Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visual Effects Used For Beijing Olympics

I was awed and stunned by the spectacular grandeur of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony.

There was this sequence where there was a relay of fireworks in the city outside the Bird’s Nest Stadium. I thought they were real. In actual fact, they were indeed real. But on TV, it was actually done by visual effects.

I bet I wasn’t the only one who had been fooled into thinking the footage was real. Millions of viewers worldwide thought it was real too. It was so flawlessly done, no one would have thought it was actually done by computer generated visual effects.


And the pretty girl, Lin Miaoke, who sang at the ceremony was actually lip-synching. She appeared on stage in the stadium instead of the actual girl, Yang Peiyi, who sang the song because she was much prettier.

Yaloh. Every detail must be perfect. Can't let a plain-looking girl with a missing tooth spoil the show, can they?

TODAY, Tuesday, 12th August, 2008
BEIJING — As the Olympics opening ceremony last Friday got underway with a dramatic, drummed countdown, viewers watching at home and on giant screens inside the Bird's Nest National Stadium watched as a series of giant footprints, outlined in fireworks, processed gloriously above Beijing from Tiananmen Square.
What they did not realise was that what they were watching was in fact computer graphics, meticulously created over a period of months and inserted into the coverage electronically at exactly the right moment.
The fireworks were there for real, outside the stadium. But those responsible for filming the extravaganza decided in advance it would be impossible to capture all 29 footprints from the air.
As a result, only the last, visible from the camera stands inside the Bird's Nest was captured on film.
The trick was revealed in a local Chinese newspaper, the Beijing Times, at the weekend.
Mr Gao Xiaolong, head of the visual effects team for the ceremony, said it had taken almost a year to create the 55-second sequence. Meticulous efforts were made to ensure the sequence was as unnoticeable as possible — they sought advice from the Beijing meteorological office as to how to recreate the hazy effects of Beijing's smog at night, and inserted a slight camera shake effect to simulate the idea that it was filmed from a helicopter.
"Seeing how it worked out, it was still a bit too bright compared to the actual fireworks," he said. "But most of the audience thought it was filmed live — so that was mission accomplished."
One adviser to the Beijing Olympic Committee defended the decision to use make-believe to impress the viewer. "It would have been prohibitive to have tried to film it live," he said. "We could not put the helicopter pilot at risk by making him try to follow the firework route."


Blogger Fantasy "Sticky" Flier said...

I wonder if they could now do the illusion of the disappearing haze....

Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 3:15:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Lunch is Served! said...

well... it really depends on what you want. As long as the tv show was good (which, in my opinion, it was), I'm happy. Even if they cheated, it's their party mah.

Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 8:57:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Fantasy Flier: For the opening ceremony fireworks segment, they did "re-create" the slightly hazy conditions of Bejing's night sky using visual effects :p

to LIS: You're right. It was absolutely a visual feast. So nevemind the visual effects which nobody detected :p

Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Happysurfer said...

There was a hue and cry about the CG fireworks but during the broadcast, it was announced. Whatever, it was an awesome spectacle. Are some quarters jealous that China pulled it off so well? hmm...

Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 3:07:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To HS: Maybe the producers should have kept quiet about using visual effects to fool the TV audience :p

Friday, August 15, 2008 at 4:12:00 PM GMT+8  

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