We’ve done a lot of demolition filming recently – what a blast – literally! I tip my hat to the demolition specialists we work with on these ‘blowdown’ events – the preparation and planning, the explosives knowledge and technical know-how never fail to amaze me.
Did you know it takes months and months of preparation and ground work to manage a single explosive demolition? These specialists need to scrutinise the fabric of a building, isolate areas for explosive placement, and sometimes pre-weaken walls or wrap everything in chain-link or geotextile membrane to prevent debris spillage – and all that takes time.
Mitigating for every eventuality is a high stress process and the pressure on these companies is immense – not just to ensure a technically excellent demolition, but to prevent impact on local communities, and ensure the ground is clear for incoming developers. Demolition contractors have a broad base of stakeholders, and they all watch these events with a laser-like focus.
Getting explosive demolitions right first time is obviously critical, and professionally recording them is becoming increasingly popular. Historically, demolitions were filmed from afar with very little impression of the dynamism of the explosion – save the odd shaken camera or two.
Nowadays we have drones and sacrificial cameras that transmit footage live – enabling us to capture some truly stunning video of the event itself.
As rehearsals are impossible, we – like the demolition contractors – only have one chance to get the filming right, so our own planning and preparation is done well in advance and with considerable care.
There is much to think about when filming this type of event, and additional challenges present themselves when working close to demolition sites. We have to consider:
· Which angles to cover and when
· How many drones and sacrificial cameras to use
· Technical knowledge of multi-drone launches
· Safety challenges of getting close to the action
· Impacts on nearby structures or communities
· Impact of light and weather
· VLOS implications
· Whole team communications
· Proximity to airfields, train tracks and roads
· Permissions from local services
Our most recent demolition project was for DSM Demolition at the Eggborough Power Station in Yorkshire. The cooling towers had been a landmark there for more than 50 years, but the land is now earmarked for mixed use regeneration in a Joint Venture by St Francis Group and Marshall Commercial Development Projects.
Our film crew on this event included a senior piloting team, three aerial drone pilots, an FPV drone pilot, the client Account Manager and yours truly.
The demand for this type of film content is growing as are the number of platforms where construction companies share their construction stories with targeted audiences ready to receive their messages.
Aerial filming for one-off events has the power to captivate and generate an emotional reaction, letting companies build strong connections with their target audiences. Demolition contractors are fully aware of the power of this type of content and beginning to make the most of it in 2022.