Guild of Television Cameramen member Michael Brennan won in the Best Risk Shot category at the Golden Eye 2011 International Festival of Movie and TV Cameramen, held in Batumi, Georgia, on Oct. 22.
The award was made for an incredible low-angle slow-motion shot of a large building imploding. This shot was captured at 500 frames per second using a camera built into a bomb-proof case. Although the case was made of laminated steel with an internal frame and ten millimeter polycarbonate front cover, even the strongest of boxes would be crushed under the thousands of tons of rubble which fell onto it.
The solution was to pull the camera out of harm’s way after it had captured the shot but before it could be damaged or buried under rubble. Brennan organized a track, made of scaffolding tubes and purpose-built cross bars, secured to the ground with 12-inch spikes. The dolly was powered by bungy cords, like a huge bow and arrow, triggered by two separate explosive charges attached to a tether. The dolly and payload weighed 120 Kg and ran at 32 miles per hour for 150 feet.
“Full credit is due to director Michelle Carlisle for sticking with my idea of tracking a camera from the base of the building as the building fell, and to my camera-assistant Johann Perry and Controlled Demolition Ltd,” said Brennan. “The shot was in the back of my mind after I had successfully captured numerous implosions with cameras in innovative angles inside and on top of buildings, and I still have a few tricks up my sleeve for more interesting angles.”
This shot, (which can be viewed here) is featured in Demolition – a documentary series for LWT/Discovery.