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Old August 13th, 2012, 07:12 PM   #1
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Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

I was very pleased and entertained by the imaginative presentations. The video closeups of the performers were well coordinated with the action. The camera crews must have actively worked with the directors and rehearsed with them, becoming an integral part of the show. For the viewers at home, as well as those in the live audience who watched on the many large screens, this was a key to the shows' success. These productions represent a tremendous effort and must have had a couple of years or more of hard work behind them.

There have been some excellent opening and closing ceremonies at past Olympics, but I think these were the best. And they represent the overall greatness of the management of these Olympic Games. Those who have visited Brasil during their annual Carnival celebration can anticipate some wild and crazy things during their ceremonies in 2016.

There were so many good segments, but the highpoint for me, was Eric Idle's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". He looked as spry and agile as ever, at age 69. Of course, the largely British audience knew every word and sang along. At one key point, he delayed singing a couple of seconds, to let the audience take over, as he knew they would. Harry Mountbatten-Windsor was singing and whistling along with the rest and he grew up with these beloved performers like any other English kid. I've got these shows stored on a couple of harddrives and will never, ever erase them.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 03:17 AM   #2
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Re: Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

Harry Mountbatten-Windsor? Oh Prince Harry! In the forces he's known as Captain Windsor. Over here, I've never heard of the Royal Family ever being referred to as Mountbatten-Windsor, just plain old Windsor. How strange.

The Eric Idle part has some history. He was being interviewed a few months ago on the BBC Radio - and the presenter suggested as a joke they should have Always Look on the Bright Side of Life in the Olympic Ceremony, and Eric said he was up for it, but it would never happen - somebody obviously was listening!

The view from here was a bit mixed - nobody was surprised about Brian May popping up, but Ray Davis I think missed the spot a bit - the 60s are probably too long ago for a large part of the audience. Lots of younger people had never heard of him - yet they knew Madness from the 70s. Music is always going to be hit and miss I guess. The best bit was that one of the UK commentators actually praised the Lighting Designer - Patrick Woodroffe. That's a first!
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Old August 14th, 2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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Re: Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

Paul, I consulted Wikipedia and they say that Mountbatten-Windsor has been the family's official name since 1960.

For the last fifty years, half the music to which young people in the U.S. listen, has come from the British Isles. So there would have been a great amount of recognition here, for most of the performers in the ceremonies. Many of our TV shows were adapted from English ones of the same name and theme or we've watched re-run series from there.

They say that Benny Hill was a far bigger star here than there and it all happened after his show series had ended in England. The first big one was David Frost in "That Was The Week That Was", in 1964. It was the most popular show and set a new trend. After a year and a half, it was cancelled by the sponsors, who were too worried about offending prominent politicians, who were being skewered each week on the show. It was a time of national mourning for the loss of our best bit of entertainment.

One funny thing happened when NBC tried to bleep-out a word in Eric Idle's song. The bleep wasn't timed quite right and you could clearly hear the word, if you listened carefully. This network and all others have programs with foul language and themes, that are far, far worse than this, so it was just an exercise in hypocracy. Did you notice that one of the rollerskating nuns pulled up her habit to show that she was wearing Union Jack underdrawers? They didn't blur that one out, as you might have expected.

I remember seeing the first Olympic TV coverage in 1956. It was limited to just an hour each evening. They loaded the film each day onto the fastest plane they had and it got to Los Angeles from Australia in time to edit it and show it the next night, on CBS. I watched Charley Dumas, the first 7-foot high-jumper, win that event and Bobby Morrow from Texas, the "World's Fastest Man", take both sprints.
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Old August 14th, 2012, 08:31 AM   #4
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Re: Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

Oh how refreshing it is to hear from an American who appreciates British irony in humour, (humor?).
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Old August 18th, 2012, 02:25 PM   #5
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Re: Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald View Post
Paul, I consulted Wikipedia and they say that Mountbatten-Windsor has been the family's official name since 1960.
Slightly more complex than that, they are the House of Windsor, but use Mountbatten-Windsor in signatures. In practise everyone calls them the Windsors.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRo.../Overview.aspx

The currently serving princes use Wales as their "surname" on their military fatigues I.D., so a bit more confusion.

The sound seemed a bit variable with some acts in the closing, but I gather there was little rehearsal time. I suspect the Rolling Stones would've been better known through the generations than Ray Davis, who has a lower profile. Although, he has made a few TV appearances since the ceremony, so it's raised his profile.
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Old August 19th, 2012, 11:03 AM   #6
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Re: Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies

I've just spent a month being a commentary manager at one of the venues but hung out with some of the opening camera crew that I knew.

The opening was done by an all british crew as Danny Boyle insisted on it, they rehearsed for around eight days but the athletes procession was done by the french OBS crew and I think they may have also done the closing.

There were 38 cameras on the opening with all sorts of kit including three steadicams and a few go-pro's.

As said the closing was tight for rehearsal and I agree that the sound was a bit patchy at times but hey it's a live event, people think that the coverage is all BBC or the host country but it isn't as it is all co-ordinated by the OBS in Madrid with multi national crews covering all aspects of the games for rights holding broadcasters: http://www.obs.es/
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