Changing China

Giant on the move

Does it matter if TV firework ‘footprints’ were a fix?

August 12, 2008

Organisers created a bit of a storm this morning when they revealed that parts of the spectacular firework display at the opening ceremony had been pre-recorded.

See this from Karolos Grohmann’s story on Reuters:

“Some footage had been produced before the opening ceremony to provide theatrical effect,” Beijing Games Executive Vice President Wang Wei told reporters.

Among the sections that were pre-produced were parts of a stunning fireworks display across the city, a series of fireworks “footprints” that led to the Bird’s Nest stadium where the four-hour extravaganza was staged.

A night-time aerial shot traced the consecutive explosions on the ground as they approached the stadium. “There were footprints of fireworks,” Wang said. “Some of them were genuinely produced. Some maybe were used from previously recorded material.”

This news clearly annoyed at least some people, judging by reaction around the Web, but does it really matter if organisers used a few tricks to ensure the TV viewing public would see a perfect show?

Wasn’t there also a suspicion that organisers of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona had a trick up their sleeve to ensure the final lighting of the Olympic cauldron (with the archer, you’ll remember) passed off without a hitch?

In any case, the opening ceremony in Beijing wasn’t even shown live in the United States… 


Absolutely, does it matter at all?
even without the spectacular firework, the show is stunning.

Posted by phoebe | Report as abusive

NBC really sucks!!! In US, we could not watch the Beijing opening ceremony LIVE because NBC decided to postpone it for 12 long hours, with numerous boring commercials in between the show. It’s so disappointing!!!!

Posted by Alex, Cincinnati, USA | Report as abusive

I agree with phoebe. Even with this revealation, it still doesn’t bother me at all.

Posted by diana | Report as abusive

I’m definitely more disappointed with NBC. The decision to show their “Prime Time” schedule from 8pm to 12:30am is just ridiculous. The two main features of last night’s program, the swimming and men’s gymnastics didn’t even start until 10pm! Therefore the only part of the men’s gymnastics final I saw was some of the Chinese rings performance.

Why not start at 6-7pm so the ‘main events’ can be seen at a reasonable hour like 8 or 9pm?? And the endless amount of commercials is just gross. There are so many commercials I don’t bother staying tuned to NBC. I’ll spend my time playing Scrabble than be subjected to a barrage of ads.

I really hope NBC loses their grip on their Olympics. I will only miss the Olympic theme. But I’ll live without that for more sports coverage at better times.

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

I am pretty sure I remember Matt Lower mentioning during the broadcast that these “footprints” are computer animation. Since they came upfont about it, what is there to be so upset about?


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What is the purpose of an openning ceremony? To announce the start of the games, to HIGH people, I think. So as long as it performed so well and got so many people attracted, I do not think it matters at all. What is more, it was only at the beginning of the ceremony and it was much better than viewing a cloudy night sky before TV for me!

Posted by Shirley | Report as abusive

the 55-second “footprint” firework shown on TV were simulated footage, for the sake of the helicopter pilot’s safety, but in reality, they did fire 29 “footprint” fireworks, tourists and people in Beijing saw the footprint fireworks fired above sky.

the whole thing is real, not fake. lg

Besides, don’t you remember Matt Lauer commented during the broadcast that the footprint footage is just a renidtion.

So, what’s the problem, why all the fuss about nothing?

Let stop making Americans look like a bunch of weak babies!

Posted by wake up people | Report as abusive

Well it’s just another professional sports gimmic. Are there any other countries there besides the USA and Communist Red China ?

I find WWF and Bodog fights more interesting; at least you know your being scammed.

The Olympics will soon be reduced to the level of NASCAR; and they will stop the events for commercial breaks, and to let the stragglers catch up.

Hope NBC lose their shirt again.

Posted by Seafang | Report as abusive

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