NEWS

Team of directors have margin for choice of music, imagery, within limits

«We have three means at our disposal in working on the presentation of events,» explained Zaglakoutis. «The image, that is what we project on the videoboard. Sound, that is the musical environment created in the stadiums and the surrounding areas, and, naturally, the word – information and commentary broadcast about the events themselves, which are an absolute must.» These three tools are being used by about 500 professionals, people on duty round the clock at the stadium, watching the events closely. Each event and each venue has its own team that will cover everything from the heats to the awards ceremony. Heading each team is the «director,» who has the general overview. According to the way the event evolves and the general mood in the stadium, he or she mobilizes the rest of the team, whose members each have a part to play, whether in charge of the video, music, or the sound technician, announcer or commentator. The directors are Greeks and foreigners who work in television as well as from the sports themselves. «They are experts, many of them with amazing skills, such as those from track and field,» observed Zaglakoutis «Because there, a number of events are being held at the same time and the director has to know how to present each minute so as to help the athletes and inform the spectators.» Commentary It is the commentator who has the most immediate relationship with the spectators, with information and commentary, which in some sports is an integral part of the event. This is not the same as commentary provided on radio or television. The commentators are experienced professionals chosen with the aid of the international federations for each sport. They come from different countries, and include many Greeks. Announcements and commentary will be in English, Greek and sometimes French. «Not always in all three languages, only when it is absolutely necessary. We want to avoid boring repetition,» said an Athens 2004 official. 600 video films The large video screens will be used mainly before each event, and during breaks. Athens 2004 has prepared about 600 videos, some just a few seconds’ duration, the longest 10 minutes. Some are on a more general theme, such as the history of the Olympics, shown in all stadiums, others on the history and details of the specific sport taking place. Yet others refer to the specifications of the particular stadium, or are simply rapid images and information such as the one saying «Spyros Louis was the first winner of the marathon, in 1896.» These 600 films were made by an American firm based in Los Angeles which specializes in this kind of film, BSN (Big Screen Network) Production, on the basis of a competition, although of course the final choice of content rested with Athens 2004. Not only rock, not only pop, but all kinds of music from every corner of the world, was the main principle on which the choice of music was based. «First of all, we are responsible not only for the music to be played within the stadiums, but that played in the common areas in the two main sporting centers, at the main Olympic Complex and at Hellenikon, during the spectators’ entry and exit,» said Zaglakoutis. We thought that the music for our Olympic Games should be multicolored, not just from one category, or one hemisphere alone, the Western Hemisphere, as is the general trend. We will have many kinds – light, jazz, pop, rock, classical, Latin, world music, Afro, and music from many parts of the world,» he added. There will be both instrumental and vocal, in many different languages, predominantly of course the «main» languages – such as English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and, of course, Greek. Modern Greek songs, pop hits, to very old favorites about Athens – rembetika, «light,» art music, a mix of all the good old songs. Radio producers Xenofon Rarakos and Katerina Kafetzi made the basic selection of music, in cooperation with the music director, and distributed them to the some 40 heads of music departments around the venues. Another influence on the choice of music is the type of venue – whether small and enclosed, such as for fencing, or a more dynamic space, such as for basketball. Every music department head is supplied with a large selection of CDs chosen with the general principles in mind, but is free to choose, after consultation with the director, according to whether the crowd is jumping with the excitement of a final, or calm for the heats.