Olympic ceremonies will cost another £40m

The budget for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies has been doubled to over £80 million, it was announced today.

Ministers blamed the increased cost of security on the recruitment of 23 700 security guards to work at more than 100 competition and training venues. This brings the taxpayer’s contribution to venue security to £533 million. With the policing bill set at £475 million, the overall cost of Olympic security is now £1 billion.

Delivering the Government’s quarterly Olympic budget update today, Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said: “This money will not be spent on fireworks, it will not be money going up in smoke, it will be an important investment in the economic future of the country.”


He continued by saying that a meeting of the Prime Minister, the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and himself had decided that they “needed to maximise and promote London to the four billion television viewers after being presented with a wide range of ceremonial components across the ceremonies.”

Robertson acknowledged the current economic conditions but said that the potential benefits that could flow through enhanced tourism numbers justified the increase.

The extra cash will come from the Olympic contingency fund and the London 2012 project remains on course to come in at around the budgeted £9.3 billion.

Putting on a great show is important but what’s even more important is creating a lasting legacy – other than debt. Surely they’d be able to put on a few good shows for the original £40 million budgeted and then they could have spent the additional £40 million on something that would benefit the people of Britain in the future?

This is where we’d normally add a sarcastic comments about broken calculators, but this time we’re just going to let the numbers speak for themselves…

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Thousands protest against Government Spending Review

Thousands of students, trade unionists, community groups and others marched through the streets of London in protest following the brutal spending cuts issued by the Tory government yesterday.

Students from University College London and surrounding universities initiated the march on their campus and were soon joined by thousands of others united in the cause. Banners on display reflected the diversity of those protesting, including unions such as Unison, the National Union of Teachers and the GMB. The procession passed through Central London and ended up at a rally outside Downing Street. Simultaneously thousands of demonstrators were also gathered at a rally at Lincoln’s Inn Fields where Tony Benn, as well as other trade union and movement leaders addressed thousands of angered protesters. The Lincoln’s Inn Fields protesters later marched towards Downing Street.

Local protests were also organised around the UK;  a clear indicator of the public’s outrage at the proposed rebudgeting of the country’s coffers.

To read related articles go to our blog and to IndyMedia.

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The Good. The Bad. And Section 106.

Sil Workshop 28-07-05

Spectacle, having established the Silwood Video Group, have been an active presence on the Silwood Estate since 2001, and in nearly 10 years of voluntary film-workshops and attendance at Residents’ Meetings, we have seen the landscape of this slice of South-East London change, and change as a result of regeneration.

Since 2005 at the Residents’ Forum Meetings, which are now held quarterly, the residents have asked to see the business plans for development and to have access to details of Section 106, which was declared a ‘non-public document’ by the London & Quadrant NIT Manager on the Silwood. The statement was later retracted, but the Section 106 document, to date, has not been made available to residents.

Tower Homes, the commercial wing of London & Quadrant, won the planning permission rights to the land in the Silwood area, on which they intended to build luxury apartments. By law, this makes them accountable to Section 106 Agreement of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), which states that if development is agreed upon, for example, Lewisham Council awarding planning permission to Tower Homes, then the new landowners must provide resources that are of benefit to the community that will be affected by the development. In the case of the Silwood, London & Quadrant was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the re-provision of community facilities, play areas/ parks, and youth centres on the Estate, which were demolished as a result of the regeneration process. The Lewington Centre was then built as a replacement for the former community centre and the Cyber Centre under Section 106.

Residents are currently being asked to pay relatively steep rates in order to use their new Centre, but the bone of contention lies in the fact that, according to the ‘Regeneration Project Initiation Document’, freely available from Lewisham Council, London & Quadrant allocated a fund of £2 million in order to meet their Section 106 obligations. On top of this, despite the claim of London & Quadrant representatives at Residents’ Meetings on the Silwood that these rates are essential to their business plan and the long-term running of the Lewington Centre, their business plan for 2009 shows that they have made a profit in the region of £120, 000. So why do they seem so unwilling to invest in fully rebuilding the local infrastructure?

Click Silwood Video Group for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Silwood Video Group project pages for more information and videos.

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En pocas palabras

If you want to read the English version, click here.

Parece que todo marcha por el buen camino: hemos encontrado un estudio y hemos decidido hacernos con una estructura de plexiglas. Además, este estudio ofrece algunos servicios extra que nos ahorrarán tiempo buscando cámara e iluminación. Por otra parte, el plexiglas también presenta algunas ventajas respecto al cristal: es mucho más fácil conseguirlo y se puede encargar con tan sólo un par de días de antelación (recordemos que el cristal tenía que encargarse al menos 15 días antes). En conclusión: todos estamos satisfechos y más “relajados”. Es un buen momento para empezar a centrarnos en la planificación del rodaje.

Nos hacemos con el desglose de los planos y los agrupamos en función de los actores que aparecen en ellos y de los requisitos técnicos. Lo ideal sería si pudiéramos trabajar un día con los extras y otro día con los actores principales. Nos ahorraríamos algo de dinero ya que no es imprescindible tener a ocho extras trabajando durante dos días cuando su papel de pasearse delante de la cámara, si bien es esencial, puede rodarse en una mañana. Con lo de “requisitos técnicos” nos referimos a en qué planos nos hará falta la estructura de plexiglas y en cuáles no. Afortunadamente, ambos factores son compatibles: los planos donde necesitamos a los extras no requieren de estructura de plexiglas.

