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Monday, August 11, 2008

China Digitizes Opening Ceremonies

Just because you see the images fly across the screen doesn't necessarily mean that what you're watching is real, at least in terms of "real life".

If you tuned into the Olympics' opening ceremony you were treated to a 55-second, breath-taking fireworks display. Except you weren't. Instead, you watched a 3D rendering of the event that took a year to create.

The fireworks at the stadium were real, but what viewers saw on their televisions wasn't because organizers believed it would be too difficult to capture the entire event safely.

As news of the fabrication spread to the 1 billion people tuned into the event, news organizations around the world have reacted with a wide gamut of emotions, from angry to completely non-plussed. Some 2,000 stories have hit Google News in just the last few hours.

Normally I'm okay with such fabrications when we're dealing with a non-news story -- as writer James Fallows points out, but the more we move into a digital world, the more important it is to make sure we maintain a trust with the public. When these events go off without a direct reference to them, it breaks that trust -- making it ever less likely that we will implicitly trust what we see.

Not that it's bad to question everything. But sometimes it's nice to just believe.

By Brad at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

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