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The London 2012 Official DVD: Director's Cut or Revising History?

Hello internet. I've got a question for you.

I got the official London 2012 DVD for Christmas. It's wonderful, particularly the opening ceremony - with either the commentary-free stadium sound or director's commentary. But because I'm a geek who edits video, I couldn't help noticing a few changes from what was broadcast on the night.

Most of these changes are brilliant: the Olympic Broadcasting Service, in the rush of the night, managed to stuff a couple of the big reveal moments (Tim Berners-Lee's "This Is For Everyone" was shown for only an instant, for example). All those errors are fixed, and I've got no problem with that: better camera angles and less technical flubs are great.

But there are at least two edits that change the actual record of what happened, and I'm trying to work out if that crosses a line.

First of all, the brilliant Chariots of Fire sequence. On the night, Rowan Atkinson misses the timing on his final, bum note by about half a second. You can see that here, at 4m53s: http://youtu.be/CwzjlmBLfrQ?t=4m53s - his finger doesn't hit the keyboard until well after the prerecorded note.

On the DVD, the two are perfectly in sync: the note's been delayed through a bit of audio editing.

The second edit is much larger. At the end of the night, as the young torchbearers lapped the stadium, the announcers seemed to miss their cue by a good 30 seconds. The names announced didn't match the right torchbearers, and it crashed into the next section. You can hear the start of the announcements here at 2m38s: http://youtu.be/Ei54TO1VBlM?t=2m38s

On the DVD though? There are no announcements. Instead, in-vision captions, in the same style as the rest of the ceremony, describe the torchbearers. That's a major change, because it means on the DVD the audio of that section is entirely faked. If they used stadium audio, you'd hear echoes of the announcements.

Side note: they may also have fixed Paul McCartney's audio cockup on 'Hey Jude'. I couldn't bring myself to watch that section again to check, though. Hopefully they just cut it off after he played 'The End', because that's where it should have ended, damn it.

Now, neither of these really bother me. They don't impact my viewing any more than the original slip-ups. But this isn't George Lucas changing who shot first: this is factual; for many people this DVD will be the Historical Record of What Happened That Night.

So here's my question: does it matter?
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7 comments
 
I would say no. This does not claim to be a historical archive, that will exist as part of the OBS archives. This is a general entertainment product designed as a memento for people of the games. Since I would call it entertainment and not a historical record, I see no problem with them adding the extra polish in this way. People who need genuine fact should go to archive footage.
 
However, given my argument above, I was a little disturbed to find the edit where Cav won the road race. And slaughtered the opposition in a bloodbath. That may have been an edit too far.
 
I would say that it depends on how the DVD is marketed.
If it is the highlights of the Olympics, then I think edited improvements on the original for reasons of clarity that do not substantively alter the the outcome are fine, but if the DVD is basically a record of a live event, then it should be as it happened, warts and all.

I attended an event a few years ago that had edited highlights broadcast on TV later, and I was a bit shocked that the TV version had altered when the audio announcements were made compared to the live version.

In contemplation, it was an edited highlights rather than a "live broadcast", so I think some editing for clarity for the remote TV audience was acceptable -- even if I felt one particular edit diminished the moment being acted out.

However, I am a bit confused as to the justification for editing Rowan Atkinson's performance would be as the edit you highlight does nothing to clarify the event or the performance, and simply tries to cover up a minor (how the heck did you even notice?) mistake.

That is an edit too far.
 
Three people have commented on Twitter (@cackhanded, @swinstead, @tharsheblows) to say they don't mind.

To quote @cackhanded:  "I see it as fixing errors, rather than changing facts. Much like fixing the words recorded in Hansard. So, no, doesn’t matter."

As for noticing either of these: after you've spent a while doing video editing, things like missed sync, continuity errors, and the like stick out like a sore thumb. It's not a good skill to have when watching things!

Edited to correct a couple of typos.
 
I liked the added scene where Karl Hyde shot Paul McCartney.
 
As long as they say they did it, it's perfectly fine.
 
Forgive the 4-days-late comment (especially if you already got a definitive answer on Twitter), but having just watched the Directors' Commentary version, Boyle admits to re-editing both the young torchbearers and Paul McCartney missed cue sections for the DVD. No mention of any edits to the Rowan Atkinson bit though.
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