Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This story is all over the place. An Animated promo for the 2012 Olympic Games has been taken off the organisers' website after it apparently triggered epileptic fits. Heard about this on the news last night and as soon as I did I raced to the batcave to see if I could catch a glimpse of it before they took it down so I could see for myself what it was that they'd done to it. But I was too late.

Rules on strobing in animation are pretty strict for obvious reasons. First off, there's certain frame rates you avoid - couple that with the percentage of the screen that's altered by the effect, there's definitely a clearly delineated no-go area that you should be aware of before you even start making stuff like this.

Images are tested through the BACC (a lot of the work I do goes through them I believe) or a Harding FPA before they go on air in order to ensure they comply with OFCOM regulations. So, how this got through in the first place is beyond me. Draw your own conclusions.

A very similar thing happened with a certain Japanese TV series called Pocket Monsters (Pokémon), when in 1997 more than 635 kids in Japan were taken to hospital with epileptic seizures caused by watching an episode of the show in which there was strobing blue and red color patterns. The publicity of course did the show no harm at all as most bankrupt parents can likely testify.

Now then, back to the Olympics. On the official website there's a sidebar that has a picture of Joanna Lumley in it with the title "Backing the Bid: Joanna Lumley" and a quote from her saying:
"Anything that helps young people become more involved in the arts, culture, sport and the spirit of personal achievement excites me. The Olympics isn't only a sporting feast - it's a celebration of culture and creativity too - and that gets my vote."
Well, here's the stinger. The arts are going to suffer because of the Olympics thanks to future PM and present chancellor, Gordon Brown. And here is why. There's currently a petition to stop this happening and the petition itself probably best describes what's going on, so I'm quoting it and, for your convenience, you can click the quote and that will take you to the petition itself (which is a very simple form to fill in):

Stop the chancellor using Lottery money to plug the funding gap in the 2012 olympics. If this goes ahead at least £900m will go from Big lottery, Sport England, Arts Council and Heritage Lottery much of this money would fund projects within the local voluntary and community sector. Services to disadvantaged people will be directly affected by the loss of this funding, people who will have no opportunity to benefit from the olympics directly but rely on local services provided by the voluntary sector.
This all on the tails of reports that Tax credit errors (the Tax Credit system Gordon Brown set up) is set to waste a further £1.4billion.

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