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CAPTURING THE SCALE OF LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

by Rob Taylor, DOP Access 360 World Heritage

I’ve been to Barcelona a few times before.  I’ve even been to the Sagrada Familia before, but each time I’ve seen the queue stretching around the block and thought that 3 hours of my precious weekend break would be better spent elsewhere. What a mistake.

Everything about the Sagrada Famila is incredible, which as filmmakers is great for us! The sheer scale - from the macro details of the artisanal plaster-work to the engulfing vastness of the nave – is like nowhere else I’ve ever been.

As a cameraman locations like this are few and far between. In some ways the scale of the building throws up problems – there is so much going on it’s easy to get distracted. You can spend all day shooting everything wide vistas to tiny details and at the end of it you feel like you haven’t even scratched the surface – which you haven’t!

In fact our biggest challenge as a camera crew was how to get an idea of the scale. One way that found was to attach small GoPro cameras the giant tubs of concrete that were being craned around the site. Giant cranes fly building materials from one side of the site to the other – right over the top of the cathedral. By attaching cameras to these items, we got incredibly smooth ‘aerial’ shots of the whole site.

The level and quantity of craftsmanship happening within the site is jaw dropping but there is one thing that holds everything together and makes it possible- the site management. . It might sound boring but it blew my mind! This is an enormous construction site, building at lightening speed and all the time the entire place is open to the public. This is only made possible by massive logistics and planning the likes of which I doubt exist on any other site anywhere else in the world. We filmed great sequences with the site manager Ramon Espel. He was keen to help us as his favorite show on TV National Geographic’s Megastructures!

The two weeks that we filmed in the Sagrada Famila were a real pleasure. Each staff member was clearly at the top of his or her field. It was a pleasure to visit a place of work where everyone from crane drivers to head architects put so much care and love into their travails.

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