Beijing Pulled Fireworks Fake Out

Marching 'footprints' in the sky were computer effect

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 11, 2008 4:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the most spectacular elements of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was actually a special effect created for television viewers around the world. Giant marching aerial footprints outlined by fireworks were created by sophisticated computer graphics digitally inserted into the live coverage, reports the Daily Telegraph.

 All 29 steps were actually formed with fireworks, but the 55-second sequence effect was created because it would have been too difficult to use cameras to capture them all. "We could not put the helicopter pilot at risk by making him try to follow the fireworks route," said an advisor to the Olympic Committee.

Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics over the National Stadium in Beijing.
Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics over the National Stadium in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing.
Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Color China Photo)
Giant fireworks footprint appears in the sky the opening night of  the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Giant fireworks footprint appears in the sky the opening night of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium as the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium as the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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