Y así es como llegamos a la siguiente planificación del rodaje “ideal”, y con “ideal” quiero decir “muy optimista”:

  • Primer día por la mañana:

8 extras + actor principal + 3 actores secundarios (llamémosles B, C, D)

Rodaje en green screen.

  • Primer día por la tarde:

Actor principal + 3 actores secundarios (llamémosles B, C, D)

Rodaje en green screen.

  • Segundo día:

Actor principal + 2 actores secundarios (llamémosles E, F)

Rodaje en green screen con estructura de plexiglas.

Estamos tan familiarizados con el proyecto que todo parece muy obvio para nosotros, pero es difícil intentar explicar con palabras cada plano, sería un sinsentido. Resulta mucho más práctico e intuitivo ver el plan de rodaje, ya sabes, una visión gráfica, con colores, dibujos, y todas esas cosas que aligeran de palabras cualquier descripción y hacen todo mucho más fácil. Como dicen, una imagen vale más que mil palabras. Así que si quieres ver un primer borrador de nuestro plan de rodaje simplemente haz click aquí.

Si todo esto sale adelante significaría, además, que nos estaríamos ahorrando alrededor de 1000 euros en actores. Pero eso no supone mayor beneficio para la productora; simplemente significa que el dinero se mueve de una parte a otra del presupuesto. Vamos, que no son malas noticias, pero tampoco excelentes noticias.

Bien, bien, parece que el mecanismo se pone en marcha. Ahora “sólo” tenemos que reservar el estudio, citar a los actores, encargar el plexiglas y empezar a contratar personal técnico y artístico. Casi nada.

Para obtener más información acerca del proyecto “Speak out against discrimination”, pincha aquí.

Para obtener más información acerca de Spectacle, pincha aquí.

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In a nutshell

Para leer este blog en español pincha aquí.

Everything seems to be on the right track: we’ve found a studio and we’ve decided to get the perspex structure. The studio also offers some extra services that will save us time researching camera and lighting equipment. Perspex has also some advantages compared to the glass: it’s easier to get it and we just need to order it a couple of days in advance (whereas we would need to order the glass with at least 15 days in advance). Summing up: we are all really pleased and “relaxed”. It’s a good time to start working hard on the shoot schedule.

We get hold of the breakdown, we group the shots depending on the actors and on the technical requirements in each of them. It would be perfect if we could work just one day with all the extras and another day with the main characters. Then we could save some money as we wouldn’t need eight extras working during two days when their role of strolling in front of the camera, even if it’s crucial, can be done in one morning. By  “technical requirements” I meant the shots will need the perspex structure. Fortunately, both of the factors are compatible: the shots where we need the extras don’t need the perspex structure.

So we get to the next “ideal” shooting plan (when I say “ideal” I mean “very optimistic”):

  • First day. Morning:

8 extras + main character + 3 background characters (let’s say B, C, D)

Green screen shooting.

  • First day. Afternoon:

Main character + 3 background characters (let’s say B, C, D)

Green screen shooting.

  • Second day:

Main actor + 2 background characters (let’s say E, F)

Green screen shooting and perspex structure.

We are already so familiar with the project that everything seems obvious, but it’s hard to explain with words each shot, so there’s no point in trying to do it. It’s much easier and intuitive to download the shooting plan so you can get a literal view, with color, design, and all that stuff that makes things more user friendly. A picture speaks a thousand words. So if you want to see the first draft of our shooting plan you just have to click here.

If these plans go ahead it will also mean that we would be saving circa £1000 in our casting. But this doesn’t mean that the company would profit; it just means that the money is moving from one point of the budget to another. In short, it’s not bad news, but it’s not excellent either.

Good, good, it looks like the project is up and running. Now we “only” need to book the studio, get the actors there on time, order the perspex and start hiring technical staff. That’s nothing!

If you want to get more information about the project “Speak out against discrimination”, click here.

For more information about Spectacle, click here.


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Changing face of poverty

Save the Children recently announced it would be giving emergency cash grants to families in poverty due a massive increase in food prices and worrying increase in malnutrition amongst babies and pregnant women. These families are not the ones that Save the Children normally deal with, they are not in refugee camps or war-zones but in cities and towns across the UK.

With the recession taking hold unemployment has soared and so has the price of food; according to the Guardian the cost of food rose by 11.3% in the year to February, and within that the cost of vegetables has risen by 18.6%. This is leading to new levels of poverty amongst children and families in Britain say Save the Children.

Save the Children argue that many people are facing terrible problems with debt, not because they are frivolous as suggested by some of the media but because they have had to rely on credit for basic essentials. Now the safety net of easy credit has been removed people find they are stuck with high repayments and no new income and end up cutting their food budgets to compensate.

With organisations like Save the Children and Oxfam turning their attention to the UK’s poor is it time we changed our perception of what poverty looks like?

Does the media do enough to let us know about poverty on our own doorstep?

Is it easier to pretend poverty only exists in foreign countries?

For more clips from our Poverty and  The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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