August 11, 2008
After all the drama leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Tibetan demonstrations, the censorship, and the bogus tickets, it seems some news organizations couldn't let the amazing opening ceremonies themselves pass without trying to stir up a little more drama. The show went off without a hitch on Friday night, but some are complaining now that one particularly impressive portion of the evening's entertainment, the firework footsteps walking toward the stadium, was digitally faked.
The sequence was deemed to have been "prohibitive to have tried to film it live," and so the 55-seconds of the footsteps spanning the city were done digitally. In the American broadcast, NBC did indeed indicate that particular sequence was done digitally, but other broadcasters worldwide apparently did not, leading to the controversy. So, good on NBC for that, but it too is being called out for some digital hijinx, which consisted of re-arranging the sequence of the parade of nations and omitting some entirely.
Both of these supposed controversies seem a bit silly. Given all the pressure and fears leading up to the games, glad things went off without a hitch.