Faked Fireworks at Beijing Olympics

Van Mensvoort
August 14th 2008

china fireworks
A local Chinese newspaper, The Beijing Times, revealed some of the staggering fireworks at the opening of the Beijing Olympics were actually not fireworks, but computer graphics. According the the newspaper a 55-second sequence, which included a series of 28 giant footsteps made by fireworks, was created by a visual effects team.

One could argue this was a wise decision: unlike real fireworks visual effects don't pollute the already smoggy Beijing atmosphere any further. However, confusingly the sequence of 28 footprints actually took place in the real ceremony. The organisers decided to fake the sequence because it would not 'be accurately captured' live.

To emulate the shot, the visual effects team even spoke to the Beijing meteorological office to ask them how to recreate the Beijing smog.

See also: China controls the weather for olympics, Photoshop reporters in China.

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wei
Posted 25/08/2008 – 00:17

Agreed. NBC did mention some kind of virtualization technology. No surprising news here. Moving on.

=A=
Posted 16/08/2008 – 22:12

If these fireworks had to be simulated anyway, they should have hired Gandalf the Grey or some naughty hobbits to perform (speaking of giant footsteps): <object width="530" height="429"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hudnsbDbOJY&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hudnsbDbOJY&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="530" height="429"></embed></object>

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
Posted 16/08/2008 – 19:02

It's not a matter of make-believe or media manipulation. The thing here is obviously, that simulated experiences are often more satisfying than "real" experiences. We'd rather see a well simulated CG fireworks show on television, than a bad registration of the original fireworks. But what interests me the most, is the smog part. Was it done by some smog plugin created by a Shanghai based 3D graphics software company? What would've happened if the makers would have left it out? Is there such a thing as a chinese smog policy for computer animated environments? It wouldn't surprise me if the art director of this sequence was put in jail by the chinese government for polluting the sky with virtual smog. These Chinese kan be pretty awkward with these things.

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