosts, then that's their time and problem. Just do white lights and that'll take care of the Entrance of Athletes. If it were me, I wouldn't evne bother with the Athletes Marching in.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Take a look at this video about the construction of some Beijing venues, linked by Chateau Petrus in the other topic:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=16Y-dLkpfaw&amp...ted&search=

Significant is 8:11-8:15. It obviously shows a (possible? planned?) configuration of the Olympic cauldron at the National Stadium.

What do you think about it? I believe that this is the only way a cauldron can be installed inside the stadium -- unless the organisers want to copy the concepts of Seoul (tall cauldron at the edge of the field) or Torino (cauldron tower outside the stadium). Thus, the Olympic Flame could be lit with all the athletes surrounding it, then soaring up to its final position above the field. And it could be viewed by every member of the audience (unlike the cauldron tower in Torino). It would be a great, innovative idea. I just hope that they don't use such an ugly cup as cauldron. ;)

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Take a look at this video about the construction of some Beijing venues, linked by Chateau Petrus in the other topic:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=16Y-dLkpfaw&amp...ted&search=

Significant is 8:11-8:15. It obviously shows a (possible? planned?) configuration of the Olympic cauldron at the National Stadium.

What do you think about it? I believe that this is the only way a cauldron can be installed inside the stadium -- unless the organisers want to copy the concepts of Seoul (tall cauldron at the edge of the field) or Torino (cauldron tower outside the stadium). Thus, the Olympic Flame could be lit with all the athletes surrounding it, then soaring up to its final position above the field. And it could be viewed by every member of the audience (unlike the cauldron tower in Torino). It would be a great, innovative idea. I just hope that they don't use such an ugly cup as cauldron. ;)

Possibly, but technologically, it seems too usntable and risky. First of all, you need a solid fuel connection/pipeline. How can that be if it is suspended midair?

#2 - the IOC might not approve it.

#3 - Absolutely too risky. Remember, you will have the 9,000 or so athletes, standing underneath, in the infield.

#4 - The roof opening will still be too big for that concept to be feasible.

My guess is that a certain part of the Birds Nest roof (where it is structurally not critical -- perhaps across the way from where the IOC and China's leadership will sit) will be cut open (like a cabinet door -- and open like one) and at that point, a cauldron will rise (kinda like the Nagano contraption).

The split-second glimpse is actually shown a number of times in various parts of the series.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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WTF? That cauldron in the video seems like a giant grail to me :lol: . It reminds me of the ugly cauldron of the Busan 2002 Asiad. Plus, it will be much difficult for the spectators to see the flame. Hope they come with other idea for it.

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Why not have a lantern of some sort as the cauldron?

If it's not a modern abstract design, then it could probably be based on an imperial brazier (which they had in the courtyards of the Forbidden City) design.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Additional creative team info I got from an Olympics opening ceremony e-group (edited down):

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Zhang Jigang will be assisting Zhang Yimou. He was former director of the Song and Dance Troupe of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Political Department.

Chen Weiya (opening ceremony specialist) has accumulated extensive experience from directing the opening ceremony for many major events, including the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2001 World University Games.

Cai Guoqiang (fireworks) will be the chief special effects designer on Zhang Yimou's creative team.

Chen Qigang will be the musical director for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Yu Jianping will lead the technical team for the ceremonies. Yu, president of the Beijing Special Engineering Design Institute, played a role in the launching of the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VI spacecrafts.

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Additional creative team info I got from an Olympics opening ceremony e-group (edited down):

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Zhang Jigang will be assisting Zhang Yimou. He was former director of the Song and Dance Troupe of the Chinese People's Liberation Army General Political Department.

Chen Weiya (opening ceremony specialist) has accumulated extensive experience from directing the opening ceremony for many major events, including the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2001 World University Games.

Cai Guoqiang (fireworks) will be the chief special effects designer on Zhang Yimou's creative team.

Chen Qigang will be the musical director for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Yu Jianping will lead the technical team for the ceremonies. Yu, president of the Beijing Special Engineering Design Institute, played a role in the launching of the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VI spacecrafts.

But who are these people (other than Zhang Yimou)? I mean they aren't known outside of China.

MattyG who posted that in the Yahoo Ceremonies group, also posts here.

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True, they're not well known. And I have to say its abit strange that this is esentially a BOCOG production, we have become used to having the ceremonies created in one of two ways.

Either a contract is given to an individual company (DMP in Atlanta and Salt Lake), or a creative team is set up with a production team giving life to the ideas - DP and JMW in Athens.

But here, I dont think there is a company behind this, just a collaboration of people picked from everywhere.

A different approach, but I guess you can do that when there is such a big country putting on the show.

I had only really heard of Chen Weiya before, only because he did the Beijing Universiade ceremonies in 2001 I think, so I guess he knows what he is doing. It looks like he will be the main director of the Closing Ceremony (I guess how David Atkins was in control of Sydney's closing). And the chief choreographer is in charge of the Paralympics - with both guys also helping out with the opening ceremony.

