A complete newb writes "London's Telegraph newspaper reports that some of the fireworks which appeared over Beijing during the television broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated. But — hold on — it's not necessarily as bad as you think. The faked fireworks were actually set-off at the stadium, but because of potential dangers in filming the display live from a helicopter, viewers at home were shown a pre-recorded, computer-generated shot."
To me, the reasoning behind the faked display is no consolation or excuse — it seems hard to swallow that NBC was unaware of this televised deception. I'm glad that it was good-naturedly "revealed" this weekend (according to that Telegraph article), but it's disheartening that such a large crowd can watch (in person, and around the world) such a display and have no reason to realize they've been duped. What about when weightier events are at issue? There's also a slightly more detailed story at sky.com