Enjoy What 3 international event professionals had to say about Olympics Opening ceremony

Aug 24 • Global Events • 1009 Views • No Comments on Enjoy What 3 international event professionals had to say about Olympics Opening ceremony

Who doesn’t love the Olympics? The biggest event. Billions to produce it, years to make it happen, half of the world population watching.

Olympics also mean extensive effort from cities and destinations involved. Not everything goes to plan. This time in Rio, you can say it was the case big time.

With so many obstacles including a government under scrutiny, police officers saying it was not safe, riots in the streets, pictures in the media with far from completed infrastructure, you bet things did not go as planned.
These issues and images were vivid in our eyes when we watched the Opening Ceremony on Friday 5 August at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. So what do special event professionals think about it? We asked some of the best to look at what was presented and here are their responses.


What would you say about the Olympic ceremony?


1. Nick Borelli – Event MB contributor:
“As someone who immerses himself in all news related to social media, I was soured on the Olympics prior to the opening ceremonies. While I understand the importance of giving prominence and value to event sponsors, I believe the bullying tactics of the USOC are both unprecedentedly overreaching and against the spirit of the Olympics.

The committee stated that if non-sponsor businesses acknowledge the Olympics in social media (including retweets and the use of hashtags) they will face litigation. This is a frightening precedent if it proves to have teeth. American coverage has chosen to delay coverage by an hour in the first Summer Olympics in the Western hemisphere in the social media age. If you combine all that with the ruling that journalists cannot share Vines or .gifs from the games and we find a real divide between the Olympics and the digital world.

The opening ceremonies of the first Olympics hosted in South America was created by Brazilian film makers Fernando Meirelles and Daniela Thomas and never shied away from the darker sides of their country’s and man’s history. This ceremony had less budget than recent Olympic opening ceremonies so they focused their energies on one form of technology (projection mapping) coupled with less props and more set pieces and one underlying message – the environment. The stress on simple designs and honesty, heart and soul resonated with me.”


2. Aaron Kaufman, CSEP – President
“Was there ever a doubt that Rio knew how to throw a party? The opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Games would teach a lot to an event professional about exactly what that means. As a producer and designer, I look to see what was creatively done and what kind of story was told. Despite the overall budget being just a fraction of previous games, the story, and corresponding show combined to provide the viewer with an emotional roller-coaster over the 4+ hours of coverage.

The word of the night was gambiarra, a local term that means improvising something special out of difficult circumstances and the team in Brazil showed that nothing was going to stop them. Creativity in using human elements, lighting techniques and low carbon emitting fireworks all were effective in lieu of newer technology and digital effects.

All the Olympic elements feel a little too political in the message but the show overall was well done and it was a breath of fresh air to see a more traditional style show instead of just the newest technology.”


3. Jodi M. Collen, CSEP – International President:
“With the absence of larger than life “mechanics” that have become common fixtures at spectacle events, the producer in me missed some of the jaw dropping moments and the overall scale just felt smaller. But, I felt that the choice to use their limited budget to invest heavily in projection technology was wise, if not groundbreaking.
I loved the visual lines created by the string curtain and I thought the use of perspective and dimension in their mapping was impressive. The massive mapping also somewhat made up for their exceptionally small cast (only 700!) and absence of props. Like many other events, I felt that producers struggled to find a balance between making the event a pure celebration or an opportunity to make a political statement. And, both felt slightly off the mark.

Overall, I’d rate the show as a 6 out of 10 with bonuses for successfully using technology to make the best of a tough budget situation. But, in the absence of a common thread woven through the production, the show felt more like a string of vignettes than a cohesive story.”

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Source: From Julius Solaris, the editor of

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