Cinematographer Michael Brennan ACS wins Best Risk Shot at Golden Eye Festival

31 October, 2011 by IF

Press release from the Guild of Television Cameramen

Guild of Television Cameramen member Michael Brennan has won in the ‘Best Risk Shot’ category at the Golden Eye 2011 International Festival of Movie and TV Cameramen, held in Batumi, Georgia, on Saturday 22 October.


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 millimetre 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. Mike organised a track, made of scaffolding tubes and purpose-built cross bars, secured to the ground with twelve 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 kilogrammes 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,” Mike Brennan comments.

“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."

The Guild of Television Cameramen (GTC) is an independent non-profit-making international organisation that cares about TV camerawork and the people who make it their craft. Formed in 1972, the GTC has over 1,000 members in countries as far afield as Australia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and the USA.

The majority work in aspects of television ranging from corporate video production through news and current-affairs, sports and light entertainment, to documentary and drama. Run by a council of volunteer television professionals, the GTC is financed by subscription from its members as well as sponsorship from equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

As a result, the GTC offers a channel for manufacturers to consult with working cameramen when designing new equipment. GTC membership is open to anyone employed as a television camera operator or in any associated occupation. See the website.