THE OLYMPIC FILM

From as far back as Spring 1959, the first steps were taken to form a Committee of film directors, technicians, and journalists for the study of problems connected with the production of the film on the Rome Olympic Games.
The Committee examined, discussed, and elaborated all the various topics and in addition reviewed all the most important sports films realized in the world up to that moment. The work was summarized in a first draft of the script and above all contacts were established by those responsible who were later to have the task of producing the film, with all the various technical sectors already in operation within the Organization of the Games.
In fact, at that time the great construction works, which were to play so important a part in the Olympic Games, were rising in Rome, and the film technicians were able to see stadia and gymnasiums take form and thus envisage the main difficulties to be overcome both in respect of shooting of film for cinema and television.
Even the colours of certain installations and the choreographic aspect of the manifestation were examined in considerable detail. To give an example, a suggestion was made to paint the floating lanes of the Olympic swimming pool in yellow rather than in white, with indications in black, which suggestion was not contrary to the sports regulations and which was much more effective for colour film purposes.
One of the major difficulties was that of photographing in colour in conditions of light which were liable to be almost impossible. All shooting of competitions under cover and those taking place at night had to be taken within the limitations of illumination adjusted to the human eye and barely sufficient for television requirements.
At the beginning of 1960 the C.O.N.I. entrusted the realization of the production of the film to the L.U.C.E. National Institute and awarded the direction to Romolo Marcellini. In order to ensure the distribution of the film within the shortest time possible and not more than three months after the Games, the major problem, that of editing, had to be considered in advance.
In order to obtain a rapid edition of the film, the edition was carefully elaborated and realized in the same way as any other current film production.
Thus in the months of March and April 1960 many visits to the actual sites of events took place and the positioning of the cameras in the various competition venues was worked out, and a number of experiments took place for filming in colour with artificial light, using Ansco 125 film, in 16 mm and 35 mm, and Eastmancolor 35 mm film. These, after a process of over-development, gave satisfactory results and showed the minimum light requirements to be 500 lux units instead of the 350 to 400 existing. Having once established this requirement, it was then possible to carry out shooting in colour at night in the Swimming Stadium, the Olympic Stadium, the Flaminio Stadium, and the Velodrome.
On the basis of the script provided and the studies carried out, in the two weeks of the Olympic Games each camera worked to a detailed timetable, minute by minute, each cameraman being instructed as to exactly what shots had to be taken and what lenses to use, with what diagrams and how and when to make use of pan-focus lenses. The men had already been instructed as to how to shift the various special technical equipment to their chosen sites, and especially the large telelenses and the " slow motion " with 150 photogrammes, or move lighting equipment.
It was not possible to shoot the whole of the Olympic Games in all the various phases, but those events and competitions considered essential were selected on the basis of the exact calendar of events scheduled by the Organization, according to a broad criterion. A process of previous selection and editing of the Olympic Games took place in accordance with the requirements of a film spectacle.

Synopsis and Script

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The necessity of integrating the Olympic events with the two information media, television and cinema, was carefully considered. It became immediately clear that the number of spectators who would follow the Olympic events would be very much greater than the spectators actually present at the events in the various stadia. The spectator audience was swollen with the progress of television to many tens of millions of people in space and time, in addition to other tens of millions of spectators, even more attentive and critical, gathered in cinema to follow in the brief space of two hours the coloured re-evocation of the Rome Olympic Games.
The eye of television and cinema lenses were thus spectator number one but many reasons of a technical nature deriving from the sports regulations and from the sets realized at times rendered the displacement of cameras difficult.
The directors of the film established a synopsis and a script proper, which stipulated exactly the general form and the proportions of each chapter, studying in the case of each sequence the displacement of cameras and establishing a work programme for each of these. Each cameraman and each shooting unit made their way to the post appointed or to their successive positions, with the necessary film requirements, with exact instructions as to what phases of the events they were required to shoot and with what technical means.
Naturally a reasonable flexibility to cover unforeseen circumstances which might arise formed part of the programme.
Another serious problem was the question of transport and communications in moments of maximum traffic congestion.
The programme of the Games, skilfully planned to provide against more than one of the most important events taking place at the same time but creating a succession of events of growing spectacular interest, was of great help to the directors who were thus able to move from one competition venue to another, where cameras and cameramen had already been stationed.
The crew for the shooting of the Olympic Film numbered a total of 296 persons. (Table No. 1).
It was an exceedingly large crew considering that generally some 40 persons only are used in the production of a film. The cameramen available numbered 35, with 70 assistants and 60 riggers. The cameras at their disposal were 40, plus 7 cameras for shooting at low speeds; normal lenses numbered 200, pan-focus lenses 8, wide-angle lenses 12 and telelenses from 150 mm to 1,000 mm. 100.
The following were also available: cameras for underwater shooting, cranes, dollies, and a number of camera cars equipped with generators and lamps to carry out night-time shooting, and two helicopters.

