Shooting a 3D documentary: the Fonte Nova Stadium

Ian Herring and the Parallax Film Productions crew are down in Salvador, Brazil shooting our first 3D documentary. And as they trek around stereoscopic gear in tow, filming the explosive demolition series Blowdown, they’re getting to know the beast that is the Fonte Nova Stadium.

The megastructure’s being taken down to make way for a new 2014 World Cup facility– but it’s not going to go easy.

And with a catastrophic structural failure marking the stadium’s deadly past, the demolition must be approached with the utmost caution.

From a filmmaking perspective, Ian says the condemned structure really lends itself to 3D because:

1. Of the high columns and circular configuration.

2. No angle is the same from any one point within and outside of the structure.

3. It’s laid out in front of the crew – it’s very telegenic.

He also prefers the wide layout of the stadium to a high tower or skyscraper from a logistical standpoint – though the crew has to schlep far distances between setups, there are certainly less stairs to climb.

Demolition prep work means no power – on these sites elevators are never an option.

Five facts about this condemned giant

-This stadium, slated for implosion on August 29, is one of the largest in the world. A mind-boggling 110,438 people crammed into it on February 12, 1989.

-This demolition is part of Brazil’s $1 billion 2014 World Cup stadium overhaul – Salvador and three other locations are getting brand new arenas, other sites are being revamped.

-The Fonte Nova stadium closed its doors after tragedy struck in 2007 when a section of the high terraces collapsed, killing seven people and injuring 40 others.

-The Bahia Arena, with a tentative capacity of about 44,100 will be built in the Fonte Nova’s place. Construction is slated to commence shortly after the demolition.

-The stadium’s located in Salvador, Bahia, which boasts a population of some 2.7 million and was the original capital of Brazil.

Nicole Tomlinson

Shooting a 3D documentary: video and details from the Fonte Nova Stadium

Ian’s arrived in Salvador, Brazil and hit the Fonte Nova Stadium demolition site where we’re shooting our first 3D documentary.

And he’s rolling.

The awesome view of Salvador, Brazil as he flew in:



Yesterday it was all about B roll, as stereographer Sean White trained others on 3D capturing techniques.

Here are some videos on-site – you really get a feel for how massive and messy this stadium is:

Crew climbs up stairs (and around random demo debris) carrying stereoscopic gear


Sean details Parallax Film’s custom-made mini beam splitter, which houses two Canon 7Ds


Other field notes:

The crew captured a lot of B roll – establishing shots (very Roman Colosseum – no individual seats in this stadium!), columns, Controlled Demolition Inc. President Mark Loizeaux inspects the stadium’s concrete/rebar composition.

Next mission: establishing shots of Salvador.

Nicole Tomlinson