Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How Do You Say "Milli Vanilli" in Chinese?

You've probably already heard about this:
When Lin Miaoke, 9, belted out "I Sing for My Country" as the Chinese flag entered the national stadium, she became an instant celebrity and was quickly dubbed a "smiling angel." The image of her dressed in a pretty red dress appeared around the world.

But she apparently wasn't the one singing. Chen Qigang, the ceremony's music director, told state broadcaster CCTV that the voice hundreds of millions of people heard was that of 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Yang had the voice and was supposed to perform but was yanked at the last minute because she had crooked teeth.

"It was for the national interest," Chen told CCTV. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."
And apparently the fireworks were rigged, too:
Another sleight of hand involved the massive fireworks display that exploded the length of Beijing at the culmination of the ceremony. The display was real, involving 29 pyrotechnic "footprints" exploded sequentially from Tiananmen Square to the Olympic Village.

But the 55-second version that most TV viewers saw was an animated three-dimensional studio re-creation, Gao Xiaolong, visual-effects team leader at the Crystal Stone animation company, told the Beijing Times. Only the last "footprint" closest to the stadium known as the Bird's Nest was filmed in real time.

"Most viewers thought these were live shots, so our work achieved its effect," Gao said proudly.

Gao said planners earlier decided that capturing all 29 "footprints" on camera would be too difficult. So the studio spent nearly a year crafting the clip, which was inserted into the live coverage.

To make it as seamless as possible, Crystal consulted with the weather bureau to re-create Beijing haze at night, Gao told the newspaper, and included a slight shaking to simulate shooting from a helicopter. The company declined to comment today.
I'd like to say this is a disgrace. I'd like to say that this sort of thing shouldn't be done. I'd like to say that parading photogenic faces and putting other people's words in those camera-ready mouths, that creating an atmosphere of "live" excitement and spectacle that is actually pre-recorded, pre-programmed, and carefully crafted to produce a certain effect, is dishonest and disingenuous.

I'd like to. But then, we haven't yet seen either the Republican or the Democratic National Conventions.

5 comments:

Oremus said...

I expected a PERFORMANCE out of China whether staged or not and it was obvious to us that the little girl was not singing either...
But we should not expect a PERFORMANCE from the Reb/Dem Conventions...
We wondered how many volunteered WILLINGLY to perform?!

Paula in MN said...

You nailed it again!

matthew archbold said...

And those Chinese gymnasts were not even close to 16 years of age.

Nothing about this Olympics can be taken at face value. I'm currently investigating whether Michael Phelps may be a waterproof robot. More to come...

Matilda said...

Agreed, Matthew, but just how young are they? Did you see that the littlest one is missing a tooth (either a canine or a bicuspid) which usually falls out between 10 & 12. Sorry to hijack the thread, Red. I'll go back to being a rabid Olympic junkie now!

Daddio said...

I believe it would be pronounced "Mirri Vanirri".

Sorry, couldn't resist...