Anthony Palmer on Filming the Olympic Park's construction

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  • The presentation will show how visual content was key to communicating the construction of the Olympic Park - starting with this aerial picture March 2008.\n
  • To this aerial picture July 2012.\n
  • The presentation will show how visual content was key to communicating the construction of the Olympic Park - starting with this aerial picture March 2008.\n
  • To this aerial picture July 2012.\n
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  • Showing rather than telling was critical to the believability of the project as from the summer of 2007 a site hoarding and later a security fence created what some criticised as a zone of secrecy. Media anticipated construction chaos and failure to deliver by 2012, let alone any long term legacy.\n
  • We needed to communicate what we were building and the quality of the product - Velodrome (RIBA Stirling Prize People’s Award in 2011). Sustainable - light weight tension cable roof, timber, natural light sources, rainwater harvesting. New approach to sports architecture and integrated within the landscape of the Olympic Park is a sustainable wildlife habitat complete with 300,000 reeds forming a new flood plain to the River Lea. \n
  • We also needed to engage with the local community some of whom faced uncertainty over future homes and lifestyles and faced living next door to a mega build followed by mega event. The local jobs debate promised 1 in 20 jobs going to people who lived in the neighbouring host boroughs. \n\n \n
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  • Nevertheless, I can show you the sort of locations where the first webcams were mounted - tall buildings around the Park adding more as the venues started to emerge, eventually twenty in all, with internal views too. The images were uploaded on broadband/3G links direct from the cameras and within half an hour were viewable on I have my own archive of webcam images and here is a selection of views that demonstrate how progress on the Park happened. \n
  • Slide - Stadium webcam,1 June 2008. \n
  • Slide - Stadium webcam on 18 May 2009 with construction well advanced. This Stadium webcam was taking an image every 10 minutes, excluding nights; that’s about 90 images a day and some 30000 or more images by here. \n
  • Here is the Velodrome webcam from the 4 Oct 2009 - sited on top of a specially built scaffold tower, which itself was on top of the site offices and required a head for heights. \n
  • Velodrome webcam from nearly a year later on the 15 Sep 2010 - and another 30000+ images uploaded.\n
  • The Aquatics Centre webcam - slide 26 Jun 2009 - was installed on the roof of Lund Point; a Newham council block on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. \n
  • 22 Sep 2010 - Aquatics Centre roof is finished and work is begun on the temporary seating stands. \n
  • While these webcam images were never intended to be pictorial, the changing weather conditions on the Park helped us show some interesting moments. This picture of heavy snow on the 2 Feb 2009 with work halted at the Aquatics Centre site. \n
  • And, on the 4 March 2009, a passing thunderstorm over the Olympic Stadium. At first these were occasionally harvested into a written blog about the webcams which developed into a gallery page called the ‘best of the webcams’ and this in turn became a series of galleries for each venue, each of which supported the narrative of the venues pages.\n
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  • Back to the webcams page and as construction progressed, webcams were placed inside the venues - here is the Stadium from 28 March 2011.\n
  • And, as here, inside the Velodrome on the 17 Nov 2010. The webcams page was usually the most popular page on the 2012 website regularly getting 100,000 hits per month. \n
  • These webcams were also the generators for time lapse video too which we’d been sending out to broadcasters. So the next step was to commission a further development project to turn the webcams into automated time-lapse so that viewers could watch the progress unfold over time to the current date.\n
  • Slide of webcam from summer 2008 to summer 2012 showing the long term approach to recording the whole Park, looking from south to north. \n
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  • Thanks.\n


  • 1. Anthony Palmer
  • 2. Imaging the 2012 Olympic Park
  • 3. Imaging the 2012 Olympic Park
  • 4. Imaging the 2012 Olympic Park
  • 5. Imaging the 2012 Olympic Park
  • 6. Roles and responsibility• ODA: build the ‘set’, regenerate the East End• LOCOG: put on the ‘show’, inspire a generation• My role: manage the visual content of the Olympic Park for all channels
  • 7. A case for urban regeneration?
  • 8. Design, architecture, landscape
  • 9. Communityand legacy
  • 10. Communicating visually• Media releases included the latest images and video• Corporate publications and community notices were image led• The opportunity to do something specific for London• Webcams
  • 11. Video content and hosting• Videos of visits, events, fly-throughs and behind the scenes stories• White label hosting (no YouTube) for
  • 12. ‘Mega project’ lessons• Some content without editorial narration• Re-purpose and if possible automate• Choose specialist content developers• Leave a lasting legacy - online?
  • 13. Thank you.