A Day in the Life of a Camera Op – Filming Huge Sheets of Glass Smashing

One of the trickiest shoots as a camera operator was filming in Skelmersdale in a factory for our client ‘NSG’.

The client requested that we shoot a huge sheet a glass crashing to the floor which was intended to simulate the dangers inherent in your average glass making work place.

The sheet of glass was being lifted onto a trolley to be moved to another part of the warehouse, in this scene, simulated with an actor.. the workman is distracted and the sheet of glass falls.

The problem was, none of us knew how far the glass was going to shatter and how far the chips would spread across the floor. So what I did was film it with two cameras.. one camera further away mounted by a tripod and with the zoom set close enough to capture the full sheet falling to the ground.

The second camera I would operate on a second tripod, slightly closer in, but protected by a block of wood lower down to prevent chips of glass spraying across my feet.

The camera I was operating was also zoomed in slightly to provide a different angle that we could use to cut to in the edit room.

We had a professional actor very near the sheet of glass acting as our workman and I worked together with Kevin Rossiter, the Director, to map the actor’s movements carefully so he moved out of the way in the right direction just before the glass would fall.

So the scene was set and this was a one shot deal, it couldn’t be missed..it had to be right and I had to get it right first time. So I set both cameras running, the Director Kevin Rossiter shouted action and the glass crashed to the floor.

The spray of glass was more than any of us could have predicted, but thankfully we got the shot in one go, all safety precautions were met, no one was injured and the client was happy.

Click to see a showreel of my camera work

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