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After two other aborted filming attempts the good weather held out long enough for us to get all the shots we needed at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. What an amazing experience – and yes that is me pictured on the chains!
The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel when he was just 24 and was his first major commission. Work began on its construction in 1831 but was stopped in 1843 as a result of financial and political problems leaving only the two towers on each side of the vast Avon Gorge that it was to span. Unfortunately, Brunel never saw the end result of his work as he passed away in 1859 at the age of just 53-years. The bridge was finally completed as a memorial to Brunel some five years later – and what a memorial it is!
The filming assignment was to capture two different aspects of Eiger Safety’s work – namely latchway testing and re-fitting. Atop the bridge chains there’s a latchway cable running their entire length (land-to-tower each side – plus the central long chains) so that the regular maintenance team can safely do periodic checks, cyclic painting and change light bulbs.
The testing was carried on the first day whilst the bridge was still open to vehicle traffic. The footpath was also kept open but restricted to one side – depending on which chain was being tested. The land-to-tower chains on the Leigh Woods end of the bridge were going to be replaced on the following day so these did not have to be tested. Replacement is a lengthy process and cannot be carried out whilst the bridge is open so it’s costly for the bridge authority and is usually organised alongside other planned closures.
In this occasion the planned closure was between 18:00 and 24:00 hrs on 12 August to coincide with final event at the Bristol Balloon Festival which is held just the other side of the Leigh Woods end of the bridge. During this event the bridge is shut to avoid damage that could be caused by around 120,000 participants trudging their way back across the bridge to central Bristol at the end of the festivities. Despite its timeless design, Brunel’s bridge was only ever intended to carry 19th century light horse drawn traffic. Whilst today it handles 11-12,000 motor vehicles crossing it every day, the swaying effect of foot passengers can have a catastrophic effect on any bridge – as witnessed with London’s famous wobbly Millennium footbridge across the Thames which didn’t originally avoid this phenomenon despite its modern design and construction.
Eventually all the latchway cables will be changed but this might be spread over a number of years and, of course, planned closures. In the meantime Eiger have given the original latchway system a complete bill of health so that the bridge maintenance and use can continue safely.
I had thought this was my last day of filming for Eiger Safety but it’s going to carry on for at least another day – this time at one of their sites where they’ve installed and maintain a roof handrail system.
Yep – probably another day on top of some spectacular structure somewhere. It’s hard work, but someone has got to do it. : )
It’s been a little quiet for the past couple of weeks on the promotional film front at Video Artisan (unlike my #VHS-to-DVD service which has been going bonkers). I don’t think I’m alone in this respect as the Olympics have taken over the lives of most people in the UK. It seems that those who are not watching the Olympics are going through their VHS tapes and realising their VHS doesn’t work any more. It’s kept me busy anyhow!
But the promotional film work is all kicking off again this week starting with a two days of filming for Eiger Safety – the first of which was at the Force India Formula One Team Wind Tunnel on Monday.
Before all the Formula One fans start getting excited about this blog entry there wasn’t a great deal to see on the day. The wind tunnel itself was not in operation as there were various refits and upgrades going on whilst we was there – in addition to mention the numerous latch-way and staircase installations being carried out by the guys at Eiger Safety. I was hoping to get inside the actual wind tunnel itself to do a mock up shot of the guys doing some work in there but that just wasn’t on the cards.
The main aim of the day was to set up a time-lapse shot of the construction of a steel staircase leading from the ground floor up through the centre of the ‘U’ bend in the wind tunnel area to a mezzanine floor on the level of the rolling road. But what with the restrictions of the other works in place, plus a lack of a good vantage point to set the camera going for the three days of the installation, the time-lapse shot was scrubbed too.
This was not the best outcome but it didn’t stop me getting some material of Eiger Safety doing some of their steel fabrication work. Having designed and fabricated it off site, the staircase arrived in kit form on the back of a truck. The next couple of days would consist of putting this big-boy’s Meccano project together. They were also installing various latch-way systems to enable safe access to the top of the wind tunnel – so there was plenty to film.
Right now I’m getting my kit together for two more days filming for Eiger Safety at the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol. This will be at least our third attempt at getting this location in the can as the weather has been against us on all previous occasions. Unless there’s a weather front that we’ve missed, tomorrow should be about filming the guys testing the safety systems on the chains. Then, on Saturday night, we’ll be back on there in the darkness to film them installing some new safety systems.
Until then, I’ll just carry on getting this VHS-to-DVD work turned over! I need to start clearing the decks for another BIG promotional film that should go into pre-production planning the week after next.
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I’ve been killing two birds with one stone for the past week – 1/ Getting the message out locally about our VHS to DVD conversion services and, 2/ Getting some exercise in! Delivering flyers has never been so beneficial.
The flyers were printed by my dear friends at N2 Visual Communications, but all the setting out and wording was done by yours truly. I know its not the most amazing piece of printed literature or wonderful prose, but it is to the point. It’s great having the knowledge on how to prepare such a thing for print as it can save me a packet! I’m also not adverse to doing this kind of thing for other companies too if you are in need.
Just to prove hand-delivered flyers still work, the phone started ringing almost immediately! It’s not all VHS to DVD though as I’ve got standards conversions, DVD duplication, cine to video and editing work so far – and all within the local confines of Loughton, Debden, Buckhurst Hill, Woodford and Chigwell. Essex is obviously in need of me!
Filming in Central London is always a pleasure, but the morning of 13th July was a truly glorious day to have rescheduled the shoot for St James’s Church in Piccadilly.
Blue sky, the occasional fluffy cloud and not too hot – a far cry from the other days we had scheduled in to shoot this location. It really was a fine day to be up on a roof shooting the guys from Eiger Safety doing a routine inspection of the clock tower they had recently helped renovate.
I’m sure the Eiger chaps have become a little complacent about the places they get to work in (or should I say “on”) – but for me its a real privilege. I’m sure they think I’m a little slow off the blocks when it comes to getting the filming job done but for the first few minutes I’m just gawking at the view.
There’s only one filming location left on the Eiger project now – namely the guys working the chains on the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol. That’s coming up in a couple of weeks and, thankfully, I should be filming most of it from a cherry picker platform. However, there’s also some talk of filming some of their fabrication works at the Force India F1 team works – which will be very interesting if it comes off.
Really looking forward to getting this on the edit suite – but equally hope that I’m soon back filming in Central London very soon!