Sunday, 13 October 2013

Film Work

One of the reasons for my lack of postings recently is that I have recently finished a contract to provide 134 diamond quarry glazed windows for the set of an American TV series.  Apologies for being unable to say yet which series.  Once the broadcasting begins, I will be able to say.  Filming began just last week.  The company has established itself in an old factory in Cumbernauld, a town just outside Glasgow.

They made an approach to me in June and, although my response was positive - as I have done work for other film sets - I did not hear anything until the late August.  At that point, the request was to do some tests on the kind of glass that could be used to produce authentic-looking 18th century windows which had distortions and had the character of aged windows.

Experiments began on distorting various glasses in the kiln to produce the look required.  After a number of experiments about the level of distortion and marking of the glass, a combination of Flemish and reamy slab glasses were seen to be the appropriate ones.  A film test of the glass showed that decralead - a stick on lead strip - would not be suitable, as it was obvious on film that the glass was a single sheet.  The leaded glass with a mixture of the two glasses provided the best result for the art director and the camera - for only about 25% more in price.

However, only three weeks now remained before the delivery date (which was one week before filming began), so there was no time to lose.  We took a chance and ordered the lead even before the purchase order was received, because the delivery time for this would be longer than for the glass.  Purchase order received, we then pressed for immediate payment for materials, as the cash flow would fail if we did not get that.  The film company was very good and deposited the money in the bank within a couple of days which meant that we could order the glass.

Then the search for people who could help produce these panels began.  Other glass workers and some students from the City of Glasgow College's Art Glass Design course were drafted in to help produce these panels.  I was fortunate to have Aki Rogers as an intern during this period.  I put to use her background in pattern making for the fashion industry to construct the cartoons accurately after I had determined the opening sizes from the templates supplied by the joiners at the site.  Peter Verrecchia, of Stained Glass Supplies,  then cut the diamond quarries to size in preparation for the other workers to assemble the leaded panels.

Enormous amounts of lead and glass were used. Almost 60 square metres of glass (over 5,000 pieces of glass) and 20 boxes of lead came (500 Kg) were used in producing these windows.  But as a surprise to me, we have only about 50 Kg of scrap lead resulting - people were very economical in their use, I guess.

It is a relief that the work is finished, and with only 4 windows having any problems - two needed to be remade and two were slightly small.  We did have a little thank you party for the 15 people involved in the project a week after finishing.  Now I am finding it difficult to concentrate on the next jobs - I'd just like to have a holiday.


Chris said...

Fascinating! That must have been quite the experience

Unknown said...

I hope to see your work on TV, Stephen! What a rush -- stress and excitement -- your weeks have been. Fascinating to read how you tested the glasses -- understandably -- before finding what would "read" right on film. They certainly chose a very talented, knowledgable person for their set creations! Congratulations -- and do take some time off to enjoy and regroup!! ;-)