Saturday, August 09, 2008

"Casual World? (Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremonies)"

I just got through watching the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics (about three hours worth). They were pretty interesting... with lots of fireworks and cultural scenes, music, etc. And then the athletes were introduced at the stadium. It was the usual deal with them parading out in different uniforms/costumes, and waving to the crowd. I was watching absentmindedly when I noticed that one of the athletes was videotaping the stadium with their left hand while waving with their right! And then there was another - and another! Some countries' athletes looked more like camera crews than athletes! In other groups, there was not a camera to be seen. And... what's this? A cell phone! "Look at that! That athlete is walking along like he's in the park, having a conversation on his cell phone! - Hee-hee!" Another athlete came out with a big single lens reflex camera, pausing to focus on things and take pictures! Ha-ha! So much for solemn ceremonies!

And then there were the crowd scenes! As expected, they focused on world criminals... er... leaders... from various countries as "their" athletes walked by, but then there was a large man who stood up, the camera zoomed in on him, and he adjusted his trousers up higher - probably not imagining that he was doing so on countless screens around the world! Another group the camera focused on looked blankly back at the camera, and there was the boy who looked like the long ceremony was almost more than he could bear as his parents got him to (reluctantly) wave for the camera, etc.

So - my first impression was that the world has become loose and sloppy. Partly this seems like a good thing - why not relax? I like taking pictures and I probably would have liked to take a camera out there myself if I had been in their place. But... there's something disconcerting about everyone taking pictures of everything all the time.

Also possibly worth pondering, is regarding the lingering camera close ups on athletes talking on their cell phones, or walking staring into their camera's viewscreen (which most didn't do actually - they just blindly aimed it while looking up at the crowd), makes me wonder a little at whoever was in charge of choosing which camera images to use during the live broadcast, and also at the camera operators who zoomed their cameras in on some of those scenes. Maybe that's what you get with a live broadcast if you put it together with so many cameras? It's no big issue - I had just thought that the opening ceremony would be slightly more formal than that, and that the camera operators would have chosen a different aspect to emphasize. (You don't suppose they're trying to show the world what a relaxed and fun place Beijing is?).

Another thing that occurred to me is that we'll probably be seeing a lot of those personally taken videos on YouTube! Some will be really hard to watch - with the screen at an angle and bouncing up and down.

Well, it's late.

Sore dewa!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

No comments: