Building Demolition

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    • #44358

      I’ve been asked to film the demolition of a large building/tower in a chemical plant setting. I haven’t seen the tower yet, but since they want it filmed I’m guessing it’s rather large/tall.

      Having not done anything like this before I havesome questions.

      First, which shutter speed would you suggest? My first thought is that I would want a high shutter speed to catch all of the detail, but I’m open to other options that have good reason behind them.

      Second, should I make it a still shot or pan down and slowly zoom as the tower collapses?

      Third, how do I handle the audio? I don’t yet know if I’ll be able to hear the small explosions that set the demolition in motion, nor do I know if they’ll be extremely loud if I do hear them. I want to make sure my mic is able to capture the clarity of the crumbling pieces and capture the rumble in the lower frequencies — preferably without any clipping. I have a Sennheiser K6/ME66 and an M-Audio Soundcheck Dynamic Vocal Microphone. I’m thinking the Senn will be good for the clarity of the highs while the dynamic mic pics up the low freq. And with two mic inputs on the HMC150 I can get both at once. Thoughts?

      Fourth, I have two cameras (Panasonic AG-HMC150 and a Panasonionic HDC-HS300). The HMC150 will obviously be used for whichever shot is considered to be the most important, but I will need to use the HS300 for a second angle. Which settings would you suggest for the HS300 on this shoot?

      I’m thinking this is pretty unusual setting for most, as it is for me, but any thoughts or suggestions you have on any of this will be appreciated.

      Almost forgot: Since this is a demolition company being paid HUGE money by the big money chemical plants, how much should I charge for this 2-cam shoot? This is my first big-money customer, so I don’t want to over-charge and lose the job, but I also don’t want to under-charge for my services. As I’ve discovered from the few videos I’ve done, there is a crap-ton of time investment for just about any video work. I’ve seen many people suggest rates for other video jobs that would ultimately have them being paid less than minimum wage when broken down by the hour. That makes absolutely no sense. Theskill, knowledge and professionalismrequired to make a good video areworth much more thanminimum wage.

      The shoot is on Nov 13th, 2010. Really looking forward to doing this right!

    • #185755

      Higher shutter speed (also to enhance slow motion effect)

      Two cameras (or more) various angles and POVs. One locked down for a full frame of building. One to follow, and if you have a third, make it tighter at ground level to catch the final collapse.

      The explosions SHOULD be loud enough to capture between the various cameras, but if it were me I would also be placing a couple of standalone recording devices as close as possible at minimum two points to capture enhanced audio.

      The most important shot IMHO is the full frame of the building. I’m not familiar enough with your other camera to suggest specific settings. Would be great if you could acquire use of a third camera.

      If they just want RAW, then my policy would be to charge an hourly fee ($100 to $200) or a half- or full-day fee equal to two-thirds a full day hourly rate for four hours, and a couple hundred off a full day hourly rate for the whole day. Editing would be subject to an hourly editing fee of $75 to $100, or you could charge a fee per finished minute.

      My hourly rate starts upon arrival and ends when I close the car door. Depending on distance traveled there will be a travel fee as well. Being full time, I try to sustain my desired regular hourly rate, knowing that if I keep shooting and editing on a 40 hour or whatever week, I’m making it, if not, then the bill collectors will be calling.

    • #185756


      Scout out your location with the representative of the Demolition Co. as early as possible (weeks or days before if possible.) Get all the appropriate passes and find out the safe zones for where you can setup your cameras both manned and remote. Ideally you want a 3 camera setup, two minimum. The third is actually a back-up in case one of the others goes down.

      I did a demo shoot a couple of years ago with a 3 camera shoot. 2-manned 1 ‘crashcam’ remote. 1 of the manned cameras went down due to operator error but because I had two other cameras setup the shoot was still a success. Your on-camera mic will do just fine depending on how close you are. Use the automatic audio settings and built-in attenuation if your camera has it. A shotgun mic mounted on your camera will also work well, just remember you’ll have to double up the audio track in post to get stereo audio.

      Make up a ‘crashcam’ box to protect your expendable camera that will be inside the closest safe point of the blast area. Cut open a side of the box to make a window for your camera and tape some brand new thick clear plastic (not the ‘milky’ or ‘foggy’ type) or plexi-glass over the hole to keep out dust and debris. Brand new plastic will be free of scratches and dirt which will make for a much clearer window for the camera.

      A tape based camera is best for your crashcam as you can set it up with an hour tape, turn it on and let it run. Don’t forget to put a freshly charged battery in! Mount the crashcam in the box with thick large bubble bubble-wrap (foam works well but can create debris that may get on the lens or get stuck on the plastic window) above and below the camera. That way if the rig gets ‘blown away’ or debris falls on it the camera will be protected. With a crashcam all you’re worried about is the tape anyway.

      Far as what you should charge (technically, you should already have your rates worked out) go to your state’s Dept. of Labor page and find out what the standard rate for video/film/photography service hourly wages are and base yours on them with a +/- $ amount concerning your setup. Earl gave you some good guidle lines on what to charge for editing per hour or per minute of video.

    • #185757

      Consider the crashcam as a sacrifice. Your fee should invlude the price of the camera. Look at the GoPro cameras ( If the blaster is paying you for this, have them make a steel cage to keep the blast camera from being crushed. I would not use a tape camera because the chances of the tape cartridge being damaged is way too likely. Also, tie a long vinyl tape streamer to the camera to make it easier to fing in the debris.

    • #185758


      I’ve done video of stuff blowin’ up for a while and never had a videotape get crushed long as the proper precautions were taken. Cameras on the other hand have had a lower ‘survival rate’! Good call on the GoPro. Those things were born to be crashcams. I’m leary towards using them for stuff with high-speed movement to avoid the CMOS ‘Bendy Straw’ look but as a crashcam, oh yeah. Also good call on the streamer. Usually we paint the box bright orange or red but a streamer would be an additional help during recovery. Also you’re right about putting the crashcam in the charges (whether it dies or not.) I forgot to mention that.

    • #185759


      Here’s a vid of a demo my team did in ’08.

    • #185760
      Grinner Hester

      I’d go with no shutter. Auto preset for this one as you can’t afford to miss anything. You can treat as you like in post.

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