My take on the opening ceremonies…
Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremonies commenced at 8pm Brazil time on August 5, 2016 and ran about 4 hours.
Amazingly good in it’s simplicity… Given the tiny budget, imagination and creativity, for the most part, resulted in high appeal. Real feeling of environmental concern, or rebirth & regeneration. With stunning & innovative use of video projection, lighting, intricate patterns and illusions, the ceremony focussed on the creation of earth, from the first microbes and the forest, to climate change (great video, voiced by Dame Judi Dench) and the need to protect the natural wonders of Brazil.
There were moments of the darker side of history, from slavery to the creation of mega-cities, carbon emissions levels and global warming, but these were balanced with a kaleidoscope of color & movement, Brazil style, from samba to rap to “The Girl from Ipanema“. The drumming, samba, costumes, colors, volunteers, athletes: for the first-ever Olympic Games in South America, Brazil (Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremonies team) did a great job.
My favorite moments… The 1st 15 minutes of the ‘rubber bands’ through to slavery/farmland regeneration until the end of the incredible video building blocks of homes sequence, the airplane takeoff (runway video effect — WOW!!!!), the mirrored seed towers to forest to Olympic Rings to fireworks of Olympic Rings sequence, the moving sculptured cauldron (mesmerizing), PLUS, every second of that incredible projection video.
Here is the 4 hours show in less than one minute.
Athletes parade of nations.… Or should it be the parade of iPhones and selfie sticks? The entry of a few thousand of the 11,000 athletes was L-o-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g. Each athlete carried a seed that was deposited into special containers on the stadium floor, that will eventually grow into trees and be planted in Rio in an Olympic park. They were led onto the field by colorful recycled tri-bikes, and pushed to keep moving by (also recycled) 4-person drummers keeping up the rear. Walking next to each flag bearer was a child carrying a symbolic tree to be planted. Love the disabled kids involvement in this sequence.
When the Russian team appeared in the entrance to the stadium, boos could be heard. No country was welcomed more harshly from any Olympics — even the BBC commentator made an off-the-cuff derogatory remark about the Russian team.
The Tonga flag bearer. Oiled up and gleaming white sparkling teeth. The Tonga flag bearer. The Tonga flag bearer. I expect the press will show a lot more about The Tonga flag bearer.
The US team appeared to be wearing Russian flag t-shirts under their jackets — very weird design choice.
The “refugee” team (a first) at the end (before Brazil) got a standing ovation and wonderful support.
The huge Brazil team parade went on forever, leading into the Samba party (while all eyes were still searching for The Tonga flag bearer)
Missed opportunities & notes.
Camera work was reasonably good, but I missed the camera under the Olympic flag being carried in, and some of the wide shots panned too quickly. They could have expanded the initial opening sequence by another 5 minutes, and reduced the hip-hop mess. The audio mix (at least to the broadcast feed I heard) was not good. Various mic pickups were lost – particularly in the hip-hop sequence. I wasn’t crazy about the children’s choir arrangements for the glorious Olympic anthem, the Olympic torch arrival seemed hurried. The entire presentation of the Olympic Laurel was an unrehearsed mess. The flags were all hoisted too quickly, out of sync with the timing of the corresponding anthems. The speeches (as typical) need editors, and not using a glass teleprompter was a mistake. Would have liked to see a bit more ‘carnival’ type feeling (perhaps they are saving for the closing ceremonies), even with the well known floats. Always thought during the parade of nations the official broadcaster should overlay a small global map pinpointing the location of the teams country. The Samba groups (in those fabulous costumes) could have had more on field and air time — particularly would have liked to have seen all athletes and volunteer dancers in a brief routing coming together with the Samba groups instead of them being led directly off.
You can watch the opening ceremonies using this guide.