Night Shooting

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Lighting equipment was placed in the various stadia in order to increase the light already laid on, and especially on that part of the Marathon course to be covered at night. To give some idea of the quantities of material used, suffice it to say that a total of 30,000 metres of cable was used in the various sections. It should be borne in mind that for the Marathon arrangements were made to illuminate the Coliseum, the Arch of Constantine, and two hundred metres at the finish besides Porta San Sebastiano, the tomb of Cecilia Metella, and other ancient monuments along the Via Appia along which the Marathon passed.
The many difficulties of shooting at night which accounted for an entire year of research and tests on the part of the technicians of the L.U.C.E. Institute, were finally resolved with the realization, by Eastman Kodak, of a new negative with a sensitivity of 50 Asa. This colour negative, which at the outset had the sensitivity of a normal black-and-white film, was used, with a special and forced development, at almost 120 Asa in the developing and printing rooms of the L.U.C.E. National Institute, which were dedicated exclusively in that period to the development of the negative of the Olympic film. Thus it proved possible, for the first time in the history of the cinema, to shoot in colour under the same conditions as for black-and-white film, thus obtaining excellent results from the point of view of colour.

80,000 metres of film

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In all over 80,000 metres of negative were used for the shooting of the film, including that part made in Greece and along the route of the Olympic Torch to Rome, and including the many and elaborate tests in all competition venues.
(Table No. 2).
Considerable coverage was given to the training in Rome of athletes taking part in the Games, to the Olympic Village and to all manifestations, spectacles, festivities and exhibitions organized in that period and which, for technical reasons, could not all be included in the final edition of the film.
The main difficulty of the final editing was to establish what should be eliminated in order to preserve a record of the most drammatic moments of the Rome Olympic Games, as lived by all protagonists in them. In fact, the concept adopted was that of presenting the best of the Olympic Games.
All the negative shot was printed in black and white and arranged in sequence.
Then, of the 80,000 metres, 12,000 were chosen and these were printed in colour. These 12,000 metres then underwent a further cutting at the hands of the director in collaboration with the editor, Mario Serandrei, thus reducing the film to 4,000 metres, equivalent to two and a quarter hours' projection- time. World distribution rights were given to the Cineriz company.

Musical scoring

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The music of the film, created by Maestro Francesco Lavagnino in collaboration with Maestro Armando Trovaioli, was discussed and revised from as far back as the moment of the script, so that each chapter was accompanied from the outset with a certain type of musical scoring which was borne in mind during shooting and in the course of editing.
In the case of certain sequences a special method of rendering the musical scoring was adopted, this being directly concerted, conceived, and executed by the composers with the collaboration of extremely competent orchestras in the synchronization room itself, under the direct inspiration of sequences prepared in a number of special and divinely inspired " jam sessions " which have undoubtedly modernized and increased the musical value of the film. It should finally be noted that the concluding passage of the film was accompanied by the entire Hymn to the Sun from the opera " Iris " by Pietro Mascagni (Ricordi Edition).
The great Olympic Games were a very valid test of the Italian film industry's capacity and undoubtedly all collaborators in this work undertook the task not only with competence but in a spirit of sportsmanship and with all their enthusiasm.
The following is the list of collaborators:

SCREENPLAY : Mario Craveri - Luigi Filippo D'Amico - Lionello De Felice - Giorgio Ferroni - Rino Filippini - Romolo Marcellini - Donato Martucci Sergio Valentini - Gualtiero Zanetti.

SHOOTING SCRIPT : Romolo Marcellini - Nicolò Ferrari.

TEXT : Donato Martucci - Corrado Sofia - Sergio Valentini.

PHOTOGRAPHY : Aldo Alessandri - Francesco Attenni - Libio Bartoli - Cesare Colò - Mario Damicelli - Renato Del Frate - Vittorio Della Valle - Angelo Filippini - Rino Filippini - Mario Fioretti - Angelo Jannarelli - Luigi Kuweiller - Emanuel Lomiry — Angelo Lotti - Masino Manunza - Enrico Menczer - Ugo Nudi - Emanuele Piccirilli - Marco Scarpelli - Antonio Secchi - Renato Sinistri - Carlo A^eiitimiglia - Fausto Zuccoli.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANTS : Eliseo Caponera - Ennio Mongardini.

AERIAL SHOOTING : Mario Damicelli con la collaborazione dei piloti Pennacchi e De Angelis.

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS : Fede Arnaud - Romualdo M. Battaglia - Giorgio Chiecchi - Daniele G. Luisi.

SECRETARIES TO PRODUCTION : Carlo Giovagnorio - Giuseppe .lesné - Enzo Ragugini - Paolo Vitaliani De Bellis.

EDITING SECRETARIES : Paolo Ambrosio - Elisabetta Barbieri - Clara Battaglia.

ORGANIZATION : Lello Buongiovanni - Renato Bettamio - Fulvio Palmini - Vico Vaccaro A. D. C.

EDITORS : Jolanda Benvenuti - Alberto Verdcjo.

EDITION : Mario Serandrei.

MUSICAL SCORING : A. Francesco Lavagnino con la collaborazione di Armando Trovaioli.
Maestro Pietro Mascagni (Inno del Sole dall'opera Iris - Edizione Ricordi).

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE : Orchestra Cinefonica Italiana diretta da Carlo Savina.

PRODUCTION MANAGER : Franco Galliano A. D. C.

DIRECTOR : Romolo Marcellini.