Tag: bbc (page 1 of 4)

Pride

As the clock ticked down to Friday I have to admit to getting quite excited about the Olympics. I’m a massive sport fan so love the Olympics but there was so much buzz building over the last couple of weeks that the Opening Ceremony was essential viewing.

Could Danny Boyle pull it off? Could Britain pull it off?

Course they could.

From a shaky start the whole show was a success. Visually impressive with some fun along the way and rooted with an immense soundtrack it was an opening made in Britain for Britain. It left almost everyone bursting with pride. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee tweeted, “this is for everyone”. And it was. No matter who you were there was a hook in that ceremony. Some tried to politicise the ceremony and class it as left leaning. Utter nonsense and looking back, all Olympics and sporting events of this size have a political edge. Some critics also said that much of the show would be lost to international audiences but previous opening ceremonies would have been lost on me if it wasn’t for the commentator reading from his or her crib sheet. Danny Boyle and his team crafted a show that galvanised a nation and set the tone for the next two weeks of competition.

A few of my favourite moments below. Ok, lots of my fav moments lifted from the BBC broadcast. Far better photo’s from the ceremony can be found at The Big Picture.

Sir Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In amongst the chaos he stood out.

Forged rings looked incredible

I loved the light reflected in the welders mask

Great arial shot of the rings and the stadium

That’s not really the Queen is it?

It is the Queen!

She can act

Classic Bond

Celebrating the NHS was a masterstroke – nice to see it trend on Twitter too

Bean – unexpected but fun

Jasmine Breinburg – star of the show?

Digital revolution celebrated with Sir Tim Berners-Lee

This is for everyone

Emeli Sande – what a voice

Sir Chris Hoy leads out the Great Britain team

The BBC cuts to the Queen who looks bored (or looks on with pride according to the BBC)

By day the Olympic stadium looks ordinary but at night it comes alive

Sir Steve Redgrave brings in the torch with a guard of honour from the builders of the stadium. Great touch.

The cauldron – great camera shot from underneath

Olympic flame

There’s always fireworks but ours were real

The rings from space

Even during the endless athletes parade while we waited for Chris Roy and the GB team the music was such a breath of fresh air. Switching to David Bowies “We Could Be Heroes” when GB came out gave me goosebumps. If you loved it as much as me then the Isles of Wonder Soundtrack is a no brainer. Thankfully Hey Jude isn’t included!

Sharing the experience on Twitter was great. Initial worries and anticipation turned into tears and joy…until Hey Jude! It also meant that the killjoys out there were ruthlessly outed. Step forward Aidan Burley, Conservative MP for Cannock Chase.

What an arse. Seemingly he was misunderstood and today he’s said it was because there was too much rap music. Looking at the soundtrack there’s hardly any. The guy has form though, last year being demoted due to some nazi quotes. But one idiot can’t spoil it.

To close of with a couple of high points. Danny Boyle’s forward in the official program (and soundtrack) is inspiring.

Danny Boyle’s program forward

A final highlight was Boris the day before the opening. I don’t often agree with him but from time to time he is (comedy) gold. Enjoy.

Free Dr Who Episode

A quick post to let Dr Who fans, and those that like freebies, that there is a free episode of Dr Who available in iTunes. From the new issue of The Radio Times (which I still get although I hate the font’s they’ve now moved to using – horrible!) if you visit:

www.itunes.com/drwhofree

you can download ‘Last of the Timelords’ for free. No need to buy Radio Times or fill in any codes etc. Click on the link and download the episode in iTunes. Easy. It’s not too bad an episode either.

BBC’s HD Test Card

Calibrating your HD TV is never straightforward. Lot’s more settings than a standard SD set and if you use an amp for your surround sound you will potentially get lip-sync issues too. You can pick up a calibration disk – Digital Video Essentials on Blu Ray for example which will step you through calibrating your TV. You can also use any THX DVD’s as they will include a THX Calibration tool that helps you tweak your setting (Wall-E also has a nice calibration tool as well). Another way of calibrating is to use the newly added BBC HD Test Card which broadcasts a number of times per day on the BBC HD channel.

Andy Quested has posted up a great tutorial on the BBC Internet blog that takes you through how to use test card to not only calibrate your screen settings but also adjust audio settings to fix any sync issues. It looks like the trickiest part of the process is recording the 2 tests. Directly from Andy’s blog post – the HD test card is just over 1 hour into the promo and the AV sync signal is 50 minutes later. To record both signals, check the time the last programme finishes and add 1 hour. So if the last programme ends at 01:30 set your PVR to record from 02:25 to 02:45 for the test card and 03:15 to 03:35 for the AV sync signal. The promo referred to is the rolling HD promo that is broadcast on BBC HD when there is no actual programming being broadcast. It would be far easier if these two tests were broadcast as individual programmes with actual time slots – would make recording far easier. However that’s a small niggle as these two tests are a nice addition from the BBC. I know I’ll be using them to set-up a new TV over Christmas.

BBC Radio on the iPhone

Following on from a tweet on Friday from @gav_richardson I found that you can install an app on the iPhone and stream some of the BBC radio stations. The app you need to grab is FStream. It doesn’t have the best interface but it does work well. Full setup instructions can be found here.

A full list of the BBC radio stations I’ve got to work are:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/wm_asx/aod/radio1.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/realmedia/1xtra_hi.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/wm_asx/aod/radio2.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/wm_asx/aod/radio3.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/wm_asx/aod/radio4.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/ram/6music_hi.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/realplayer/bbc7.asx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/rams/asiannet.asx

Unfortunately Five Live doesn’t work which is allegedly due to broadcasting rights of sporting events outside the UK. Another solution is to try the Flycast app which again is free and search for BBC which should return radio station’s 1-4 which you can then select and listen to. At least there is a solution until iPlayer supports radio stations on the iPhone.

BBC Open Formats

Missed this yesterday but on the BBC Internet Blog Eric Huggers has posted their intention to adopt open standards for audio and video web content. Specifically AAC and H.264 were mentioned. That means (to me) great Mac support will eventually come and hopefully an end to BBC use of Realaudio. Happy days ahead?

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