Monday, August 18, 2008

Where There's Smoke (and Mirrors) There's Fireworks

Virtualpolitik pal David Folkenflik reported for NPR about the computer graphics used in seemingly "live" Olympics coverage of the spectacles in the opening ceremony in Live From Beijing: Computer-Enhanced Fireworks. Although the digital effects artists who had worked on the footage for almost a year included elements of cinéma vérité such as camera shake in a faux helicopter shot, my husband Mel Horan, a twenty-year veteran of the themed entertainment business, wasn't fooled for a second. He instantly noticed the tell-tale lack of smoke that is the usual calling card of pyrotechnic displays.

The parent company of Olympics broadcaster NBC, General Electric boasts of its sponsorship of the games and its role providing everything from engineering help with transportation and lighting for the facilities to high-tech medical equipment for the athletes. During the swimming events at the Water Cube the corporation also touts its digital effects technologies that show the country represented by swimmers in each lane and the world record mark to beat with more obvious forms of augmented reality.

Thanks to Vivian Folkenflik for the link.

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