At our 2012 event in Brighton, Anthony Palmer, former filming manager at the Olympic Delivery Authority spoke to us about his brief to capture the progress of building inside the Olympic Park. His challenge was to create content which would inform and engage a wide range of people with very broad agendas, without adding narrative or opinion.
For most of us who work with digital content that feels counter-intuitive. The first thing I tell a client is “we need to find your stories and start telling them”. But for Anthony, telling a story wasn’t really an option. As a content producer at the Olympic Delivery Authority he had to be neutral and unbiased. The last thing he needed was to be accused of “spinning” the story.
He began work as the Filming Manager at the Olympic Delivery Authority in 2008. It seems like a different world now. The 2012 games were such a huge success and left most people with a palpable sense of “feel good factor”. It is easy to forget that right up until the day they started the dominant theme in the story of the games was one of doom. The games were going to be a flop. We were going to muck it up. London was going to grind to a halt. London was being made into a police state. Earlier themes in the story had been around how expensive it was going to be. Or how ineffective. How we wouldn’t stick to the budget. How late everything was bound to be. How poorly constructed.
In the midst of that narrative cacophony, Anthony set to work with webcams to just record without comment or agenda the work of the people behind the huge blue barriers which separated the building site from the east London community.
Anthony now has an archive of time-lapse films which show the magnificent Olympic Park rising from the post-industrial clutter. Beautiful, on time, on budget. It’s an amazing content resource – the product of Anthony’s commitment and patience.
What we all wanted to know at Cool Content was: where is it now? Let’s hope that as post-Olympic euphoria wanes, this amazing content doesn’t get lost or forgotten. After all, isn’t legacy what London2012 is all about?