June 22nd, 2008 — Uncategorized
This is the Thermal Cam, another very cool piece of kit. This produces your classic x-ray vision, spy cam, pretty rainbow thermal images.*
Another awesome piece of kit was the vapour cam. It somehow produced pretty rainbow images, revealing otherwise completely invisible gasoline vapours, which made for some pretty cool images as well.*
* Cool images not shown.
June 21st, 2008 — Uncategorized
“I heart the waiting” became a mantra as we tried to blow up barrels of gasoline. Here, Hackett lays day-dreaming in the blazing sun as he waits to fire one more precious round.
I was thoughtfully provided with heavy cotton work shirt, lined with flannel for this episode, the shirt came to be affectionately known as “The Blanket”. Perfect for waiting in the sun.
It was worth it for the boom in the end!
June 21st, 2008 — Uncategorized
The Phantom HD high speed camera, up to 1000fps: $400,000.
Slow motions footatge of a barrel of gasoline exploding: Priceless.
Hackett (having a strong affinity for guns) took the first shots at barrels full of gasone, gasoline fumes and then mere whiffs of gasoline fumes…it wasn’t until the magic 50ml was added to the 55 gallon (220L) barrel that we got the full metal jacket round hitting 1/4 plate inside the barrel to give us a bang.
June 20th, 2008 — Uncategorized
Step one in blowing up a tanker truck is knowing how to blow up gasoline. Here’s a little test to check the math of the chemical engineer we hired to figure out how much gas to put in a barrel to get it to blow. We put a tiny amount of gas in a barrel and lit a fire under it…turns out 50mL in a 55gal (220L) it the sweet spot!
A barrel of gasoline blowing up in a fire - see the video
June 20th, 2008 — Uncategorized
Yes, it’s like real TV land here, lights, camers and, occasioinaly; action. Here I am on set in our shop during the filiming of our first episode: Tanker.
June 18th, 2008 — Uncategorized
Here’s Hackett, he’s a tough, gruff NYC artist and madman with a wit that could skin a cat. He’s got a lot of stories to tell, and may prove a fascinating partner in crime…although I tend to take that figure of speach less literally than him I think…
He’s also a self confessed huge nerd.
Hackett wins again.*
*actual winner not shown.
June 16th, 2008 — Uncategorized
I arrived in Nova Scotia and was shown to my new home for the summer. I had chosen not to live in Debert, in the hopes that I would be able to avoid the isolation of living in a small town outside of a small town, outside of a small city, in a small province (the population of all of Nova Scotia is only 935,000 - less than that of Vancouver). Were I to have stayed on Debert, these would’ve been my digs:
But I opted to live in Truro, a town of a 15,000, where I thought there might be some amenities. At least a store or something. Unfortunately, I made my decision without having a proper sense of the area. I was generously housed in a haunted house, not even in Truro, but in The Village of Bible Hill; a village outside a small town (Truro), outside a small city (Halifax) in a small province (Nova Scotia).
Here it is. This place used to be a steak house 5 years ago and was some government official’s estate before that. My room is a 450sqft slice including the bay window you see on the back left side of the house. Bible Hill is farm country. The air fresh and farmy, and across the street is a farmer’s field. The view in either direction from my driveway is decidedly rural:
Not exactly replete with amenities, but I guess if you’re gonna get out of the city, you may as well get the right the hell out of the city. Welcome to Bible Hill.
June 15th, 2008 — Uncategorized
Before going to Halifax, however, I had a stop to make. I was to visit London for 3 weeks but the new plan saw my visit reduced to a brief but brilliant 46hrs. Lindsay, Serena and Mike were perfect hosts and I actually managed to get somewhat of a taste of the city in that incredibly hasty visit. I instantly adopted a classic London look:
This taken was after a great dinner and numbingly dull presentation at The Frontline Club. The Fontline Club was originally a club for war correspondents, but a shortage of same as since spurred the club to open up to the general public for fine dining and intellectual presentations. The former was very worth while, but the latter sadly lacking. None the less, a fine London experience.
It’s not London without The Tube.
And it’s not The Tube without the escalators.
May 30th, 2008 — Uncategorized
Well, the mantra paid of (thank you Secret). I was flown to the set in Debert, an hours drive north of Halifax, for a final audition, only 3 days after the Vancouver audition. Remote was an understatement. The Debert Industrial Air Park was a decommissioned cold war air base in the middle of rural Nova Scotia. I spent a long day there with about ten other candidates, anxiously awaiting my turn to attempt to develop some sort of repartee with the other host, the one who’d gotten me in to this mess; Hackett.
Turns out Hackett is hilarious. A man of considerable bulk and nearly equivalent wit, Hackett is a mad, brilliant, throughly over bearing renegade artist from Brooklyn, NYC. It soon became apparent, however, that he was the worlds biggest nerd. His all-black garb and flailing thatch of dreads were not only a clever disguise, but both were chosen for their low maintenance qualities (as he took care to inform me). We instantly hit it off and I knew I was a shoe in when James, the Series Editor I’d met in Vancouver, started calling back to do “A bit about this and a but about that”, and coaching me about what the higher ups might like. Meanwhile the other candidates were politely thanked and send on their way.
I returned home the same night, head spun, but even more convinced that I was the best man for the job. A conviction founded on a vague notion of what Discovery was looking for, and absolutely zero knowledge of the biz. My friends agreed. I spent about four days, totally detached from my life and job in Vancouver, repeating my mantra to an already converted audience who reassured me with Italian cigarettes, Lemoncello and pleas not to be forgotten when I attained my inevitable fame; There’s NO WAY I wasn’t going to get it!
We were all right. Four days after my audition in Halifax, I got the call to drop my life and move to Nova Scotia for three months. My flight was in 12 days…
I got it!
May 26th, 2008 — Uncategorized
This was my mantra while involved in the head spinning and incredibly brief audition process for a new headlining Discovery Channel show, tentatively called “Breaking Point!”. The show was described by the production company as follows:
“Each hour of this six part series will investigate what can be withstood by houses, cars, buses, boats and massive trucks. The breaking point of each will be imaginatively and scientifically tested through a series of jaw-dropping experiments, stunts and demonstrations, all beautifully, inventively and dramatically brought to the screen.
Although we’re testing things to destruction, underpinning the series is a celebration of design and engineering. The viewer will be surprised by the science of safety as well as the fact that familiar object in the world around us can - given certain circumstances - represent a massive risk.
Once the team has established the breaking point in a spectacularly visual stunt, they will return to the drawing board to engineer solutions to prevent this disaster. When they re-run the ‘perfect storm’ scenario in the final act, their ingenious modifications will prevent an incident turning into a catastrophe.”
Sounds like an awesome show, and what an opportunity. As for the job of presenter…
“We’re looking to cast the two engineer/mechanics who will play central roles, not as traditional presenters, but as part of an onscreen team figuring out the various practical engineering challenges that will form the main narrative of the show, taking viewers on a journey of ideas, experiments and eureka moments. The successful candidate will be smart, mature, resourceful and hands on with a larger than life personality.”
There’s NO WAY I’m not gonna get it!…