More than 20,000 people were on hand in Irving, Texas on an early Sunday April morning to witness the implosion of Texas Stadium. It took 2,715 pounds of dynamite, six million dollars and a year of planning to reduce the Cowboy’s home of 37 years to rubble. Assistant Director of Photography Irwin Thompson outlines the Dallas Morning News’ excellent photo and multimedia coverage.

First, I would like to thank Gary Barber, Ahna Hubnik, David Guzman, Nathan Hunsinger, Tom Fox, Gerry McCarthy, Jim Mahoney, Courtney Perry, Louis DeLuca, and intern Andy Jacobsohn for doing an awesome job on this assignment, and Guy Reynolds, night photo editor, for his concise editing. It was a pleasure to work for this group.

We had Texas Stadium surrounded. Multimedia producer Gary Barber and I were located on the south end of the stadium, on the balcony of the Days Inn. Gary built a bracket on which he mounted a Canon EOS 1D Mark iV and Canon EOS 7D for stills.

Photo by Gary Barber

I manned the Sony A1U, next to Gary. For the first time, ever, we had live streaming video on dallasnews.com through Ustream.tv. Gary was the key to having live streaming video. He tirelessly worked to make it happen.

David Guzman and Gary Barber shot video, edited and posted it to the web within thirty minutes after the event. David was on the rooftop of Central Freight where he manned two cameras during the implosion; a Canon 5D and a Sony A1U. The Canon 5D was a stationary camera used to film the collapse while the Sony A1U was used to pan from left to right to capture the explosives firing around the stadium.

Gerry was part of the ‘early crew,’ arriving when the main spectator parking lot north of the stadium opened at 2 a.m. He shot video with a Sony PMW-EX1 camera and stills with a Canon 5d Mark II.

Photo by Gerry McCarthy

The video was later edited by David and the stills were made into a slideshow by Ahna Hubnik. David was the video editor onsite and Ahna worked from the comfort of her home in Denton, building slideshows and editing video.

Both sets of content were on the Morning News’ site well before the implosion took place. After shooting what was touted as “The Last Tailgate Party” Gerry went into position to shoot the implosion from the northeast angle. Gerry set his 5d to record video, and shot stills with a Canon 1D Mark III and IIn. In addition to the cameras, Gerry used a wide assortment of lenses, including wide angle and telephoto zoom lenses, and fast prime lenses for low-light tailgating photos.

Matt Nager and Gerry McCarthy, right. Photo by Gerry McCarthy

Tom Fox covered the implosion from Central Freight Lines across the highway from Texas Stadium. After a couple days of scouting the lighting and location, he utilized their office building roof and rented a 24-ft box truck to shoot from.

Tom Fox, self portrait.

With two different locations Tom and multimedia producer David Guzman, utilized 3 HD video cameras, and remoted four still cameras. From the northeast corner of the stadium, each camera gave a different perspective and sequence of the stadium falling towards them. Everything from a wide angle with spectators in the foreground to a 300mm shooting suites and buttresses collapsing.

A couple of days before the implosion graffiti artists tagged the wall surrounding the stadium with ‘Enter History’ with smaller catch phrases ‘How bout them Cowboys’ and ‘Texas Stadium R.I.P.’. It lined up perfectly with the truck top location.

Photo by Tom Fox

“I kind of got a little lump in my throat after it became a dust cloud. Looking back on my first visit to the stadium, I remember walking the graduation stage and picking up my high school diploma. A rush of memories came back to me including Garth Brooks flying from the stage to the upper concourse on wire, the Promise Keepers rally, numerous high school, Ring of Honor inductions and college football playoffs to NFC Championships. Great stuff. You don’t need a building for memories, but it was a nice reminder,” said Tom.

Photo by Tom Fox

Louis DeLuca was stationed in the University of Dallas Bell Tower about a half of a mile north of Texas Stadium. The vantage point offered the closest elevated, unobstructed view of the stadium, with the added bonus of having the downtown Dallas skyline in the background.

The tower is 200 feet high. Louis arrived at 4 a.m. to climb the 300 steps to the top. Because of the round design of the tower, the best vantage point to view the stadium was not a direct view, it was about 30 degrees to the east. The opening had vertical iron bars about six inches apart running top to bottom.

Louis had to mount two cameras to the vertical bars with super clamps and magic arms, but had to position the cameras outside the structure to be able to angle his lens to see the stadium. “I could ‘squish’ my head between the bars just enough to be able to see into the viewfinder to compose and focus.”

Photo by Louis DeLuca

Louis used Pocket Wizards to fire the cameras. The lens used for the implosion sequence was a 70-200mm zoom, set a 70mm. The fireworks shots, before the implosion, were taken with a 16-35 mm, set at 35mm.

Intern Andy Jacobsohn was over Texas Stadium and covered the implosion from the WFAA 8 helicopter. Along with the reporter/pilot and the camera operator they were up in the air at 5:45 a.m. for the 7 a.m. implosion to get in an orbital rotation with the other air traffic.

Photo by Andy Jacobsohn

Andy brought two cameras with him, one wide angle lens and an 100-400. With three highways that frame Texas Stadium he decided to photograph the implosion with the wide lens from the regulated minimum flight ceiling of 1,600 feet. With the 100-400 Andy was able to photograph details of the crowds, closing of traffic, and the remains of the stadium.

Nathan Hunsinger shot and edited all the footage into one video. The edit lasted seven hours, not including two hours of gathering and importing video from seven video cameras.

The edit started with the audio timeline of the best ambient crowd sounds mixed with the sound of explosions. The video was then edited in multiple layers, keeping time with the audio. Finally, it was a matter of picking the best clips that were real-time and distributing them throughout the video. Then extended the overlap on each clip to let repetition create the flow.

You will notice the video of the implosion ends moments after the explosion audio. This technique was used to give the viewer a sense of how long the structure took to fall using images and audio. The editor, after seeing many great images filter into the server, made the decision to add 18 seconds of the countdown to really show the entire scene.

See the video: Ten cameras show different views of Texas Stadium implosion



One Response to “Getting all the angles of Texas Stadium implosion”

  1. David, you never receive copies of your previous letters. As the letters go forward that number may very well be in the hundreds. But if there’s a particular letter send us an email and maybe we can figure something out.

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