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True, they're not well known. And I have to say its abit strange that this is esentially a BOCOG production, we have become used to having the ceremonies created in one of two ways.

Either a contract is given to an individual company (DMP in Atlanta and Salt Lake), or a creative team is set up with a production team giving life to the ideas - DP and JMW in Athens.

But here, I dont think there is a company behind this, just a collaboration of people picked from everywhere.

A different approach, but I guess you can do that when there is such a big country putting on the show.

I had only really heard of Chen Weiya before, only because he did the Beijing Universiade ceremonies in 2001 I think, so I guess he knows what he is doing. It looks like he will be the main director of the Closing Ceremony (I guess how David Atkins was in control of Sydney's closing). And the chief choreographer is in charge of the Paralympics - with both guys also helping out with the opening ceremony.

Well, that's exactly the 'complaint' of the Hollywood segment of a bidding consortium that consulted with me. Of course, they were new to the bidding scene (the guy's background was television), and in hindsight, BOCOG was just trying to get as many bidders as they could to make it appear to the int'l Special Events community that the Beijing 'contracts' were such hot items (which in a sense they are). But along thru the process, my contacts were complaining that it appeared that BOCOG was just 'cherry-picking' from foreign entries -- meaning they were totally not interested in picking a Jack Morton or a Don Mischer (and local partners) en toto (w/ both good, bad and mediocre ideas), but rather just picking those with passable ideas, some track record, and see how they could work under overall Chinese leadership. Notice how they got Ric Birch after Torino (but I believe his many baby for 2008 will be dreaming up the cauldron lighting scheme).

I didn't expect any other way from BOCOG in composing thier Ceremonies Creative teams. Insofar as Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake, Athens and I imagine London (where perhaps Jack Morton would have the inside track), it was easy for them and de rigeur to pick an individual company. Don Mischer Productions is an American company; Jack Morton is an int'l company (and Athens working with the London office); Barcelona and Torino worked with local shops. In essence these companies, being of the same culture, were on the same wavelength as the respective Organizing Committees and could therefore easily convey the OC's vision without much getting lost in translation.

It is the same for China -- except of course, theirs is on a much bigger scale; and I am sure they were veering away from possible criticisms that the 'foreign devils' were already having too much of a hand with the Beijing Games. Notice that almost all the major new sports installations were handed out to foreign design teams. China is a proud country, and obviously, they want the Ceremonies to carry their local imprint -- but they were hedging their bets at the same time, and wanted 'guidance' from some foreign 'devils' experienced in the genre. But of course, they would only play secondary roles.

(I imagine in the field choreography, Doug Jack will also be invovled with Beijing. Altho there are only so many outsize choreogrpahic movements one can conceive, I think it is Jack's experience (I believe w/ Beijing, he will have done some 10 (Singapore 25th anniversary in 1990, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake, Manchester '02, Athens, Torino, (Doha?), or 4 SuperBowl half-time shows) of these int'l Ceremonies spectaculars already) in putting together en masse groups of dancers (and without the Communist look of things which the Chinese could very well manage on their own), that will be reason alonento add Beijing 2008 to his resume.)

So, understandably, the Chinese will want to helm their show and afterwards brag that it was 'their' show all along -- although of course, honed to what are considered 'international' standards of these types of spectacles.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Yeah, I do agree with you on that.

Perhaps the management of the Lillehammer ceremonies is an interested one to be studied, I know that there was a kind of company behind them, but it was uber Norwegian in terms of the way that they were put together.

Nagano? not entirely sure about that one. We know the people who put it together, but was that produced inhouse? I guess it wasnt exactly the most complex ceremony in recent history, but I would be interested to know if there was anyone behind that.

I still think Beijing would have done well to follow the Athens model of an entirely Chinese creative circle (with those 5 names that have been mentionede above), but brought on board an independent major events company.

In saying that, I guess China does often put on these large scale events, maybe they are just that good at them.

However, interesting that when it came to the Chinese organising their Special Olympics ceremonies, they selected Don Mischer productions.

4get SS, I imagine Yves Pepin will be a specialist in the multimedia aspects of the ceremonies of Beijing, and Ric Birch provides the expertise in Olympic Stadium theatre - even though perhaps his ideas maybe becoming abit too stale. However I would still bet on him to be able to come up with the *big money shot* idea. So that cauldron lighting sequence could be right up his alley.

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1. Nagano? not entirely sure about that one. We know the people who put it together, but was that produced inhouse? I guess it wasnt exactly the most complex ceremony in recent history, but I would be interested to know if there was anyone behind that.

2. However, interesting that when it came to the Chinese organising their Special Olympics ceremonies, they selected Don Mischer productions.

1. Wasn't Nagano helmed by a renowned Japanese stage director? And I think he had a big production company (like a Toho Studios team -- which also is experienced in big Japanese stage spectacles) behind him.

2. Special Olympics vs. Paralympics? Maybe Mischer was picked because of his local partner? Those pairings play a crucial role in who gets what.

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