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Video footage of the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing included CGI images because of worries that broadcasters would not be able to properly film parts of the firework display.

A 55-second clip of fireworks outlining footprints in the sky was in fact created months ago and edited into live footage. The fireworks did appear for real, but broadcasters decided it would be impossible to get decent shots of them from the sky during the event.

The clip took almost a year to create, the Telegraph reports. Broadcasters worked with weather forecasters to predict how hazy the images should look, and fake camera wobble was added to make it look like it was shot from a helicopter.

But with a worldwide audience reared on CGI suspicions were quickly raised, and before long, a local newspaper disclosed the computer trickery.

Not that it mattered too much to US viewers. Meanwhile, US broadcaster NBC was criticised for not making the opening ceremony available on its website until after TV broadcasts in prime time, some 12 hours later.

The broadcaster was also accused of rejigging the order of teams entering the stadium on in order to keep audiences waiting for the US team. Reports claimed that recut footage on its website included shots of the US team standing in the middle of the arena, before they had supposedly entered the stadium. NBC has denied the claim, saying the countries appeared according to their order in the Chinese alphabet.

In other news, the Chinese government is still restricting access to some websites despite earlier promises to give reporters full and free access. Blog hosting sites are mostly accessible but some individual blogs are blocked. Sites related to the Tiananmen Square protests, Falun Gong and the Dalai Lama remain blocked, AP reports. ®

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