Some fireworks were fake on Opening Ceremony


Staff member
BEIJING (AP) - Not all was what it seemed during the spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Beijing organizers confirmed Tuesday that some of the fireworks display featured prerecorded footage.

Fireworks that burst into the shape of 29 gigantic footprints were shown trudging above the Beijing skyline to the National Stadium near the start of the ceremony.

Though the footprint-shaped fireworks were real, some of the footage shown to television viewers around the world and on giant screens inside the "Bird's Nest" stadium featured a computer-generated three-dimensional image.

"It was confirmed that previously recorded footage was provided to the broadcasters for convenience and theatrical effects - as in many other big events," Beijing organizing committee spokesman Wang Wei said. "On the day of the ceremony there were actual footprints of fireworks from the south to the north of the city.

"However, because of the poor visibility of the night, some previously recorded footage may have been used."

The computerized images were produced by Crystal Digital Technology Co. of Beijing.

"We did our best to create a rendering that would look like the shot was taken live," company spokesman Lei Ming told the Beijing Times. "Most people could not tell the difference."

NBC said broadcasters Bob Costas and Matt Lauer told viewers the display was cinematic.

"This is actually almost animation," Lauer said on the air.

The ceremony won rave reviews around the world and was watched by more than 1 billion people.

In the United States on NBC, the ceremony averaged 34.2 million U.S. viewers, making it the biggest American television event since the Super Bowl.



Living on the 0th floor
I didn't see the opening ceremony, but I heard it was really nice. I guess it wouldn't really bother me if I was seeing a prerecording or animation as long as it was similar to what people were seeing live..


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
I had a feeling that some of this was fake, but it was only a gut feeling. But now that they come out and tell that it wasn't all real, it doesn't surprise me one bit. None the less it was still incredible to watch.
The reports I read stated that all the images of the fireworks were digital because the smog made things too hazy. There is also this report about the singing of the Chinese anthem:

But the show's musical designer felt forced to set the record straight. He gave an interview to Beijing radio saying the real singer was a seven-year-old girl who had won a gruelling competition to perform the anthem, a patriotic song called "Hymn to the Motherland".

At the last moment a member of the Chinese politburo who was watching a rehearsal pronounced that the winner, a girl called Yang Peiyi, might have a perfect voice but was unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth.

So, on the night, while a pre-recording of Yang Peiyi singing was played, Lin Miaoke, who has already featured in television advertisements, was seen but not heard.
In the United States on NBC, the ceremony averaged 34.2 million U.S. viewers, making it the biggest American television event since the Super Bowl.

I understand why they did it; I'm not shocked or mad because of it. It still looked great and they put on a fantastic show fireworks or not. =)